The European Union is setting up a new initiative aimed at supporting entrepreneurship and employment for groups that need it most in the current period of financial crisis.
The European Progress Microfinance Facility (EPMF) intends to increase access to finance for individuals facing uncertainty in the job market, who wish to set up their own micro-enterprises and existing micro-enterprises and self-employed individuals to develop their businesses.
In particular, beneficiaries include:
– individuals who have lost or are at risk of losing their job or have difficulties entering or re-entering the labour market, as well as disadvantaged individuals or people at risk of social exclusion;
– existing micro-enterprises and self-employed individuals operating in the social economy and providing jobs for unemployed or disadvantaged people, as well as for those suffering from extreme poverty or at risk of social exclusion.
The facility, which will be managed by the European Investment Fund (EIF), will provide financing through local intermediaries such as microfinance institutions, guarantee institutions, community development finance institutions and commercial banks, participating in the initiative.
These intermediaries will provide borrowers with micro-credits and guarantees on micro-credits. Borrowers can receive more than one micro-loan, up to a maximum amount below €25,000.
The proceeds from financing can be used for the set-up and the development of micro-enterprises, (including for investment, leasing, and working capital needs) and the acquisition of licenses.
In order to have detailed information about microfinance providers in the 27 countries of the UE, the EIF will dedicate a specific web-page to the initiative.