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Designing       microfinanceoperations in the EU        A manual on how to build and implement microfinance support progra...
Acknowledgements                                                   PrefaceThis guidebook has been developed by            ...
Index                                                                                                                     ...
1                                                              Introduction                                               ...
1.1 What is microfinance?                       Thus, a distinction is generally made         1.2 COPIE                   ...
2    Implementing microfinance as part of the policy cycle    The setting up of a microfinance and/or        c)	 Organisin...
amount of public money granted to thescheme is a fraction of the amount of                                                ...
2.1.2 Microfinance in Europe                  as customer evaluation models and scor-                                     ...
(CDFIs) lend to small businesses and individuals in disadvantaged areas. Based on                                         ...
ESF-funded microfinance programmes5                                  ciency and renewable energies). Only the tourism and ...
In contrast, the Lombardy region in Italy has decided on an                                                               ...
In the Netherlands, a common vision for microfinance was cre-                                                             ...
2.3. Conducting an ex-ante evaluation                                                           	    for the microloan sch...
In 2010 the Lithuanian Ministry of Economy contract-         ship. In contrast, the microfinance programme is directed to ...
2.4 	 Formulating an                                                           	     integrated strategy 		               ...
In several EU countries and regions,Managing Authorities have already im-plemented microcredit schemes in linewith the res...
In Greece the ministries involved in the setting up of              In Lombardy, several actors are involved in the JER-  ...
2.4.2 Time period for fund implementation                                                           Once the decision abou...
COPIE Access to finance manual: Designing microfinance operations in the EU
COPIE Access to finance manual: Designing microfinance operations in the EU
COPIE Access to finance manual: Designing microfinance operations in the EU
COPIE Access to finance manual: Designing microfinance operations in the EU
COPIE Access to finance manual: Designing microfinance operations in the EU
COPIE Access to finance manual: Designing microfinance operations in the EU
COPIE Access to finance manual: Designing microfinance operations in the EU
COPIE Access to finance manual: Designing microfinance operations in the EU
COPIE Access to finance manual: Designing microfinance operations in the EU
COPIE Access to finance manual: Designing microfinance operations in the EU
COPIE Access to finance manual: Designing microfinance operations in the EU
COPIE Access to finance manual: Designing microfinance operations in the EU
COPIE Access to finance manual: Designing microfinance operations in the EU
COPIE Access to finance manual: Designing microfinance operations in the EU
COPIE Access to finance manual: Designing microfinance operations in the EU
COPIE Access to finance manual: Designing microfinance operations in the EU
COPIE Access to finance manual: Designing microfinance operations in the EU
COPIE Access to finance manual: Designing microfinance operations in the EU
COPIE Access to finance manual: Designing microfinance operations in the EU
COPIE Access to finance manual: Designing microfinance operations in the EU
COPIE Access to finance manual: Designing microfinance operations in the EU
COPIE Access to finance manual: Designing microfinance operations in the EU
COPIE Access to finance manual: Designing microfinance operations in the EU
COPIE Access to finance manual: Designing microfinance operations in the EU
COPIE Access to finance manual: Designing microfinance operations in the EU
COPIE Access to finance manual: Designing microfinance operations in the EU
COPIE Access to finance manual: Designing microfinance operations in the EU
COPIE Access to finance manual: Designing microfinance operations in the EU
COPIE Access to finance manual: Designing microfinance operations in the EU
COPIE Access to finance manual: Designing microfinance operations in the EU
COPIE Access to finance manual: Designing microfinance operations in the EU
COPIE Access to finance manual: Designing microfinance operations in the EU
COPIE Access to finance manual: Designing microfinance operations in the EU
COPIE Access to finance manual: Designing microfinance operations in the EU
COPIE Access to finance manual: Designing microfinance operations in the EU
COPIE Access to finance manual: Designing microfinance operations in the EU
COPIE Access to finance manual: Designing microfinance operations in the EU
COPIE Access to finance manual: Designing microfinance operations in the EU
COPIE Access to finance manual: Designing microfinance operations in the EU
COPIE Access to finance manual: Designing microfinance operations in the EU
COPIE Access to finance manual: Designing microfinance operations in the EU
COPIE Access to finance manual: Designing microfinance operations in the EU
COPIE Access to finance manual: Designing microfinance operations in the EU
COPIE Access to finance manual: Designing microfinance operations in the EU
COPIE Access to finance manual: Designing microfinance operations in the EU
COPIE Access to finance manual: Designing microfinance operations in the EU
COPIE Access to finance manual: Designing microfinance operations in the EU
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COPIE Access to finance manual: Designing microfinance operations in the EU

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Presentation from the capacity building seminar “Financing business start-up by under-represented groups”, 27-29 June 2012, Trento - Italy

Organised by the Local Economic and Employment Development (LEED) Programme and its Trento Centre at the OECD in collaboration with the Directorate-General Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion of the European Commission

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  1. 1. Designing microfinanceoperations in the EU A manual on how to build and implement microfinance support programmes using the ESF Designing microfinance operations in the EU 1
  2. 2. Acknowledgements PrefaceThis guidebook has been developed by In 2007 the Managing Authority of Flanders, together with Managing Authorities inthe Thematic group “Access to finance” Germany, Czech Republic, Spain and , Lithuania decided to set up a Thematic groupof the “ Community of Practice on In- “Access to Finance” within the “Community of Practice on Inclusive Entrepreneur-clusive Entrepreneurship” in the Euro- ship” (COPIE) in the European Social Fund (ESF).pean Social Fund. Compiled by external The need for this Community and thematic group arose, on the one hand, from theconsultants from the Deutsches Mikrofi- desire to capitalize on the vast experience concerning working on business creationnanz Institut, Brigitte Maas and Stefanie gained in the EQUAL programme, and, on the other hand that despite the high im-Lämmermann, it draws on input from portance and growing recognition of self-employment, microbusiness and micro-ESF Managing Authorities, Intermedi- credit at EU level, national ESF and ERDF bodies are still challenged to include theseate Bodies and microfinance projects in domains in their National Reform Plans and the associated operational programmes.Lithuania, Germany, Italian regions of This manual therefore aims to assist ESF and ERDF Managing Authorities to organ-Calabria – Basilicata - Sardinia and Lom- ize the implementation of a microfinance scheme through financial engineering in thebardia, Spain, Latvia, Greece, the Czech framework of their inclusive entrepreneurship policy.Republic and Flanders (Belgium) The Communities of Practice (CoPs) are commonly defined as “groups of people whoA special mention goes to all the Mem- share a passion for something that they know how to do and who interact regularly tobers of subgroup Access to Finance of learn how to do it better”. The knowledge gained and shared between 2007 and 2011the Community of Practice (CoP) on by members of the Community from all over the European Union, is presented inInclusive Entrepreneurship in the ESF this guidebook. It is hoped that Managing Authorities, Intermediate Bodies and otherwho have been central to the develop- stakeholders involved in the design and implementation of European Social Fundment of this work by providing advice, programmes will find it a helpful tool to realize their commitment to make Europe’scomment and feedback. people and companies better equipped to face new challenges in order to create a smart, inclusive and sustainable growth in their Region, Member State and Europe. Louis Vervloet Joeri Colson General Director Project Manager ESF- Agency Flanders Thematic group Coordinator ESF-Agency Flanders2 Community of practice on inclusive entrepreneurship Designing microfinance operations in the EU 3
  3. 3. Index List of abbreviationsList of abbreviations 5 2.8.2 Quality management 52 CIP Competitiveness and Innovation Framework1. Introduction 7 2.9 Ensuring schemes are reaching out and meeting Programme 1.1 What is microfinance? 8 the needs of specific target groups 63 1.2 COPIE (Community of Practice on 2.9.1 Welfare bridge – transition from unemployment COPIE Community of Practice on Inclusive Inclusive Entrepreneurship) 8 to self-employment 63 Entrepreneurship 1.3 Aims of this manual 9 2.9.2 Cooperation and partnerships 64 DMI Deutsches Mikrofinanz Institut e.V. 2. Implementing microfinance as part of the policy cycle 11 2.9.3 Product design 65 EC European Commission 2.1 Agenda setting 11 2.9.4 Communication and marketing 68 ECB European Central Bank 2.1.1 Why should inclusive entrepreneurship 2.9.5 Processing time 70 2.9.6 Appropriate non-financial services 70 EIF European Investment Fund and access to finance be put on the policy agenda? 11 2.1.2 Microfinance in Europe 15 2.9.7 Gathering data on lending to target groups 71 EMN European Microfinance Network 2.1.3 Evidence for the need to put inclusive entrepre- 2.10 How to ensure quality in microfinance operations 72 EPPA European Parliament Preparatory Action neurship/access to finance on the policy agenda 17 2.10.1 Risk management 73 ERDF European Regional Development Fund 2.2.Creating a shared vision for inclusive entrepreneurship/ 2.10.2 Codes of Conduct 75 ESF European Social Fund mobilising key stakeholders for action/formulating an 2.10.3 Training and capacity building 76 2.11 Monitoring and evaluation arrangements, JASMINE Joint Action to Support Microfinance Institutions integrated strategy 20 2.3.Conducting an ex ante evaluation for the performance and results indicators 77 in Europe microloan scheme 25 3 Conclusions and Recommendations 83 JEREMIE Joint European Resources for Micro to 2.4 Formulating an integrated strategy for inclusive Bibliography 86 Medium Enterprises entrepreneurship/access to finance for all 28 Appendix 89 LMBL Mortgage and Land Bank of Latvia 2.4.1 Microfinance under ESF 29 a. Definitions 89 b. Community of Practice on Inclusive Entrepreneurship NRP National Reform Programme 2.4.2 Time period for fund implementation 35 2.5 How to select a fund operator 37 (COPIE) 90 NSRF National Strategic Reference Framework 2.6 How to select financial intermediaries 40 c. COPIE tools 93 OP Operational Programme 2.7 Organising the professional management of a d. The place of microfinance in the new programming SROI Social Return on Investment microfinance system – key intervention parameters 45 period 2014-2020 94 PSCI Programme for Social Change and Innovation 2.7.1 Complementing microfinance by interest rebates 45 Progress Microfinance and Social Entrepreneurship (PSCI) 96 2.7.2 Combining loans and grants 47 A framework for the next generation of innovative financial 2.7.3 How to share the cost of microfinance instruments – the EU equity and debt platforms 97 between stakeholders 48 e. Business support 98 2.8 Establishing synergies between financial and non-financial f. Performance monitoring 100 support schemes (at all levels) for busines starters 52 g. Microcredit programmes funded by ESF 104 2.8.1 Types of linkages 52 Microcredit programmes funded by the ESF in table form 1064 Community of practice on inclusive entrepreneurship Designing microfinance operations in the EU 5
  4. 4. 1 Introduction Of all EU businesses, 91.8% are micro1. ods based on credit histories to assess firms forms part of the 2008 Small Busi- This group of businesses is accountable their lending, and they take collateral ness Act, the Europe 2020 Strategy, the for more than two-thirds of the EU’s to secure it. However people from dis- relaunched Single Market Act and the workforce. Micro- and small enterprises advantaged groups often have neither a new EU Structural Fund programmes. are the engine of the European economy. business track record nor any collateral. Moreover, microcredit is being opera- However, setting up and developing Moreover, the financial crisis and the tionalised through the 2007 JASMINE a microbusiness in Europe is still bur- ensuing economic recession have made Technical Assistance programme, fol- densome. People from disadvantaged debt financing more expensive and dif- lowed in 2009 by the European Progress groups face particular difficulties in es- ficult to obtain, while regulatory reform, Microfinance Facility which provides tablishing a small business or becoming particularly the Basel II regulation, has €200m to European microfinance insti- self-employed, and this includes, but is made access to finance even harder. tutions in the form of loans, guarantees not limited to, (long-term) unemployed Banks are gradually withdrawing from and equity. Lately, financial engineering and economically inactive people, mi- the local and mutual economy, partially has been introduced as preferred strate- grants, young people, lone parents (of- as a result of stricter banking regulation. gy for the use of the EU Structural Funds ten women), disabled persons and sen- Therefore, the European Union has by Member States. iors. Beside high administrative barriers, made small enterprises and microcredit access to finance is a major problem for a high priority across the European Un- them. ion’s internal, regional, enterprise and Commercial banks are reluctant to lend employment policies. Improved regula- small amounts because the transaction tion and better access to finance by small costs of managing small loans are high and profit margins are low. This discour- 1 A ‘micro-enterprise’ is defined as ‘an enterprise which employs fewer than 10 ages banks from making business loans persons and whose annual turnover and/or annual balance sheet total does not exceed €2 million’. (Annex to Commission Recommendation 2003/361/EC of less than €25,000. Banks also perceive of 6 May 2003). In comparison, 6.9% of businesses are small (fewer than 50 lending small loans to self-employed employees), 1.1% are medium (fewer than 250 employees) and 0.2% are large persons and micro-entrepreneurs as too (more than 250 employees) (Eurostat – European Business: Facts & Figures, risky. They use elaborate scoring meth- 2009)6 Community of practice on inclusive entrepreneurship Designing microfinance operations in the EU 7
  5. 5. 1.1 What is microfinance? Thus, a distinction is generally made 1.2 COPIE Business Support and Access to finance Chart 1: Structure COPIE 2 between microenterprise lending and in- (Community of Practice for (for more information, see Appendix b orMicrofinance is the provision of basic fi- clusion lending. Microenterprise lending Inclusive Entrepreneurship) go to http://www.cop-ie.eu/).nancial services to poor (low-income) targets nearly bankable clients (new and European Toolpeople, who traditionally lack access to existing enterprises) with loan amounts To develop more favourable conditions This manual was developed by COPIE’sbanking and related services (Consulta- at the upper end of the €25,000 limit. In for the growth of self-employment and Access to Finance thematic group. Quality Entrepreneurial Access to Integratedtive Group to Assist the Poor (CGAP) contrast, inclusion lending is intended for microenterprises in the EU, the Commu- Management Education Finance Business Supportdefinition). This includes credit, but “unbankable clients”, persons who are nity of Practice on Inclusive Entrepre- 1.3 Aims of this manualalso, for instance, microsavings, micro- likely to remain excluded from the bank- neurship (COPIE) was created in 2007. Itinsurance and microleasing. In the EU, ing system in the medium to long term. is a learning network of ESF Managing The COPIE Access to Finance baseline Action Planningthe focus is on microcredit. So far, only In fact, especially (long-term) unem- Authorities and Implementing Bodies study carried out in 2009 shows that de-limited experience with microsavings or ployed or economically inactive people at national and regional level in Europe. spite the high importance and growingmicroinsurance exists, mainly due to the who wish to take the first step to earning COPIE puts a focus on the ESF prior- recognition of self-employment, micro-strict regulation, for instance with regard an independent income often look for ity groups: the (long-term) unemployed, business and microcredit at EU level, of what worked and works especiallyto deposit-taking2. less than €5,000. In the same way, peo- economically inactive persons, single national ESF and ERDF bodies have only well. Examples that have been found to be ple who wish to make a transition from parent households, women, migrants very marginally taken up these issues in particularly innovative or can be consid-Microcredit is defined in the EU as the informal economy or from a low- and ethnic minorities, young people, their National Reform Plans3 and the as- ered as good practice are highlighted withloans below €25,000, and addresses two paid job to self-employment tend to take seniors and disabled persons. sociated operational programmes. a light bulb throughout the document. Togroups: small financial steps at first. The focus of COPIE is to describe and ex- This manual therefore aims to help ESF complement this, information about and As the cost of managing small loans is change good practice on inclusive entre- and ERDF Managing Authorities to organ- links to the current funding programmes- microenterprises, defined as enterprises high and as the target groups most often preneurship among EU Member States, ise the implementation of a microfinance are provided where relevant. employing less than 10 people need additional advice and business sup- to learn from each other and transfer scheme through financial engineering in- disadvantaged persons (unemployed port services, microfinance programmes knowledge and experience to other en- the framework of their inclusive entre- or inactive people, those receiving in Europe are hardly sustainable. Gov- trepreneurship support systems, in order preneurship policy.4 The document fol- social assistance, immigrants, etc.) ernment support is therefore needed. to close existing gaps or simply to pro- lows a step-by-step approach through the 2 Nevertheless there are successful examples such as the ACAF model of self- who wish to go into self-employment Experience shows that even if the micro- mote continuous improvement. COPIE main decision points in the policy cycle. financing communities in Spain (microsavings), the possibility of credit un- lending operations per se might be finan- has five thematic groups: Strategy and It also analyses existing microfinance pro- ions and cooperatives to take deposits as well as the microinsurance product but do not have access to traditional cially sustainable, the pre- and post-loan offered by ADIE in France. banking services Action Planning, Entrepreneurship Edu- grammes from COPIE partners and other 3 formerly National Action Plans for Social Protection and Social Inclusion advice will always rely on subsidies. cation, Quality Management, Integrated countries/regions and presents examples 4 A definition of financial engineering can be found in Appendix a.8 Community of practice on inclusive entrepreneurship Designing microfinance operations in the EU 9
  6. 6. 2 Implementing microfinance as part of the policy cycle The setting up of a microfinance and/or c) Organising the implementation of 2.1 Agenda Setting self-employment support scheme can be the scheme: 7) establishing synergies seen as part of a policy cycle with the aim between financial and non-financial of developing/ensuring an environment support schemes, and between na- 2.1.1 Why should inclusive entre- conducive to self-employment and busi- tional and regional levels, 8) pathways preneurship and access to finance ness creation. This process is composed from unemployment/inactivity to en- be put on the policy agenda? of three major parts: trepreneurship: ensuring schemes are Entrepreneurship and self-employment a) Identifying the place of inclusive en- reaching out and meeting the needs are labour market activation tools. trepreneurship policy in relation to of specific target groups, 9) quality Many people, especially from ESF target other active labour market policies: of microfinance institutions and ser- groups (unemployed people, migrants, 1) agenda setting, 2) creating a shared vices. women, people aged 50+, young people) vision/mobilising key stakeholders, have a hard time finding a job, but they 3) ex-ante evaluation, 4) formulating Each of these steps in the policy cycle could make very good entrepreneurs. an integrated strategy for inclusive is described below. Where appropriate, Supporting them in establishing a busi- entrepreneurship; cases from different EU countries as well ness or becoming self-employed is not b) Defining the place of microfinance as good practice examples are presented. only a way of usefully bridging periods in the inclusive entrepreneurship of unemployment and saving benefits strategy: 5) organising professional to be paid out. It is also a manner of de- management of a microfinance sys- veloping people’s creativity and innova- tem (key intervention parameters for tive potential and gives them a feeling of microfinance schemes, such as loans, trustworthiness and usefulness. Well-de- guarantees, interest rebates, fees, col- signed, inclusive entrepreneurship poli- lateral, grants, incentives for success, cies foster economic and social inclusion. who provides what, spreading of risk In the UK studies have been carried out and costs…), 6) how to select a fund to show the Social Return on Investment manager and financial intermediar- (SROI) of entrepreneurship and micro- ies; finance programmes, meaning that the Designing microfinance operations in the EU 11
  7. 7. amount of public money granted to thescheme is a fraction of the amount of To help assess the current climate for 1) strategy, Application of the COPIE tool shouldmoney consequently saved in terms of inclusive entrepreneurship in a given 2) culture and conditions, lead into policy strategies to improve thesocial benefits that did not have to be country or region, the COPIE project de- 3) start-up support and training, performance of entrepreneurship sup-paid out to the beneficiary as he or she veloped the European Tool for Inclusive 4) support for consolidation and growth port systems in Europe.had become self-employed or found a Entrepreneurship (http://cop-ie.eu/ andnew job owing to the microcredit pro- copie-tools-copie-diagnosis-tool). The 5) access to finance.gramme. Such evaluations show the so- COPIE partners have already tested thiscial and economic utility of microfinance tool in order to better understand the Germany: An assessment of inclusive entrepreneurship based on the COP-schemes. quality of their current mode of delivery IE tool was carried out in two sites: the city neighbourhood of Berlin-MitteSocial return on investment (SROI) and to detect their individual needs. Be- (2007) and the region of Rheinhessen (2008). In Berlin the availability of fi-“Social Return on Investment (SROI) analysis is a process of Net present value of benefits tween 2007 and 2010, the European Tool nancial products for new entrepreneurs was rated weak. In Rheinhessen the assess-understanding, measuring and reporting on the social, en- SROI = Net present value of investment was applied to 17 European regions and ment showed a strong commitment to support entrepreneurship, mainly due to thevironmental and economic value that is being created by an In 2005 WEETU (Women’s Employment, Enterprise and Train- cities. The tool takes stakeholders sys- existence of EQUAL projects, but a lack of financial support for entrepreneurs fromorganisation. SROI shows how social and environmental out- ing Unit), a Norfolk-based social enterprise and CDFI in the tematically through a process including vulnerable groups.comes translate into tangible monetary value, helping organi- UK, commissioned the Enterprise Research Centre to conduct an analysis and synthesis of enterprisesations and investors of all kinds to see a fuller picture of the an independent evaluation of the impact of its programmes in support in their region, sub-region or In the Belgian region of Flanders, the COPIE tool was applied in 2007 andbenefits that flow from their investment of time, money and terms of their effectiveness and social and economic returns to city. It is targeted specifically at entre- 2011 and revealed in 2007 that access to finance is the area in which the Flem-other resources. This investment can then be seen in terms of the wider community. WEETU’s Full Circle (FC) and STEPS preneurs from groups such as the unem- ish enterprise support system scores best. This area receives good scores fromthe return or the value created for individuals, communities, programmes aim to increase women’s economic and educa- ployed, women, migrants and ethnic mi- policy-makers and specialist advisors, but lower scores from entrepreneurs.society or the environment. […] tional opportunities. FC provides training, support and small norities, 50 plus, young people under 30, A key strength is the wide availability of start-up financing and this is true also forA SROI ratio is a comparison between the value being gener- loans to women who wish to start up or develop a business, people with disabilities and social enter- disadvantaged groups. However, points of improvement exist: the time delay untilated by an intervention and the investment required to achieve while STEPS helps women to re-enter the workforce or gain a prises. It consists of a matrix analysis that the subsidies are received is too long and the subsidy amounts are sometimes toothat impact. However, a SROI analysis should not be restricted better paid job. Looking at the 254 clients that benefited from identifies the main gaps or challenges to low, which causes liquidity problems for start-up firms. In Flanders, microfinance isto one number, which should be seen as a short-hand for ex- the programmes, the study showed – beside other benefits the support system for entrepreneurship provided mostly by the government, social enterprises and non-profit organisations,pressing value. Rather, it presents a framework for exploring – that for every £1 invested in WEETU, £5.80 of social value in the main themes of: so the report highlights the need to involve commercial banks. Another strong pointan organisation’s social impact, in which monetisation plays an would be created for society in terms of reduced welfare costs is the availability of high-quality financial management support for entrepreneurs.important, but not an exclusive, role.” (nef, 2008) and increased tax contribution. (Enterprise Research, 2005)12 Community of practice on inclusive entrepreneurship Designing microfinance operations in the EU 13
  8. 8. 2.1.2 Microfinance in Europe as customer evaluation models and scor- Different models of microcredit provi- ing from banks. sion exist in Europe. In Western Europe the sector has only started developing By contrast, in Central and Eastern Eu- since the year 2000, although some ini- ropean countries microfinance opera- tiatives had already been set up before tions have been in operation since the that date. Because of the strict regula- 1990s as private initiatives (often backed tory framework which gives banks the by international funders), started to fillSetting up an inclusive entrepreneur- exclusive right to grant credit, the link- a gap in an environment characterisedship policy means addressing all the age model prevails: support organisa- by a lower banking density. For instanceareas that are needed to create a favour- tions accompany the clients and cooper- in Romania and Bulgaria microfinanceable environment for would-be entrepre- ate with banks to disburse the loans. A organisations have a specific status asneurs from disadvantaged groups: en- legal exemption was introduced in 2001 non-bank financial intermediaries andtrepreneurship education, start-up and in France, where registered microcredit are allowed to lend. Moreover, special-business support, and access to finance. organisations fulfilling certain require- ised microcredit banks exist. Credit co-Regarding access to finance for entrepre- ments are allowed to borrow from banks operatives and credit unions are alsoneurs and self-employed people, public and on-lend to self-employed people and involved in microfinance and providefunders are tending to move away from microentrepreneurs themselves. In Italy, a wide range of financial services in-the provision of grants and towards the a similar law is currently being drafted. cluding saving and borrowing facilitiesdisbursement of repayable advances Although the linkage model results in and also insurance; however, normally,or microloans. Although new entrepre- more complicated and often longer loan their focus is exclusively or primarily onneurs certainly need some form of grants decision and disbursement procedures, personal finance and not on lending toand support via continued (unemploy- it does have certain advantages: while businesses. Financial organisations withment) benefits in the first months of their the banks obtain specific information on a specific legal status allowing them tonew economic activity, giving them ac- the customer segment and can outsource engage directly in microlending also ex-cess to loans rather than grants is not part of their operating costs, the non- ist in the UK. Here, specific non-govern-only a way of making them responsible, profit organisations support their initial mental, mainly non-profit and officiallybut also of sustaining financing possibili- target group with an extended range of non-bank organisations, the “commu-ties, where grants risk ceasing to exist. products while learning techniques such nity development financial institutions” Designing microfinance operations in the EU 15
  9. 9. (CDFIs) lend to small businesses and individuals in disadvantaged areas. Based on 2.1.3 Evidence for the need tothe rationale of responding to market imperfections, promotional banks also engage put inclusive entrepreneurship/in microfinance operations, in the framework of public programmes. access to finance on the policy agendaChart 2: Microcredit organisations The most recent EMN Survey “Overview - Microloan sizes (including not only The October 2011 ECB Bank Lending “real” businessman/-woman. As a re- of the Microcredit Sector in the European business, but also personal mi- Survey shows that throughout the last sult, people are not able to realise their NGOs specialised in microfinance Microcredit banks Union”, which is based on data from 170 croloans) vary between €220 and two years almost a third of SMEs that business plans and self-employment and microfinance providers in 21 European €30,000, with banks, non-bank finan- applied for a bank loan did not get any microentrepreneurship are not able to ADIE in France, ANDC in Portugal Mikrobank in Spain, FM Bank in Poland countries, illustrates the heterogeneity of cial institutions and government bod- credit or got less than they applied for. reach their full potential. Their contribu- Inspired by international practice Transformed from NGOs/foundations to the European microfinance market (Jayo ies offering larger loans than credit Compared to 2007, the success rate in tion to job creation and economic inclu- Integrated non fiancial services bank et al, 2010): unions, NGOs, savings banks, and obtaining finance decreased by 19% in sion on the local, regional and national NGOs, focus on specific groups Credit cooperatives - Sixty percent of the respondents are foundations; 2010. And the highest rejection rate oc- level is limited. Where private initiatives not-for profit organisations (17% few- - Fifty-nine percent of respondent lend- curs among micro-companies employ- do not exist, public intervention is need- WEETU in GB, NCN in Norway Crédal and Hefboom in Belgium, er than in the previous survey); ers do not require guarantees; the ing less than ten people: a 16% rejection ed. Nachala in Bulgaria Small scale (exeption: Prince Trust) - Microfinance is provided by either remainder require either collateral rate in the period of March to August A telling argument in favour of promot-Finance seen as added value for enterpise Special legal status; in Romania, Poland, small organisations or bigger institu- or participation in a guarantee pro- 2011. A similar trend can be observed on ing the establishment of microfinance support Lithuania, Ireland, Great Britain tions (where microfinance represents gramme; the national level. schemes in Europe is the impressive up- Non-bank financial institutions Institutional support programmes only a small part of the overall activi- - The most pressing problem for the Small loans are not profitable for a bank. take of microfinance and entrepreneur- Patria Credit, ROMCOM-Romania Fonds de Participation in Belgium, ties). 24% of the responding lenders microfinance providers is the lack of Often, microentrepreneurs do not have ship programmes by new entrepreneurs Invega in Lithuania focus only on microfinance, while for access to long-term funding. normal bank securities and banks are and self-employed people. Different MFls in Eastern Europe almost half of the respondents the ac- unaccustomed to serving specific self- types of programmes and their results Part of existing programmes of CDFls development banks tivity represents only a small portion employment target groups, whose busi- are shown below.Fair Finance, Business Finance Solutions of the overall activities; ness plans might not conform to banking - Fifty-seven percent of the microfi- standards. Self-employed entrepreneurs Only in Great Britain nance organisations provided fewer (especially young people, women, mi- than 50 loans in 2009; only 13% pro- grants, persons working part-time etc.) Source: adapted from EMN vided more than 400 loans; do not fit the usual public image of a16 Community of practice on inclusive entrepreneurship Designing microfinance operations in the EU 17
  10. 10. ESF-funded microfinance programmes5 ciency and renewable energies). Only the tourism and ICT sec- nomic Affairs, Agriculture and Innovation, the Ministry of So- Nowak, at that time programme manager at the French Devel- In Latvia the “Support to Self-employment and Busi- tor did not match expectations – the €25,000 ceiling effectively cial Affairs and Employment and three major Dutch banks. The opment Agency, together with two other volunteers, founded ness Start-ups” programme was set up in 2009 with excluded many projects in these areas. Fifty-four per cent of Dutch Council for Microfinance with HRH Princess Máxima Adie with the financial support of several private founda- ESF and government resources totalling €32.7 million. all the fund’s microloans went to women, a very high rate as a member was the driving force behind the setting up of a tions, the government, the French development bank Caisse desThe purpose of the programme is to boost economic activity in when compared to other microloan programmes in the EU, coherent microfinance system (see 2.2). Dépôts et Consignations (CDC) and the European anti-povertythe country by developing the knowledge and skills of business where the average is around 33%. Qredits works nationwide in the Netherlands and provides fi- programme. Adie provides microfinance to socially and finan-start-ups and providing them with the financial support they nancing for micro- and small business up to €35,0006 (average cially excluded persons. Moreover, Adie’s advocacy activitiesrequire. The results of the programme so far (as of 02/09/2011) In Germany the federal guarantee fund “Mikrokredit- loan amount: €18,000) and coaching for existing and start-up have played a huge role in ameliorating the administrative andare convincing; they have exceeded the initial targets: fonds Deutschland” was set up in January 2010 with microentre¬preneurs. The government stands surety for 80% regulatory environment for microfinance and microenterprises• 1,938 signed agreements with applicants regarding partici- the sum of €100m (€60m from the European Social of each loan. In February 2011 Qredits also signed a €20 mil- in France. pation in the programme (target: 1,200 persons); Fund and €40m from the Federal Ministry of Employment and lion guarantee and loan deal with the EIF under Progress Mi- Today Adie has 463 staff in 130 branches and works with over• 1,033 persons trained (target: 1,200 persons) Social Affairs), with the aim of improving access to loans up crofinance in order to extend support under €25,000 to over 1,700 volunteers all over France and its overseas territories. It• 537 loan agreements totalling €9.31 million signed (target: to €20,000 for start-ups and microbusinesses. The goal of the 1,000 small businesses in the Netherlands, many of whom are provides microloans up to €6,000 that through combination 800 entrepreneurs); fund is to disburse 15,000 loans by 31 December 2015. Serving higher risk borrowers. Over the last three years, Qredits has with public loan funds can reach €11,000. Adie has public and• grants totalling more than €1.68 million issued. clients with a migrant background, women entrepreneurs and extended 1,750 microloans. Qredits’ objective is to become sus- private funding. The business support side, which is separate companies offering apprenticeships is of special importance. tainable by reaching a total of 7,500 applicants and 2,500 loans from the loan department, is dependent on subsidies. TheThe average loan amount disbursed is of €18,000, indicating Since the start of the fund in 2010, the number of disbursed disbursed per year. organisation cooperates with all French banks and has estab-that the entrepreneurs actually need lower amounts than was loans is more than 250% above what was initially planned. lished partnerships with private firms. Adie constantly pilotsinitially thought. By December 2011 6,600 microloans totalling €39m had been In France the microcredit organisation Adie was set new programmes such as Créajeunes for young people and a given out, with a default rate of only 3%. Forty-one per cent up in 1989 at a time when unemployment caused by programme for rural areas. Sardinia: The results of the ESF-funded “Fondo Micro- of the clients have migrant backgrounds and 33% are women. the restructuring of the economy became a major prob- Since its inception Adie has given out 93,011 microcredits total- credito” programme, which was set up on 4 December The main business areas are services, retail, catering and hand- lem and the RMI7 social allowance scheme was set up. Maria ling more than €255m (Adie, 2010). 2009 with a sum of overall €50m, show the high de- icraft.mand for such a programme: when the first call was launched 5 A summarizing table as well as a chart of all mentioned programmes can be found in Appendix g.in 2009, there were nearly 2,400 applications. Out of these, 1,900 Microfinance programmes with a combination of public and 6 In November 2011 the loan ceiling was raised from €35,000 to €50,000 through an agreement with EIF.were eligible and 956 were accepted for a microloan. €41m was private funds 7 Until 2009, the Revenu Minimum d’Insertion (RMI) was a social allowance that applied to personsallocated. About 80% of the funded projects fall under the se- In the Netherlands Qredits started its operations in over 25 years of age who had exhausted their unemployment benefits or whose resources were inferior to a fixed ceiling. On 1st June 2009 it was replaced by the Revenu de Solidarité Active (RSA). It nowlected priority areas (mainly retail trade, manufacturing, social January 2009. The microfinance provider was set up in also applies to persons aged under 25, who are lone parents or who have already worked for two years.and personal services, environmental protection, energy effi- 2008 as a private foundation by the Ministry of Eco-18 Community of practice on inclusive entrepreneurship Designing microfinance operations in the EU 19
  11. 11. In contrast, the Lombardy region in Italy has decided on an already re-incentivising common vision as a basis to develop a strategy for labour market integration through microfinance:2.2. Creating a shared vision for inclusive the deep-rooted cooperative system. It is used as a channel to entrepreneurship/ mobilising key stakeholders for promote the labour market integration of socially disadvan- action/formulating an integrated strategy taged people.A precondition for designing an inclusive the ideology of any one particular politi- creasing the number of business start-ups The Greek EQUAL programme supported a num- Since 2008, the Italian region of Lombardy has run aentrepreneurship strategy is the crea- cal party. overall, and regional policy (revitalising ber of projects on social enterprise and inclusion. JEREMIE programme that is believed to be unique. Ittion of a common vision that is shared Self-employment, entrepreneurship and deprived urban and rural areas). However, these projects were run by many different uses €40m from ESF and private money from banksby all involved stakeholders. Ideas that microfinance are at the crossroads of Funding and carrying out pilot projects and fragmented organisations. It was only with the estab- to make loans of €4,000 to individuals, for investment in theare invented by somebody else tend to several policy fields: employment pol- on certain topics is one way to create a lishment of the Social Economy Law in September 2011 that shares of their co-operatives. The scheme was set up as a re-face more resistance than ideas that we icy (addressing problems of structural common vision. In many countries, pro- stakeholders, local communities, citizens and vulnerable sponse to the diagnosis that co-operatives and especially socialgenerate ourselves. It is not unusual for change in certain sectors and integrate jects on inclusive entrepreneurship have groups came together to build up social economy structures. co-operatives are excluded from the credit market – a fact thatorganisations to have different objec- target groups into the labour market); been carried out under the EU EQUAL The discussion and negotiation among all relevant parties to is aggravated by the financial crisis. Its objective is to improvetives. When undertaking any joint activ- social policy (combating the exclusion programme (2000-2008). Although such create the legal framework took about two and a half years. access to credit for co-operative members, in order to allowity it is therefore important to recognise of disadvantaged persons from financial projects tend to be quite diverse and do The social economy was also put on the internet and gath- them to buy equity in their businesses. It targets social co-op-that these exist, but also to identify areas and non-financial services relevant to job not always have lasting effects, they can ered opinions of all interested citizens. It is now planned to eratives as these create employment, especially for disadvan-of common ground where joint working creation); economic policy (boosting the form the cornerstone for a shared vision set up a Special Fund for Social Enterprises. taged people.can add benefits. It is also imperative that number of target group members, such about inclusive entrepreneurship. The scheme is in line with Italian reform policy since the 1990sinclusive entrepreneurship is not seen as as women, who create businesses or in- to favour cooperatives that provide social services. National law L. 381/1991 (as amended) provides the legislative frame- work for the cooperative system and, in particular, for social cooperatives that deal with disadvantaged people. Coopera- tives are supervised at regional level, and the region created the register for social cooperatives in 1998.20 Community of practice on inclusive entrepreneurship Designing microfinance operations in the EU 21
  12. 12. In the Netherlands, a common vision for microfinance was cre- In other regions such as Flanders large-scale consultations andated through the establishment of a steering group, the Coun- integration between structural funds and domestic govern-cil for Microfinance. ment resources have ensured stability beyond the political cy- cle. This is the case in the examples below. The Dutch Council of Microfinance In Flanders, the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of In Lithuania the need to expand financial services to In the Netherlands, until recently activities and public- Netherlands who has also been UN Special Advocate for In- Labour, the Ministry of Economy and SYNTRA Flan- SMEs and improve access to concessional loans and ity concerning microfinance focused on Dutch involve- clusive Finance since 2009. ders (the Flemish agency for entrepreneurial training) microcredits, venture capital funds and forms of loanment in developing countries without taking note of some ma- The Council was set up to make policy recommendations to collaborate in shaping policies and practices on inclusive entre- insurance has been included in most strategic documents, suchjor government programmes in the Netherlands that could be government through the Minister of Economic Affairs and to preneurship. A Steering Committee for Entrepreneurial Edu- as the Long-term strategy for Lithuania’s economic develop-categorised as microfinance programmes. A growing number formulate solutions to improve access to microfinance in the cation was set up. It consists of representatives from the private ment until 2015 (including the Small and Medium Businessof private foundations and other non-governmental organisa- Netherlands. Since early 2008 a special Support Bureau for Mi- offices of the ministers of Economy, Education and Labour, Development Strategy) developed by the Ministry of Economytions started microfinance projects in the Netherlands, often crofinance Initiatives has become operational within the Min- from the departments of Economy, Education and Labour and in 2002 in the course of the EU accession. It is based on a SWOTsupported by EU co-financing (mainly ESF, EQUAL) and with istry of Economic Affairs and funds have been made available from Syntra Flanders. External stakeholders (i.e. employers) (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) analysis oflocal funding (public and sometimes private). In 2007 McKin- to create a central facility to support local initiatives. The gov- are consulted on some topics, but they have not been included the country’s economy.sey carried out a market study to understand the feasibility of ernment has adopted the Council’s advice and has developed in the steering committee. In 2009 the economic crisis resulted in substantially highera microfinance project and the Ministry of Economic Affairs a comprehensive programme including coaching, mentoring Moreover, in the framework of PACT 2020 a large-scale consul- unemployment and a large number of small business failures.established the Dutch Council for Microfinance to promote and a guarantee scheme. This has enabled the establishment tation between government, social partners and civil society This unprecedented situation stimulated a search for new andmicrofinance inside the country. The Council consists of high- of the nationwide microcredit organisation Qredits. In 2011 the was held in 2009. PACT 2020 is a joint commitment to attain 20 sustainable ways to tackle these problems. Therefore, the Min-ranking individuals from the government and the private sec- Committee for Entrepreneurship and Finance was established objectives and meet concrete targets. Part of the strategy is an istry of Social Security and Labour (MOSL) and the Ministrytor including microfinance experts. Amongst its most promi- as successor of the Council for Microfinance. action plan for the promotion of entrepreneurship. Following of Finance (MoF) started to develop the Entrepreneurship Pro-nent members is Her Royal Highness Princess Máxima of the the consultation, the document was signed in 2009 by a large motion Fund in 2009. The aim of the programme is to promote number of stakeholders: the Flemish government, the employ- self-employment and entrepreneurship as a sustainable way ers’ organisations, the unions and the United Associations, an to keep people active in the business and labour market and umbrella organisation that represents hundreds of associations create more jobs. It focuses on disadvantaged target groups from civil society. (unemployed, disabled, young people under 29 and people over 50). The long-term target is to encourage a culture of self- employment and entrepreneurship in Lithuania.22 Community of practice on inclusive entrepreneurship Designing microfinance operations in the EU 23
  13. 13. 2.3. Conducting an ex-ante evaluation for the microloan scheme Another step in the decision process of In 2009 the German Ministry of Labour and Social Af- setting up a microfinance scheme as part fairs commissioned a study to assess the supply and of an inclusive entrepreneurship policy is demand by SMEs for loans and mezzanine capital up ex ante evaluation. Conducting an assess- to €20,000. This study was commissioned from the German ment of the market and client situation socio-economic research organisation FAST. It triggered the helps detect market failure, suboptimal establishment of the federal Mikrokreditfonds Deutschland investment situations and investment (Microcredit Fund Germany) scheme in January 2010. The needs. Such ex ante evaluation can be study first looked at the history of business start-ups by dis- done in house or carried out by contract- advantaged people and related support programmes, includ- ing external evaluators. Launching a call ing those funded by the ESF. It then presented the results of a for an external evaluation might be rela- demand assessment that built upon existing studies and sup- tively costly; however it guarantees an plemented them with new data. independent external view and provides The study came to the conclusion that despite existing busi- recommendations that overcome politi- ness support programmes access to small business loans in cal partiality. Germany was limited, especially for start-ups. Moreover, the authors stated that this trend was worsening owing to the economic and financial crisis, while at the same time more un- employed persons would wish to start a business. The study therefore recommended a decisive increase in the supply of microcredit as well as the creation of a source of mezzanine finance for this target group. It proposed a product framework for a potential supply of microcredit and mezzanine loans as well as a business model for its implementation (http://www. bmas.de/SharedDocs/Downloads/DE/studie-mikrokredit. pdf?__blob=publicationFile)24 Community of practice on inclusive entrepreneurship Designing microfinance operations in the EU 25
  14. 14. In 2010 the Lithuanian Ministry of Economy contract- ship. In contrast, the microfinance programme is directed to a Where a similar programme has already microfinance mandates (http://www. ed the study Evaluation of the relevance of the Lithu- wider group of beneficiaries to reach all the people interested been run in the former programming eif.org/news_centre/publications/EIF_ anian legal and financial framework for the establish- in entrepreneurship. period, its results can be used as indi- Working_Paper_2012_13.htm). Moreo-ment and implementation of financial engineering measures for SME The region evaluated the potential social impact and economic cators to design the new programme. ver, the EIF commissioned eight countrydevelopment funded from the EU Structural Funds. It was carried and growth effects of using financial instruments or tools like This is a less precise, but also less costly studies on microfinance demand andout by three firms: PricewaterhouseCoopers, ESTEP and the microloans. These results were taken up to design the micro- method and seems rational if the new supply by banks and non-banks in thelaw firm Tark Grunte Sutkiene. The study concludes that most loan programme. The main goals are: to discourage the brain programme builds upon the former framework of the JEREMIE and JAS-of the financial engineering instruments, credit guarantees and drain and support entrepreneurship despite the financial crisis one. This was the case in Latvia, where MINE programmes in 2008 and 2009loans are available for small and medium businesses in the ear- and to encourage and favour start-ups and new investment an ESF-cofinanced loan programme run (Bulgaria, Czech Republic, France, Ger-ly stages of their activities. However, because the risk is greater, programmes for people with difficult access to credit, such as by LMBL that was closed in March 2008 many, Romania, Spain, the Netherlandsit is more difficult for them to obtain funding than it is for busi- the unemployed, handicapped people, ex-prisoners and inva- highlighted the high demand by start- and the UK). The studies revealed a di-nesses with a longer operating history and larger businesses. lids. ups for loans, grants and training. versity of approaches, methodologies, Additionally, when designing a microfi- instruments and institutions engaged The Basilicata region in Italy set up its microloan In Calabria (Italy), an empirical verification of ini- nance programme, it is useful to consult in providing as well as facilitating ac- programme in the framework of the 2007-2013 ESF tiatives to promote microcredit was carried out, in or- existing studies on microfinance that cess to financial services to underserved Basilicata OP after an analysis of the economic situa- der to acquire knowledge about the architecture and have been carried out on an EU-wide entrepreneurs, microenterprises andtion in Basilicata. This analysis showed that the economic and performance of operational and financial programmes. In the level. For instance, the European Micro- individuals. They show concern aboutfinancial problems of local enterprises are due to difficulties in course of this empirical testing as well as through meetings, finance Network (EMN) carries out its the fast-growing consumer-lending mar-accessing credit and subsequent undercapitalisation of micro- a business model was developed to optimise the microcredit Survey about the Microcredit Sector in ket. Moreover, they highlight the lack ofenterprises. Moreover, the region is characterised by net out- supply chain and reduce inefficiencies. In the preparation of the EU every two years (http://www. statistical data about microcredit on themigration, above all of graduates resulting in a loss of intel- the model, special attention was given to the identification of european-microfinance.org/etudes-sec- national level, especially from banks.lectual capital (“brain drain”). Although instruments for the the tasks and responsibilities of each person involved in the torielles_en.php). The European Invest- (http://www.european-microfinance.setting-up of enterprises already existed, such as the provision chain, including ministry, fund manager and financial interme- ment Fund (EIF) drafts Working Papers org/etudes-sectorielles_en.php)of a grant to new enterprises financed by Invitalia (the national diaries, in order to avoid overlapping functions and duplicated about microfinance in Europe such as theagency for inward investment and enterprise development), activities, thus minimising costs. January 2012 paper that gives an over-they were only partially directed to inclusive entrepreneur- view of the market and presents EIF’s26 Community of practice on inclusive entrepreneurship Designing microfinance operations in the EU 27
  15. 15. 2.4 Formulating an integrated strategy for inclusive entrepre neurship/access to European Progress Microfinance Facil- 2.4.1 Microfinance under ESF ity. These programmes have experienced To complement these broad initiatives long learning in Europe, in line with the finance for all significant take-up in the Member States. aimed at serving market needs, more revised Lisbon Strategy and the Integrat- The results of such studies lay the basis For instance financial intermediaries use targeted regional and national support ed Guidelines for Growth and Jobs. for designing an appropriate national or the CIP microcredit guarantee window in can be made available through the use As part of the political decision-making regional microfinance scheme. For this Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Ireland and of financial engineering instruments un- process for the Structural Funds, Manag- purpose, EU funding can be used. In the Spain (see: http://www.access2finance. der the EU Structural Funds (ESF and ing Authorities are asked to hand in, in Europe 2020 strategy entrepreneurship is eu/). JEREMIE funds for microfinance ERDF), through a direct contribution or April of each year, their National Reform seen as a key element in achieving smart, were set up in Greece, Malta and two by using the JEREMIE initiative.9 While Programmes (NRPs), the National Stra- sustainable and inclusive growth. The EC French regions. And Progress Microfi- ERDF resources are primarily used for tegic Reference Frameworks (NSRFs) therefore encourages Member States to nance is already used by 12 intermediar- support to enterprises (mainly SMEs), ur- and the related operational programmes put measures in place that promote en- ies in nine European countries ban development and regeneration, en- (OPs). In these documents, the Member trepreneurship and self-employment and (http://www.eif.org/what_we_do/mi- ergy efficiency and the use of renewable States explain how they plan to translate foster access to finance. At the European crofinance/progress/Progress_interme- energy in buildings, ESF is used to sup- the targets and policy priorities estab- level, various programmes exist to fill diaries.htm). In the new funding period port self-employment, business start-ups lished at European level into their own the gap and support access to finance for 2014-2020 these different microfinance and micro-enterprises. More generally, national policies. The National Reform small business. These programmes are programmes will be streamlined under the ESF aims at increasing employment, Programmes (NRPs) are an important aimed at banks or MFIs that can disburse Progress Microfinance to avoid overlap- fostering entrepreneurship, enhancing instrument in the implementation of the loans themselves: the CIP Microcredit ping, in the framework of the EU Pro- inclusion and ensuring mobility and life- Europe 2020 strategy. Guarantee Window, the JASMINE pro- gramme for Social Change and Innova- grammes, the EPPA8 programme and the tion (PSCI). 8 JEREMIE (Joint European Resources for Micro to Medium Enterprises); JASMINE (Joint Action to Support Microfinance Institutions in Europe); EPPA (European Parliament Preparatory Action) 9 Under JEREMIE, the Member States and regions have the possibility to place part of their EU-allocated structural funds in a dedicated Holding Fund (HF) which acts as “fund of funds” or “umbrella fund”. The HF is governed by an Investment Board and may be managed directly by the EIF or by national institutions selected through public procurement. This is formalised through a “Funding Agreement” between the managing authority and the selected HF.28 Community of practice on inclusive entrepreneurship Designing microfinance operations in the EU 29
  16. 16. In several EU countries and regions,Managing Authorities have already im-plemented microcredit schemes in linewith the respective ESF operational pro-grammes. In Latvia the Support to Self-employment and Business In the Italian region of Sardinia, the Fondo Micro- Instruments co-financed by European loan processing and the actors involved. set the strategy for the fund and ensure Start-ups programme is implemented under the ESF credito was set up on 4 Dec 2009 with a sum of €30m Structural Funds fall under the responsi- In order to implement and run a success- that its objectives are met (see also 2.10 Human resources and employment OP, 3rd priority from ESF Priority Axis 3, later topped up by another bility of the relevant Managing Author- ful microfinance scheme the government – Monitoring and evaluation arrange-Promotion of Employment and Health at Work. Under the €20m. The programme objective is to improve access to the ity (MA). MAs operate on a national or needs to bring together comprehensive ments, performance and results indica-Employment measure the aim is to enhance the competitive- labour market, create jobs and support SMEs and self-employ- regional level e.g. a national ministry of expertise from the political, technical, tors).ness of people of economically active age on the labour market, ment. The scheme was established because economic analysis employment or a regional governmental regulatory and risk-related areas.through the promotion of self-employment and business start- showed that unemployment was high, especially among wom- body. When a microfinance scheme is set To align all actors with the objective of anups. The programme provides start-up loans of up to €76,830 en, and credit availability was more limited than elsewhere in up, however, different ministries beside initiative and bundle existing competen-for investment and working capital, with a duration of up to Italy. Moreover, several pilot projects had proven that there the Managing Authority need to collabo- cies together, most countries have decid-eight years. These loans can be coupled with grants. Along was a demand for microcredit. The programme makes loans rate. The ministries each have clear and ed to set up a taskforce or steering com-with them, training is provided to the entrepreneurs. to enterprises (not to individuals) of up to €25,000 in a number different responsibilities and perform mittee to prepare the setting up of the of priority areas, such as retail, manufacturing, social and per- their tasks under different political per- fund. Such a committee binds stakehold- sonal services, tourism and ICT. spectives (and sometimes different regu- ers at government level (in one ministry lations). It is therefore necessary to bind or stretching over several ministries), as together the unique competencies of dif- well as the other actors involved. This ferent government entities and to merge has proven to be an effective way of their different habits and attitudes. More- streamlining different views, bundling over, microfinance is embedded in sepa- skills and thus bringing forward policy rate national legal frameworks for credit implementation. services, consumer protection, tax, etc. After the setting up of the microfinance Legal regulation and restrictions have fund, a steering or monitoring commit- a fundamental impact on the design of tee is formed that meets regularly to30 Community of practice on inclusive entrepreneurship Designing microfinance operations in the EU 31
  17. 17. In Greece the ministries involved in the setting up of In Lombardy, several actors are involved in the JER- In Lithuania, three institutions, namely the Ministry of In Sardinia, the Managing Authority of the Fondo Mi- the loan fund for social enterprises are the Ministry of EMIE microfinance fund aimed at strengthening the Finance, the Ministry of Social Security and Labour crocredito set up in December 2009 is the regional La- Labour and Social Security and the Ministry of Econ- cooperative sector. Beside the ESF Managing Au- and the state-owned guarantee institution INVEGA bour Ministry. In cooperation with its Support Officeomy in close collaboration with the Employment DG of the thority, these are: Finlombarda (the in-house financial com- were involved in setting up the Entrepreneurship Promotion it coordinates the Fund’s actions, approves the most importantEuropean Commission. The Ministry of Labour is in charge of pany charged with managing the fund), other regional DGs Fund. During the design phase there were a lot of discussions documents for the implementation of the Fund, approves or re-the registration of social economy enterprises and the funding that have competencies in the field of the cooperative system with social partners (Ministry of Economy, financial institu- jects proposals and nominates the members of the Investmentof the Social Economy Fund (through the ESF) and the Minis- (DG Family Integration and Social Solidarity and DG Indus- tions and NGOs). A steering group consisted of delegates from Committee and Technical Office; it also verifies compliancetry of Economy is overseeing one of the candidate bodies for try, Craft, Building and Cooperation), financial intermediaries the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Social Security and La- with Art 60 of Reg (CE) no. 1083/2006, detailing the functionsadministration of the Social Economy Fund. The Ministry of and cooperatives and the Ministry of Welfare (as cofinancing bour and the guarantee institution INVEGA. of the Managing Authority of the Structural Funds.Labour has set up a task force for Social Inclusion and Social body). All these organisations (except the ministry) were in- In the fund, the Ministry of Finance is the Managing AuthorityEconomy which is running the project. volved in informal meetings and in the monitoring commit- and responsible for all financial issues; it supervises the select- tee, in order to verify the technical, economic and procedural ed fund holder, INVEGA, and a related ERDF-financed guar- sustainability of the intervention. After the setting-up phase, a antee scheme for SMEs. In contrast, the Ministry of Social Se- steering committee was established, charged with ensuring the curity and Labour (Implementing Authority) is responsible for correct and effective management of the initiative. The coordi- the practical implementation of services. Loans are provided nation has been fruitful: for instance, at the beginning, the pri- through LCCU, the federal organisation of Lithuanian Credit vate banks were reluctant to deal with disadvantaged people, Unions, which were selected as microfinance intermediaries. but after the coordination meetings, they fell into line.32 Community of practice on inclusive entrepreneurship Designing microfinance operations in the EU 33
  18. 18. 2.4.2 Time period for fund implementation Once the decision about the setting up of 1. Description of situation Submission of the business plan is fol- the fund has been taken and the involve- 2. Goals and targets lowed by information and negotiation ment of the main actors settled, a busi- 3. Tasks necessary to reach the targets between national/regional MAs and re- ness plan needs to be prepared including 4. Activities to complete the tasks sponsible EU authorities. Several factors the financial framework (EU funding / 4.1. Separation of accounting blocks influence the length of this process. As national or regional cofunding), stake- 4.2. Identification of human the Latvian experience below shows, the holders, tasks and processes, quality and resources existence of previous pilot projects, and quantity targets and indicators of the mi- 4.3. Structure of support department thus of knowledge of actors that could be croloan fund concerning loan disburse- 4.4. Chart of project management involved and their roles, facilitates and ment, beneficiaries (e.g. ESF priority and decision-taking process speeds up the process of setting up the groups), loan conditions, processing and 5. Loan products fund. exit strategies. 6. Loan conditions In Latvia, the business plan for the mi- 7. Criteria for receiving the loan croloan fund included the following in- 8. Lending process and formation: decision-making process 9. Risk management 10. Marketing activities 11. Loan fund operations 12. Indicators 13. Forecast cash flow34 Community of practice on inclusive entrepreneurship Designing microfinance operations in the EU 35
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