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First EU social finance deal in Europe, to support EUR 33m for social-enterprises in France

    Date: 17 March 2016

The European Investment Fund (EIF) and Société financière de la NEF (la NEF) have signed the first Social Entrepreneurship guarantee agreement aimed at supporting more than 300 social-enterprises in France under the EU Programme for Employment and Social Innovation (EaSI).

This new guarantee agreement allows La Nef to provide a total of EUR 33 million to over 300 micro and social entrepreneurs, many of whom face difficulties in accessing credit from traditional banking sources. Social entrepreneurs including fair trade producers, organic farmers and micro-borrowers in the renewable energy sector will be able to benefit from loans at a reduced interest rate, without providing collateral under the EU supported programme.

The EaSI Guarantee scheme was launched in June 2015 and is funded by the European Commission and managed by the European Investment Fund. The EIF also signed a microfinance agreement with La Nef to benefit micro-enterprises.

Marianne Thyssen, Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility, said: "This agreement marks a key milestone in European Union financing for social entrepreneurship. In addition to our support for micro-borrowers, these EaSI Guarantees will help more than 300 social enterprises to take root and grow, thereby fostering job creation and social inclusion."

EIF Chief Executive, Pier Luigi Gilibert said: “I am delighted to be signing our first social entrepreneurship finance agreement in France with La Nef. This EaSI guarantee will help to support social-enterprises, which can make a real impact in the local communities where they operate. We are pleased to be able together with La Nef to play a role in helping more than 300 entrepreneurs to start-up and develop their companies. We also expect to sign additional Social Entrepreneurship transactions in the coming months.”

Jean-Marc de Boni, La Nef CEO said: “I’m very glad to sign two guarantees from the EaSI programme with EIF. Thanks to these instruments, la Nef will continue and increase considerably its support to all the organizations financed for over 30 years: Micro-borrowers and Social-Enterprises. The EIF guarantee is particularly interesting for the borrower and la Nef because of its gratuity and because of the amount of Loans we will able to grant up to 500.000 euros”.

Social-enterprises wishing to apply for a loan under EaSI can directly contact La Nef branches in France.    

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 active across the EU-28 and additional countries that are participating in the EaSI programme. These intermediaries will deal with interested parties directly to provide support under the EaSI Guarantee.

About the Programme for Employment and Social Innovation

Under the EU Programme for Employment and Social Innovation (EaSI), the European Commission supports microfinance and social entrepreneurship finance with an overall envelope of EUR 193 million for the period 2014-2020. The aim 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 will also support social enterprises through loans of up to EUR 500,000. The microfinance and social entrepreneurship support will be first implemented through the EaSI Guarantee, which will enable financial intermediaries to reach out to (potential) micro-entrepreneurs 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.

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 La Nef

Unique in France, la Nef is a financial cooperative who offers savings and credit solutions oriented to projects having social, ecological and / or cultural utility. Established in 1988, la Nef is regulated by the Bank of France as a Specialized Credit Institution.

In order to provide transparency, La Nef is the unique French bank which annually makes account of the totality of its financing deriving from the money entrust by its stakeholders and savers.

The projects that la Nef daily supports are those who build tomorrow's society: organic farming, renewable energy, recycling, car sharing, fair trade, non-profit organizations, social housing, alternative pedagogy, cultural sector.

Read the Press Release in French

Press contact:

EIF: David Yormesor
Tel: +352 42 66 88 346, E-mail: d.yormesor@eif.org

La Nef: Léo Miranda
Tel: +33 481 65 00 07, E-mail: l.miranda@lanef.com

EU Commission:


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