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SEK 45 million available for micro-enterprises in Sweden thanks to EU funding

    Date: 19 January 2017

The European Investment Fund (EIF) and Kreditgarantiföreningen Norr ekonomisk förening (KGF) have signed a new agreement aimed at supporting micro-enterprises in Sweden under the EU Programme for Employment and Social Innovation (EaSI).

This EaSI guarantee agreement with KGF will cover a portfolio of guarantees on loans of SEK 45 million (ca. EUR 4.6 million). Thanks to the joint backing of EIF and the European Commission, up to 250 Swedish micro-borrowers across the country will be able to benefit from financing solutions that would otherwise not have been available.

Commenting on the transaction, Marianne Thyssen, EU Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility, said: “Thanks to EU funding covering a loan portfolio of EUR 4.6 million, about 250 micro-entrepreneurs in Sweden, and in particular those excluded from mainstream credit, will be able to benefit from loans on preferential terms. Final beneficiaries will also receive individual business support such as mentoring and training. Through our EaSI programme, we remain committed to fighting against social exclusion in Europe and getting more people into jobs, with particular efforts directed towards the most vulnerable people in the labour market.”

EIF Chief Executive, Pier Luigi Gilibert, said: “The agreement signed today marks the second EaSI microfinance agreement in Sweden. Thanks to EIF’s backing, KGF will be enabled to reach out to Swedish micro-borrowers throughout the country and contribute to the improvement of the overall microcredit market in Sweden. I strongly encourage micro-borrowers currently finding it difficult to access financing to make use of this opportunity.”

Irma Perdal, Chairman of KGF, stated: Thanks to this agreement between EIF and KGF we can now offer an interesting credit solution to small businesses. This way it will be easier for the entrepreneurs and aspiring entrepreneurs to borrow capital among financial agents. Our association will thus contribute to the creation of new businesses in Sweden and will help existing companies to further develop their businesses. New business ideas can thus be tested and implemented, leading the way towards new job opportunities. The Board of KGF is pleased to provide better conditions for small businesses in Sweden through this agreement, and looks forward to many new applications for credit from companies in all industries.”

This new agreement enables KGF to enlarge its offer outside of its current geographic scope. The micro-borrowers will benefit from reduced collateral requirements, a reduction of the interest margin and a reduction on the guarantee fee. Micro-enterprises wishing to apply for a loan under EaSI in Sweden can do so by contacting directly KGF.

About 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 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 that would not have been able to gain finance otherwise due to risk considerations. 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.

Recently, the Commission has added the EaSI Capacity Building Investments Window in order to reinforce the capacity of selected financial intermediaries in the areas of microfinance and social enterprise finance. Through equity investments (such as seed financing, risk capital) mostly, the EIF will support the development of these finance providers, for instance by opening a new branch, investing in human resources, developing a new IT tool or financing certain expenses. Ultimately, these investments will help increase the offer and opportunities for micro-borrowers and social enterprises.

Furthermore, the European Commission is reinforcing the social dimension of the European Fund for Strategic Investments (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 EIF

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.

More information on EU microfinance and social entrepreneurship support is available under:

EaSI Programme

EU support to social entrepreneurship 

About KGF

Kreditgarantiföreningen Norr (KGF) is the most successful credit union in Sweden. The association was formed in early 2004, and was formally registered in early 2005 to engage in credit activities. The primary business area of the association has been the four northernmost counties of Sweden. KGF is owned by entrepreneurs and companies, has over 750 members and provides guarantees for the loans of its members. Its own funds amounted to about SEK 30 million and thus can provide guarantees with a total of SEK 150 million (over EUR 15 million) for the members' credits in banks and other financial organizations. The KGF's capital base consists of both private and society owned capital.

Press contacts:

EIF: David Yormesor
Tel.: + 352 24 85 81 346, E-Mail: d.yormesor@eif.org

KGF: Ann-Mari Sandberg
Tel.: + 46 (0)70 623 49 11, E-Mail: ann-mari.sandberg@kreditgarantiföreningen.se

European Commission: Sara Soumillion
Tel.: + 32 (0)2 29 67 094, E-Mail: sara.soumillion@ec.europa.eu


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