- Follows first EUR 50m agreement signed with European Investment Fund (EIF) in 2018 to benefit around 2,500 Italian micro-enterprises, and recent credit lines to social enterprises and female entrepreneurs; Total microcredit programme in Italy now at EUR 110m
- Up to EUR 25 000 per loan, with an EU-backed guarantee from the European Investment Fund (EIF) under the EU programme for Employment and Social Innovation (EaSI)
- Interested businesses can request access to the Qredits tool for assistance in forming their business plans
The EIF (part of the EIB Group) and UniCredit have signed a EUR 60 million agreement in continued support of Italian micro enterprises. The support takes the form of microfinance, supplied with an EU-backed guarantee under the European Commission's EaSI (Employment and Social Innovation) programme. The loans are available to individual entrepreneurs and micro-enterprises with less than 10 employees and a maximum of EUR 2 million in annual turnover or total assets. The aim is to support these businesses with loans of up to EUR 25 000, as well as providing them with support on the development of their activities and access to a network of relevant industry partners.
This signature follows the first agreement signed in March 2018, for a portfolio guarantee of EUR 50 million, benefitting around 2,500 Italian micro-enterprises. It also comes on the heels of recent EIB Group agreements supporting Italian SMEs with a specific focus on female entrepreneurs and innovation (EUR 400 million), fighting climate change (EUR 100 million), as well as the EUR 50 million agreement in support of social enterprises. This second EaSi microfinance agreement covers a wider portfolio for higher risk classes than the first agreement in 2018, opening it to more micro-enterprises than before.
Marianne Thyssen, European Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, commented: "I am delighted that we came to an additional 60 million euro EaSI microfinance guarantee agreement with UniCredit that will give an extra boost to 3,000 micro-entrepreneurs in Italy. It shows that the first guarantee signed last year has served its purpose, and we show that we continue to help those who face difficulties in accessing credit. The EU remains committed to ensuring equal opportunities for all and that we leave no one behind".
Jean Pierre Mustier, UniCredit CEO, commented: "UniCredit's continued cooperation with the EIF allows our Social Impact Banking business to support many companies that would otherwise be excluded from traditional banking services. We are able to help the many promising entrepreneurs in Italy as well as supporting the growth of the Italian economy at large. We continue to focus on financing the real economy here and in all our markets."
Pier Luigi Gilibert, EIF Chief Executive, commented: "The EaSI programme has allowed the EIF to make a tangible difference in supporting small businesses that have a true social impact. We have known both UniCredit and Qredits for a long time, and we are glad to partner with them to make financing available to those companies who need it, all the while supporting commendable causes."
Elwin Groenevelt, CEO of Qredits and President of the European Microfinance Network Board commented: "Microfinance has become the most sustainable and trusted alternative finance option in developing economies today. An array of customised credit facilities is now available to vulnerable target groups previously unserved. Qredits is proud of the growth the microfinance network has seen over the past few years and the increased collaboration efforts between microfinance organisations and banks both at the national and international level. UniCredit Group joining the Qredits e-learning platform is a prime example of that. Together we can strengthen entrepreneurship and our local economies."
UniCredit will manage the selection of the micro enterprises and the disbursement of the loans through its national network. The selected enterprises will also benefit from advisory and coaching support provided by UniGens - a volunteer association of UniCredit's current and former employees.
Furthermore, interested companies can benefit from access to the Qredits tool that can help them define and create business plans ensuring these comprise all necessary elements and are ready for presentation when making the loan request. Free access credentials can be requested via www.unicredit.it
Please see here to find more information on the recent EIB-Unicredit loan to support female entrepreneurship and the EIF agreement supporting Italian social enterprises:
Luxembourg, 23 September 2019
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