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EU support of EUR 21m for microenterprises in Slovenia

    Date: 03 October 2016

The European Investment Fund (EIF) and the Slovene Enterprise Fund (SEF) have signed the first microfinance guarantee agreement aimed at supporting micro enterprises in Slovenia under the EU Programme for Employment and Social Innovation (EaSI).

The microfinance agreement enables SEF to provide a total of EUR 21 million loans for a period of 2,5 years to micro-entrepreneurs, many of whom face difficulties in accessing finance. The microfinance guarantee transaction will support the promotion of entrepreneurship in the country, especially in rural areas, for young people and women, as well as focusing on the development of certain sectors such as creative industries or enterprises which maximise on Slovenian natural resources. It will have a dedicated focus on deprived areas characterised by high unemployment rates.

Microenterprises will have easier access to affordable sources of funding through lower interest rates, grace periods for loan repayment and a simplified credit approval procedure (simpler and faster procedure for obtaining credit).

Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility, Marianne Thyssen, said: "Thanks to EU funding, 1.000 micro entrepreneurs in Slovenia, including in rural areas, will be able to access preferential loans worth 21 million euro. The unemployed people and those at risk of poverty will be able to create their own jobs with this support. Through our EaSI programme, we confirm our commitment to help local economies, give a boost to jobs and growth and help the most vulnerable people in the labour market."

EIF Chief Executive, Pier Luigi Gilibert said: “We are pleased to be signing the first microfinance guarantee agreement under the EaSI mandate in Slovenia with our long-standing partner SEF. It targets micro-entrepreneurs in predominately deprived areas and will help encouraging unemployed borrowers to re-enter the labour market. Microfinance is crucial in the fight against social exclusion and SEF will help us to achieve this objective.”

SEF Director, Maja Tomanič Vidovič, M.Sc. said: “We are really happy that we successfully completed the selection procedure under EaSI programme and signed the microfinance guarantee agreement with EIF as the first Slovene public institution. Consequently, we are very proud to offer to the Slovenian market a possibility for higher value of loans intended precisely for microenterprises. Microloans broaden possibilities for Slovenian entrepreneurs and businesses, who might otherwise find it difficult to get a loan with suitable terms. With European commission and EIF support we are able to provide the higher value of microloans with sensible financial requirements.”

Microentrepreneurs wishing to apply for a micro-loan under EaSI microfinance programme can contact SEF directly.

EIF will not provide direct financial support to enterprises but will implement the facility through local financial intermediaries, such as microfinance, social finance and guarantee institutions, as well as banks that are participating in the EaSI programme across the EU-28 and additional countries. These intermediaries will deal with interested parties directly to provide support under the EaSI Guarantee. 

About the Programme for Employment and Social Innovation

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 EaSI Guarantee scheme was launched in June 2015 and is funded by the European Commission and managed by the European Investment Fund.

It provides support to financial intermediaries that offer microloans to entrepreneurs or finance to social enterprises. The objective is to increase access to microfinance for vulnerable groups who want to set up or develop their business and micro-enterprises, through notably loans of up to EUR 25,000. In addition, for the first time, the European Commission is helping 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 micro-entrepreneurs and social enterprises that would not have been able to gain finance otherwise due to risk considerations. The European Commission has selected EIF to implement the EaSI Guarantee.

Furthermore, the Commission is reinforcing the social dimension of the EFSI for both microfinance and social entrepreneurship. Overall, the total amount of support to these areas is expected to increase (from EUR 193 million under the EaSI programme) to about EUR 1 billion, mobilising some EUR 3 billion in additional investment.

About the European Investment Fund

The European Investment Fund (EIF) is part of the European Investment Bank group. Its central mission is to support Europe's micro, small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) 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.

For further information on EU microfinance and social entrepreneurship support please refer to:

EaSI Programme       

EU support to social entrepreneurship

About SEF

The Slovene Enterprise Fund (hereinafter the Fund or SEF) is a public financial fund in ownership of the Republic of Slovenia established for the purpose of granting financial support and incentives to the entrepreneurial sector in Slovenia. The Fund publishes annually public tenders for financial support for development-expansion investments of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (hereinafter SMEs) in Slovenia. SEF’s active portfolio at the end of 2015 totalled over 600m EUR in over 4,700 operations, out of which the guarantee portfolio totalled around 230m EUR. SEF annually supports approximately 700 projects/enterprises with around 120m EUR of different financial incentives.

For further information: www.podjetniskisklad.si

Press contact:

EIF: David Yormesor
tel: +352 24 85 81 346, e-mail: d.yormesor@eif.org

SEF: Mateja Grobelnik
tel: +386 2 234 1240,  e-mail: mateja.grobelnik@podjetniskisklad.si

EU Commission: Christian WIGAND, +32 2 296 22 53, Sara Soumillion, +32 22967094


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