- More than 2.500 micro firms in Italy will benefit from the scheme
- Social Impact Banking: UniCredit's new programme to help develop a more equitable and sustainable society
- The European Investment Fund guarantee is based on the EU EaSi Programme
The European Investment Fund (EIF, part of the EIB Group), the European Commission and UniCredit have today signed a EUR 50 million agreement benefitting 2.500 Italian micro firms from an EIF guarantee under the European Commission's EaSI (Employment and Social Innovation) programme. UniCredit will support these firms through its Social Impact Banking (SIB) as the first step in an ongoing collaboration with EIF that will later extend to other areas within the social sector based on the shared goals of UniCredit and EIF in building a more equitable and sustainable society.
UniCredit CEO Jean Pierre Mustier, EIF Chairman Dario Scannapieco and EIF Chief Executive Pier Luigi Gilibert took part in the signing ceremony; EU Commission was represented by Massimo Gaudina, Head of EU Commission representation in Milan.
UniCredit will manage the selection of the businesses and the disbursement of the microcredits through its national network; the maximum amount for each loan will be EUR 25,000. Furthermore, UniCredit's network of Partners will support the Bank in identifying potential micro entrepreneurs and providing them with support for the development of their business ideas. Additionally, UniGens, a volunteer association consisting of UniCredit's current and former employees will provide mentoring and training to talented individuals, micro firms and social enterprises.
Jean Pierre Mustier, UniCredit CEO, commented; "To do well, we also have to do good. At UniCredit, we are proud that all our actions are guided by a strong sense of ethics, based on clear values. One of these is the importance of supporting our community. Through our Social Impact Banking initiative, we do this by looking beyond purely economic returns to drive investments with a positive impact on society. We are certain that signing the agreement with EIF today will enable us to further support the small businesses that make up the future foundations of the Italian economy."
Dario Scannapieco, EIF Chairman and EIB Vice-President said: "The EIB Group, as a European Institution, has a strong social mission; this is why we support the whole of the Italian economy, including micro firms that are very relevant in the Italian social environment. I am particularly pleased to enlarge the scope our consolidated cooperation with UniCredit with an operation in the social sector, benefiting from the support of the European Commission. This shows Europe's strong commitment also to the smallest enterprises".
Marianne Thyssen, EU Commissioner for Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility, said: "With EU's support, UniCredit will launch a new inclusive finance initiative worth EUR 50 million to support about 2,500 micro-enterprises in Italy. Many of these micro-entrepreneurs face difficulties in accessing credit from traditional banking sources. This new guarantee agreement will make loans more easily accessible to them. This shows again that the European Commission, through its Programme for Employment and Social Innovation, is fully committed to boosting employment in Europe and getting more people into jobs."
EIF Chief Executive, Pier Luigi Gilibert said: "This new EaSI guarantee enables UniCredit to provide finance solutions to microenterprises who often struggle to access finance from traditional lenders. The EaSI transaction with UniCredit will support loans, to start up microbusinesses and micro-borrowers with limited opportunities of financing in Italy due to lack of collateral. This would be the third EaSI microfinance transaction in Italy, the first one with a systemic bank and the largest to date."
Milan, April 24th, 2018
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