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UniCredit and EIF: EUR 50 million in support of social entrepreneurship in Italy under the EU’s EaSI programme

    Date: 09 July 2019

The European Investment Fund (EIF, part of the EIB Group) and UniCredit have signed today a EUR 50 million agreement to provide social impact financing loans to Italian social enterprises that meet specific impact criteria. The agreement benefits from the support of the EU Programme for Employment and Social Innovation (EaSI) and the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), the heart of the Investment Plan for Europe, also known as "Juncker Plan".The loans are available to eligible profit and non-profit enterprises with maximum annual turnover of EUR 30 million. The aim is to support these firms with more affordable and discounted loans of up to EUR 500,000. 

At the signing ceremony today in Milan the UniCredit CEO Jean Pierre Mustier, the EIF Chairman Dario Scannapieco, the EIF Chief Executive Pier Luigi Gilibert and  Massimo Gaudina, Head of EU Commission representation in Milan attended. 

This operation follows the agreement signed with EIF in April 2018 for EUR 50 million portfolio guarantee to the benefit of 2,500 Italian micro enterprises as well as those signed at the start of 2019 with the EIB on supporting Italian mid-caps, with a specific focus on female entrepreneurs, innovation and helping to combat the challenge of climate change.

Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility, Marianne Thyssen, said:: “Thanks to EU funding under our EaSI programme, Unicredit will be able to support social entrepreneurship in Italy with €50 million. Social impact financing will benefit SMEs, but also society as a whole. By helping social enterprises, we demonstrate our commitment to building a fairer Europe and strengthening its social dimension.”

Pierluigi Gilibert, EIF Chief Executive added: “This agreement provides Italian social enterprises with tailored financial support to help boost their impact on society. Pursuing the objective of inclusive growth and social cohesion is a very important part of the EIF’s mission, and at the same time a key EU policy goal. It is also an area to which we are attaching increasing importance. We are therefore very happy to be extending our cooperation with UniCredit to offer improved access to finance with reduced collateral requirements for Italian entrepreneurs with a social objective.”

Jean Pierre Mustier, UniCredit CEO, commented: “At UniCredit, we are proud that all our actions are guided by ethics and respect. It is our duty to support local communities, and our continued 

collaboration with EIF is proof of our shared goals in building a fairer, more sustainable society through a constant commitment to supporting the Italian economy. We look forward to further supporting the growth of Italian companies which can generate a positive social impact within their communities.” 

Dario Scannapieco, EIF Chairman and EIB Vice President, said: “The EIB Group puts sustainability at the heart of its activities. Inclusive and social impact finance represent key instruments for the European institutions. In this mission, UniCredit represents a crucial partner for the Group as witnessed by the agreement signed today and many other collaborations including the support of the role of women in the economy, promote innovation and fighting against climate change.

UniCredit will manage the selection of the social initiatives and the disbursement of the social impact financing through its whole national network. In order to apply, the social impact enterprises have to outline their social commitment, the specific impact goals they intend to achieve and confirm their availability for measuring their progress throughout the whole financing period. The selected enterprises will also benefit from advisory and coaching support provided by UniGens – a volunteer association of UniCredit’s current and former employees. 

UniCredit has developed a unique methodology aimed at facilitating the collection of specific social KPI’s in order to measure social outcomes in a simple and comparable way. This approach is adaptable to different sectors and it is the result of continued discussions with, and feedback from clients and partners with the aim to support clients in the initial loan application phase as well as on an ongoing basis to monitor their progress using a proprietary digital tool (the platform “Dimensione Sociale”).

In 2018, UniCredit  approved EUR 72.9 million of Social Impact Banking loans of which EUR 47.8 million were disbursed. This included the approval of 31 impact financing loans amounting to EUR 32.6 million and 2,050 microcredit loans amounting to EUR 40.3 million. 

Considering the overall activity of the partnership EIB Group-Unicredit, the total resources allocated to SMEs in Italy worths to approximately 5 billion euros over the last five years.

Notes to editors

About UniCredit

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: 26 million clients. 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.

About EIF 

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.

About the EaSI

The European Commission'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 European Commission 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 mostly. The European Commission has selected EIF to implement the EaSI Guarantee and the EaSI Capacity Building Investments Window.

About the Investment Plan for Europe

The Investment Plan for Europe, known as the Juncker Plan, is one of the European Commission’s top priorities. It focuses on boosting investment to generate jobs and growth by making smarter use of new and existing financial resources, removing obstacles to investment, and providing visibility and technical assistance to investment projects.

The European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) is the main pillar of the Juncker Plan and provides first loss guarantees, enabling the EIB to invest in more projects that often come with greater risks. EFSI has already yielded tangible results. The projects and agreements approved for financing under EFSI are expected to mobilise about EUR 408.4 billion in investments and support 952 000 SMEs in the 28 EU countries. More information on the results of the Investment Plan for Europe is available here.

About EIB-Unicredit loan for female entrepreneurship:


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


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