How can access to funding for socially driven organisations in Portugal be improved? By training bankers on the specific needs of the sector.

This solution – identified in a September 2017 roundtable concerning an EIB Institute-commissioned report – is being implemented between 6 and 28 June through a series of eight one-day seminars in several cities in Portugal provided by MAZE and supported by the Institute.

Through a mix of theory and case studies delivered through webinars, branch, business accounts and credit managers in particular will learn about a sector that is undercapitalised and finds it difficult to access funding. On the other hand, banks do not see market potential in this segment and therefore do not devise financial products that meet its needs. The training course will help reconcile these two worlds.

One of the seminars (27 June, in Lisbon) will be dedicated to the Venture Capital and Business Angel community, offering a unique opportunity to bring this sector closer to Impact Investing. The Head of the EIB Group’s office in Lisbon, Kim Kreilgaard, will give a presentation on EIB/EIF-related instruments that can be leveraged by this sector, namely the Programme for Employment and Social Innovation (EaSI). Additionally, he will participate in a panel on “Can Portugal Become Europe’s Hub for Social Tech and Impact Investing?”.

The Institute supports social innovation and social entrepreneurs working to create societal impact throughout Europe. To foster regional development through social innovation, the Institute and other partners also launched the first Regional Social Innovation Incubator, IRIS, in Amarante, northern Portugal, last year.