The Institute complements the activities of the European Investment Bank Group (EIB and EIF) in the area of microfinance through its Knowledge and Social Programmes. Under these two programmes, instruments -mainly grants and sponsorships- are available to promote conferences and other initiatives and to support higher education and research enabling the development of microfinance in Europe and beyond.
Microfinance has been the theme of several EIBI research grants under the EIBURS and STAREBEI programmes. An ongoing EIBURS 2014 on “the impact of microfinance on financial and social inclusion” is being carried out by the Geary Institute, University College Dublin, Ireland. In previous years, the Institute financed research by the IESE University of Navarra on “measuring impact beyond financial return”, and by the Université Paris 1 on “the rising of credit risk in microcredit: origins, warning signals, current state and future prospects”.
The Institute is also supporting other initiatives such as University Meets Microfinance (UMM), a European project initiated by PlaNet Finance and Freie Universität Berlin, and carried out under the umbrella of the European Microfinance Platform. UMM fosters cooperation between universities, students in Europe and microfinance practitioners to contribute to microfinance innovation and education for development. More than 5 350 students, academics and practitioners have benefited from UMM activities so far.
In 2015, the Institute organised in Brussels a workshop on regulation and laws for microfinance in the EU on the occasion of the first European Microfinance Day (EMD) sponsored by the EIB Group. We also sponsored the 12th European Microfinance Network Conference in Dublin and the 18th Microfinance Centre Conference in Prague.