Francisco de Paula Coelho, Dean of the EIB Institute, explained today how the EIB Group is strongly supporting the European microfinance sector during the opening of the European microfinance annual conference in Bilbao (Spain).

“The EIB Group has a long-lasting record in supporting microfinance through the activities of the EIB, the European Investment Fund (EIF) and the EIB Institute” he said. “ We support microfinance institutions, fund managers and other industry players because it is instrumental for growth, job creation, social and financial inclusion and sustainable development. These values are at the core of the mission of the EIB, the EU bank, which is celebrating this year its 60th anniversary”.

He underlined that “throughout the EU, 99% of all start-ups are micro or small enterprises and one third of those were launched by unemployed people,” adding that “since the launch of the European Progress Microfinance Facility in 2010 followed in 2015 by the European Commission programme for Employment and Social Innovation (EaSI), 100 000 micro and social enterprises have been supported creating or maintaining close to 200 000 jobs.”

“The European microfinance market is young and highly heterogeneous. But it is a growing market segment, notably in new Member States and some western countries”, he concluded.

The European microfinance annual conference, supported by the EIB Group, is taking place in Bilbao from 3 to 5 October on the theme “Advancing our social mission through technology”.