On 26 October 2018, microfinance providers in Europe received additional support of EUR 25 million from the first capacity building agreement in Europe signed between the European Investment Fund (EIF) and the Helenos Fund. With a targeted investment capacity of EUR 25 million for equity and quasi-equity investments Helenos will in turn support around 25 microfinance institutions (MFIs) and social finance providers across Europe over the next five years.
The announcement was made on the occasion of the European Microfinance Day closing event, in Brussels, supported by the European Investment Bank (EIB) Group (EIB, EIF, EIB Institute).
Helenos, the first private equity fund for inclusive finance in Europe, supports the growth of promising greenfield, small and medium-sized financial institutions targeting micro and social enterprises. Its main objective is to improve access to tailored financial services for entrepreneurs, to create jobs and improve their well-being. Under the EU-supported programme those financial intermediaries will benefit from expansion capital to support organisational and operational development.
The agreement was signed under the EU Programme for Employment and Social Innovation (EaSI) to support microfinance providers across Europe and was made possible by the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), the heart of the Investment Plan for Europe.
The European Microfinance Day is an initiative launched in 2015 by the European Microfinance Network and the Microfinance Centre to highlight the impact of the microfinance sector in Europe from a social and economic perspective. In 2017 the sector achieved an outstanding gross microloan portfolio of EUR 3.2 billion and served 988 457 active borrowers, according to Microfinance in Europe: Survey Report 2016-2017, EMN-MFC, 2018.
The EIB Institute and EIB Group have backed the European Microfinance Day since its first edition and have consistently supported the annual conferences of the European Microfinance Network and Microfinance Centre since 2015.