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UniCredit and EIF: An additional EUR 60 million for Italian micro-enterprises through Social Impact Banking

    Date: 23 September 2019
  • Follows first EUR 50m agreement signed with European Investment Fund (EIF) in 2018 to benefit around 2,500 Italian micro-enterprises, and recent credit lines to social enterprises and female entrepreneurs; Total microcredit programme in Italy now at EUR 110m
  • Up to EUR 25 000 per loan, with an EU-backed guarantee from the European Investment Fund (EIF)  under the EU programme for Employment and Social Innovation (EaSI)
  • Interested businesses can request access to the Qredits tool for assistance in forming their business plans


The EIF (part of the EIB Group) and UniCredit have signed a EUR 60 million agreement in continued support of Italian micro enterprises. The support takes the form of microfinance, supplied with an EU-backed guarantee under the European Commission’s EaSI (Employment and Social Innovation) programme. The loans are available to individual entrepreneurs and micro-enterprises with less than 10 employees and a maximum of EUR 2 million in annual turnover or total assets. The aim is to support these businesses with loans of up to EUR 25 000, as well as providing them with support on the development of their activities and access to a network of relevant industry partners.

This signature follows the first agreement signed in March 2018, for a portfolio guarantee of EUR 50 million, benefitting around 2,500 Italian micro-enterprises. It also comes on the heels of recent EIB Group agreements supporting Italian SMEs with a specific focus on female entrepreneurs and innovation (EUR 400 million), fighting climate change (EUR 100 million), as well as the EUR 50 million agreement in support of social enterprises. This second EaSi microfinance agreement covers a wider portfolio for higher risk classes than the first agreement in 2018, opening it to more micro-enterprises than before.

Marianne Thyssen, European Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, commented: “I am delighted that we came to an additional 60 million euro EaSI microfinance guarantee agreement with UniCredit that will give an extra boost to 3,000 micro-entrepreneurs in Italy. It shows that the first guarantee signed last year has served its purpose, and we show that we continue to help those who face difficulties in accessing credit. The EU remains committed to ensuring equal opportunities for all and that we leave no one behind”.

Jean Pierre Mustier, UniCredit CEO, commented: “UniCredit’s continued cooperation with the EIF allows our Social Impact Banking business to support many companies that would otherwise be excluded from traditional banking services. We are able to help the many promising entrepreneurs in Italy as well as supporting the growth of the Italian economy at large. We continue to focus on financing the real economy here and in all our markets.”

Pier Luigi Gilibert, EIF Chief Executive, commented: “The EaSI programme has allowed the EIF to make a tangible difference in supporting small businesses that have a true social impact. We have known both UniCredit and Qredits for a long time, and we are glad to partner with them to make financing available to those companies who need it, all the while supporting commendable causes.”

Elwin Groenevelt, CEO of Qredits and President of the European Microfinance Network Board commented:

“Microfinance has become the most sustainable and trusted alternative finance option in developing economies today. An array of customised credit facilities is now available to vulnerable target groups previously unserved. Qredits is proud of the growth the microfinance network has seen over the past few years and the increased collaboration efforts between microfinance organisations and banks both at the national and international level. UniCredit Group joining the Qredits e-learning platform is a prime example of that. Together we can strengthen entrepreneurship and our local economies.“

UniCredit will manage the selection of the micro enterprises and the disbursement of the loans through its national network. The selected enterprises will also benefit from advisory and coaching support provided by UniGens – a volunteer association of UniCredit’s current and former employees.

Furthermore, interested companies can benefit from access to the Qredits tool that can help them define and create business plans ensuring these comprise all necessary elements and are ready for presentation when making the loan request. Free access credentials can be requested via www.unicredit.it

Notes to editors

UniCredit is a simple successful pan-European Commercial Bank, with a fully plugged in CIB, delivering a unique Western, Central and Eastern European network to its extensive client franchise. UniCredit offers both local and international expertise to its clients, providing them with unparalleled access to leading banks in its 14 core markets through its European banking network: Italy, Germany, Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia and Turkey.

Leveraging on an international network of representative offices and branches, UniCredit serves clients in another 18 countries worldwide.

The European Investment Fund (EIF) is a financing institution that is part of the EIB (European Investment Bank) Group. Its main remit is to support micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Europe, facilitating their access to credit. The EIF defines and develops equity instruments, guarantees and microcredit facilities tailored to the needs of this category of enterprises. In carrying out this role, the EIF is pursuing the EU’s objectives of innovation, research and development, entrepreneurship, growth and employment.

The EU's Programme for Employment and Social Innovation ("EaSI") aims at supporting the EU's objective of high level employment, adequate social protection, fighting against social exclusion and poverty and improving working conditions. The microfinance and social entrepreneurship axis of the EaSI programme provides support to financial intermediaries that offer microloans to entrepreneurs or finance to social enterprises. The objective is to increase access to microfinance, which includes microcredit i.e. loans of up to EUR 25,000, in particular for vulnerable persons and micro-enterprises. In addition, for the first time, the EU is supporting social enterprises through investments of up to EUR 500,000. The microfinance and social entrepreneurship support is currently being implemented through the EaSI Guarantee, which enables financial intermediaries to reach out to (potential) entrepreneurs that would not have been able to gain finance otherwise due to risk considerations. It is also being implemented through the ‘EaSI Capacity Building Investments Window’ to reinforce the capacity of financial intermediaries in the areas of microfinance and social finance through equity investments. The European Commission has selected EIF to implement the EaSI Guarantee and the EaSI Capacity Building Investments Window.


Please see here to find more information on the recent EIB-Unicredit loan to support female entrepreneurship and the EIF agreement supporting Italian social enterprises:




Press contacts:

EIB Group:
Tim Smit
+352 691 286423

European Commission:
Siobhán Millbright
+32 460 75 73 61

UniCredit Media Relations
Tel +39 02 88623569
e-mail: mediarelations@unicredit.eu


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