Juncker Plan: European Investment Fund and Erste Group

The European Investment Fund (EIF) and all seven Erste Group member banks have signed a Social Entrepreneurship guarantee agreement to provide finance for social organisations under the EU Programme for Employment and Social Innovation (EaSI).

This new guarantee agreement allows Erste Group’s network of local banks to provide a total of €50 million in loans to at least 500 social organisations over the next five years in Austria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania, Slovakia and Serbia. This new financing agreement was made possible by the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), the core of the Investment Plan for Europe. The Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility, Marianne Thyssen, said: “The European Commission is fully committed to promoting inclusive entrepreneurship as part of the fight against social and financial exclusion. I therefore warmly welcome today’s agreement with Erste Group, which will support some 500 social enterprises in Austria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Romania, Slovakia, Serbia and lastly Hungary, where it is even the first agreement of its kind. Thanks to this agreement, social enterprises will get support in starting up and developing their business, thereby creating jobs and inclusive growth at the grass-roots level.” Social entrepreneurs and non-profit organisations will be able to benefit from loans at a reduced interest rate and with lower collateral requirements under the EU supported programme. The Group will provide financing to a vast range of social enterprise sectors, targeting innovative, socially-oriented organisations active in the area of education, health, social services or employment of disadvantaged, marginalized, or vulnerable groups.