The European Investment Fund (EIF) and the Cooperative Bank of Karditsa have signed the first guarantee agreement aimed at supporting micro-enterprises in Greece under the EU Programme for Employment and Social Innovation (EaSI).
This new EaSI guarantee agreement with the Cooperative Bank of Karditsa will cover a loan portfolio of EUR 5 million for over 300 micro-borrowers targeting mainly farmers, young unemployed borrowers, cooperatives and social enterprises, as well as micro businesses active in the green economy. The EaSI Guarantee scheme was launched in June 2015 and is funded by the European Commission and managed by the EIF.
Marianne Thyssen, Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility, said: “Unlocking investments in the Greek economy is key to create jobs. I warmly welcome today’s agreement with the Cooperative Bank of Karditsa which will give 300 micro entrepreneurs, including social enterprises, the opportunity to benefit from €5 million loans to create their own jobs and develop their business. The European Commission remains fully committed to creating inclusive growth in Europe“
EIF Chief Executive, Pier Luigi Gilibert said: “I am delighted that we are signing our first EaSI microfinance agreement in Greece. The guarantee for the Cooperative Bank of Karditsa will not only help the bank to provide more finance to Greek micro-entrepreneurs but additional services including mentoring and networking will help companies to grow. ”
The Cooperative Bank of Karditsa’s President, Georgios Boukis said: ”It is a great honour for us being the first bank in Greece to sign this guarantee agreement with the EIF, and is also an important recognition for both the Cooperative Bank of Karditsa and the role of Cooperative Banks in Greece. We are confident that today’s agreement will be the beginning of a jointly fruitful cooperation for the common benefit of local development and the Greek Economy.”
Micro-enterprises wishing to apply for a micro-loan under EaSI can directly contact the Cooperative Bank of Karditsa branches in Greece.
EIF does not provide direct financial support to enterprises but implements the facility through local financial intermediaries, such as microfinance, social finance and guarantee institutions, as well as banks active across the EU-28 and additional countries that are participating in the EaSI programme. These intermediaries will deal with interested parties directly to provide support under the EaSI Guarantee.
EIF: David Yormesor, tel: +352 42 66 88 346, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Cooperative Bank of Karditsa: Olga LOIA, tel: +30 2441080881, e-mail:email@example.com
EU Commission: Christian WIGAND +32 2 296 22 53, Tove ERNST +32 2 298 67 64