The European Investment Fund (EIF) and the Swedish loan market place and financial institution Ponture AB have signed a guarantee agreement that will bring financing to around 1,000 entrepreneurs and very small businesses in Sweden. The deal, with backing from the EU’s programme for Employment and Social Innovation (EaSI), will allow Ponture to provide up to SEK 145 million in new lending under favourable conditions to around 1,000 small companies in Sweden, focusing on businesses founded by women, young starters and people from migrant backgrounds. Under the agreement, the EaSI guarantee financial instrument covers up to 90% of Ponture’s lending, whose microloans are expected to have a positive effect on society. This is in line with the EaSI programme, which aims at supporting the EU’s objective of high level employment, adequate social protection, fighting against social exclusion and poverty, and improving working conditions. The agreement falls under the EaSI ‘Microfinance and Social Entrepreneurship’ axis for financial intermediaries that offer microloans to entrepreneurs and micro-enterprises or finance to social enterprises. Paolo Gentiloni, Commissioner for Economy said: “This European Investment Fund guarantee for Ponture will help around a thousand small businesses in Sweden to grow their activities. Today’s entrepreneurs are tomorrow’s job creators and they are key to Europe’s recovery and future prosperity. I particularly welcome the fact that this support is concentrated on businesses founded by women, young people and citizens with migrant backgrounds.” The press release as published by the EIF is available here.