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EUR 4m for micro-enterprises in Spain as EIF and Colonya sign agreement under Progress Microfinance

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    Date: 04 December 2013
The European Investment Fund and Colonya Caixa d’Estalvis de Pollença (Colonya) have signed a guarantee agreement aimed at supporting micro-enterprises and self-employed entrepreneurs in Spain.

This transaction was signed under the European Progress Microfinance Facility (Progress Microfinance) guarantees, funded by the European Commission and managed by the European Investment Fund. Colonya is the second institution in Spain to provide microloans under this facility.

Colonya will provide a total amount of up to EUR 4million to micro-entrepreneurs across the Balearic islands, with a particular focus on supporting self-employed entrepreneurs and formerly unemployed micro-entrepreneurs starting-up their own businesses. This agreement will provide easier access to finance to over 450 Spanish micro-enterprises and encourage employment in the region.

Commenting on the agreement, European Investment Fund Director, Marc Schublin said: “I am delighted to be signing this Progress Microfinance agreement in Spain with Colonya.

At a time of tightening credit conditions and a challenging employment market, this agreement will bring valuable benefits to micro-entrepreneurs across the Balearic islands, helping to create and sustain jobs for the local economy”.

The transaction will allow Colonya, the only microfinance bank in the Balearic islands, to continue further develop its current lending activity to small and micro-enterprises in Spain.

“Given the current economic climate, this agreement with the European Investment Fund, is Colonya’s response to combating youth unemployment, support for the social economy, providing funding to minority groups, and ultimately continuing to support entrepreneurs, freelancers and entrepreneurs. Colonya is proud to reach agreements ratified by the European Commission, with the European Investment Fund, helping to work to create wealth and social and economic progress.” said Joseph Cifre, President of Colonya bank.

Micro-enterprises wishing to apply for a micro-loan under Progress Microfinance can directly contact Colonya‘s branches in Spain.                          

 

About the European Progress Microfinance Facility

The European Progress Microfinance Facility (Progress Microfinance) provides guarantees and funded instruments to microfinance intermediaries. The initiative is established with EUR 205 million of funding from the European Commission and the European Investment Bank. Progress Microfinance aims to increase access to finance for micro-entrepreneurs, including the self-employed. It has a particular focus on, but is not restricted to, groups with limited access to the conventional credit market. Examples include female entrepreneurs, young entrepreneurs, entrepreneurs belonging to a minority group, entrepreneurs with a disability, sole traders etc. Loans less than EUR 25,000 are made available through selected intermediaries participating in the facility. Progress Microfinance does not provide direct financing to micro-entrepreneurs or individuals.

Colonya Caixa d’Estalvis de Pollença marks the 35th transaction signed under Progress Microfinance since its inception in 2010. To date, commitments of over EUR 110 million under Progress Microfinance have been signed to benefit EU micro-borrowers. Countries where agreements have been signed to date include Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, France, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Spain, the Netherlands and the UK.For further information about this initiative please visit: www.ec.europa.eu/epmf

About EIF

EIF's central mission is to support Europe's micro, small and medium-sized businesses by helping them to access finance.  EIF designs and develops venture and growth capital, guarantees and microfinance instruments which specifically target this market segment. In this role, EIF fosters EU objectives in support of innovation, research and development, entrepreneurship, growth, and employment. EIF’s total net commitments to private equity funds amounted to over EUR 6.9bn at end 2012. With investments in over 435 funds, EIF is a leading player in European venture due to the scale and the scope of its investments, especially in high-tech and early-stage segments. EIF’s guarantees loan portfolio totalled over EUR 4.7bn in close to 255 operations at end 2012, positioning it as a major European SME guarantees actor and a leading micro-finance guarantor.

 

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