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European Progress Microfinance Facility - Questions & Answers

For Individuals and Micro-enterprises:
  1. Who is eligible to receive financing?
  2. How will financing under the Facility be provided?
  3. What type of support is available?
  4. Which countries can participate in the Facility?
  5. How can I apply for financing?
  6. Where can I find information about microfinance providers in my area?
  7. What will it cost to apply for financing?
  8. How long will it take to receive financing?
Download the Questions & Answers for Individuals & Micro-enterprises in .pdf format

1. The European Progress Microfinance Facility is an EU initiative to support entrepreneurship and employment through microfinance activities. Progress Microfinance targets micro-entrepreneurs, including the self-employed, or individuals facing uncertainty in the job market who wish to set up their own micro-enterprises. It has a particular focus on, but is not restricted to, groups with limited access to the conventional credit market such as female entrepreneurs, young entrepreneurs, entrepreneurs belonging to a minority group, entrepreneurs with a disability, sole traders, etc.
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2. The EIF does not provide direct financing to micro-enterprises or individuals. Financing is made available through intermediaries participating in the Facility. Eligible intermediaries are any public and private institutions that provide microfinance loans and/or guarantees to individuals, or micro-enterprises established in the EU Member States. Eligibility criteria and financing conditions will be established by each intermediary participating in Progress Microfinance and may vary accordingly to the local market.
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3. Intermediaries will provide beneficiaries with micro-credit guarantees (direct or counter-guarantees) different forms of loans, and equity. The financing can be used for the setup and/or development of micro-enterprises, including for investment, leasing, and working capital needs, as well as the acquisition of licenses and other start-up costs. Financing cannot be used to cover credit lines such as overdrafts or short-term revolving facilities.
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4. Intermediaries operating in all the EU Member States are eligible to apply for support under the European Progress Microfinance Facility.
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5. Please note that the EIF will not provide direct financing to micro-enterprises or individuals. The EIF cooperates with microfinance intermediaries who will make micro-credits available to micro-enterprises or individuals. Thus, interested micro-enterprises or individuals should contact intermediaries in their specific region or country to learn about specific application requirements and procedures in the local market.
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6. The intermediaries participating in the Facility are listed on this page: http://www.eif.org/what_we_do/microfinance/progress/Progress_intermediaries.htm The list will be regularly updated as soon as a new agreement is signed.

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7. Interest rates and fees will be set by the intermediaries offering financial support under the European Progress Microfinance Facility and will vary in each case. For detailed information, we advise you to contact the respective intermediary directly.
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8. The timeframe will depend on the specific procedures and guidelines of the respective intermediary and can thus vary.
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For intermediaries:

1. What is the European Progress Microfinance Facility ?
2. How does Progress Microfinance work ?
3. What products are available ?
4. What intermediaries are eligible ?
5. How can interested institutions become an intermediary ?
6. How will intermediaries be selected?
7. What are the benefits of becoming an intermediary under Progress Microfinance ?
8. What is the cost for intermediaries?
9. How does EPMF relate to other EIF microfinance programmes?

Download the Questions & Answers for Financial intermediaries in .pdf format

1. The European Progress Microfinance Facility is a microfinance initiative established with EUR 200 million of funding from the European Commission and the European Investment Bank. EPMF 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.
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2. EIF is managing Progress Microfinance. Financial products are made available through eligible intermediaries participating in the facility. EIF does not provide direct financing to micro-entrepreneurs or individuals.
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3. Progress Microfinance offers two product lines to eligible intermediaries:

  • micro-credit guarantees (direct or counter-guarantees)
  • funded instruments (different forms of loans and equity investments)

With the support from Progress Microfinance, intermediaries can enhance their capacity to provide micro-credits and guarantees on micro-credits.
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4. Eligible intermediaries are any public and private institutions that provide micro-loans and/or guarantees to individuals or micro-enterprises established in the EU Member States.
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5. If you are interested in the micro-credit guarantees under Progress Microfinance, please send an application in line with the procedure publicised this website. The website contains detailed information on the specific application requirements and procedures. You may also contact the EIF Guarantees Team directly for further guidance.

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6. EIF will select intermediaries after carrying out a detailed due diligence based on established selection criteria including financial standing, financing capacity, operational capabilities, and expected impact (e.g. volumes and geographical reach). Following approval by the EIF, contractual arrangements will be set up with the selected intermediaries.
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7. Depending on the nature and strategy of each institution, there are various benefits of becoming an intermediary under Progress Microfinance:

  • Increase loan volumes and possibility to gain new customers
  • Attract new investors from the private sector and reinforce shareholding structure in order to reach sustainability
  • Develop pilots and build economies of scale
  • Adopt sustainable measures to promote employment
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8. For the guarantees component, no fees other than a potential commitment fee apply. As for funded instruments, pricing to intermediaries reflects market conditions and takes into account applicable reference rates, country and counterpart risk premium, competition, and expense coverage.
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9. This Facility complements existing EU microfinance initiatives through a diverse product range which includes new funded instruments such as senior and subordinated loan facilities, funded risk-sharing products, and equity participations. Additionally, the Facility seeks to have a different angle of impact through its particular focus on boosting employment while promoting social inclusion, especially in light of the adverse effects of the current financial environment. With the launch of Progress Microfinance, EU-based microfinance intermediaries will now benefit from a wider scope of EIF-managed initiatives targeting different market segments and stages of maturity. Under further EIF-managed microfinance programmes, intermediaries can benefit from support for self-employment and micro-entrepreneurship as well as technical assistance, seed funding, funding for expansion, and risk protection.
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