The European Investment Bank (EIB) Group and the European Commission are launching an initiative to support microfinancing in EU Member States.
The facility, which combines €100m from the European Commission matched with funding from the EIB and which will be managed through the European Investment Fund (EIF), is aimed at individuals who want to start or further develop their own micro-enterprise, including for self-employment.
It will target people who have difficulties accessing the job market or have had trouble obtaining credit in the past.
The financial support will not be provided directly to beneficiaries.
The EIF will implement the facility through local financial intermediaries such as microfinance and guarantee institutions as well as banks active in each Member State.
These intermediaries will then deal directly with interested parties to deploy the instruments made available under the facility.
The first support mechanism under this program, a micro-loan guarantee instrument, will become available in spring 2010 while a wider range of additional financial support instruments, including micro-loans, is set to reach the market in autumn.