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Banca Valsabbina and EIF: EUR 10 million in support of social entrepreneurship under the EU’s EaSI programme

    Date: 21 May 2019
  • The European Investment Fund (EIB Group) will guarantee 80% of the loans provided by Banca Valsabbina, supporting up to 70 new lending activities with average financing amounts of around EUR 140 000.
  • The initiative is financed by the European Commission's Programme for Employment and Social Innovation (EaSI).

Banca Valsabbina and the European Investment Fund (EIF, part of the European Investment Bank Group) have signed a social entrepreneurship guarantee agreement worth EUR 10 million in Italy under the EU Programme for Employment and Social Innovation (EaSI). Social enterprises will benefit from loans up to EUR 500 000. The average financing amount will be around EUR 140 000, allowing Banca Valsabbina to support around 70 new projects.

The EU financing allows for the EIF to guarantee 80% of the loss on each loan up to an estimated maximum total loss for the entire portfolio. The funds are allocated from the budget of the European Commission's Programme for Employment and Social Innovation, a funding programme designed to promote a high level of quality and sustainable employment, to guarantee adequate and decent social protection, to combat social exclusion and poverty and to improve working conditions across Europe.

The EaSI Guarantee agreement will enable Banca Valsabbina to offer loans with smaller collaterals from the social enterprises when the loan request is being submitted and apply a lower interest rate on the sums disbursed. Social enterprises are defined as those that combine entrepreneurial activity with a social impact objective and do not focus solely on profit. This includes, for example, firms that provide goods or services to vulnerable people, and cooperatives that are active in the fields of social welfare, training, job placement, culture, sport or the environment.

EU Commissioner Marianne Thyssen, stated: “Thanks to EU funding under our EaSI programme, Banca Valsabbina will develop new lending activities worth EUR 10 million to finance social enterprises in Italy, many of whom face difficulties in accessing credit from traditional bank finance due to a perceived higher risk profile or insufficient collateral. Ensuring equal opportunities, inclusion, and access to labour markets by supporting social enterprises demonstrates our commitment to building a fairer Europe and strengthening its social dimension.”

 “We are convinced that the responsibility of a bank, particularly a regional bank, also involves supporting social enterprises in the not-for-profit sector”, said Tonino Fornari, General Manager of Banca Valsabbina. “We are delighted with this agreement as it will enable us to truly support these enterprises. It provides further evidence of the EIF’s confidence in Banca Valsabbina while at the same time confirming the strength and dynamism of our institution.”

The CEO of the EIF, Pier Luigi Gilibert, adds: “Companies with a social impact need to be able to access financing. In Banca Valsabbine, the EIF is happy to have a partner for the implementation of the EaSI programme, which aims to create quality employment opportunities in Europe. At this point in time, we believe that banks and companies alike need support, and it’s a good thing that Europe can support them in this way.”

The European Commission's Programme for Employment and Social Innovation ("EaSI") 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 microfinance and social entrepreneurship axis of the EaSI programme provides support to financial intermediaries that offer microloans to entrepreneurs or finance to social enterprises. The objective is to increase access to microfinance, which includes microcredit i.e. loans of up to EUR 25,000, in particular for vulnerable persons and micro-enterprises. In addition, for the first time, the European Commission is supporting social enterprises through investments of up to EUR 500,000. The microfinance and social entrepreneurship support is currently being implemented through the EaSI Guarantee, which enables financial intermediaries to reach out to (potential) entrepreneurs that would not have been able to gain finance otherwise due to risk considerations. It is also being implemented through the ‘EaSI Capacity Building Investments Window’ to reinforce the capacity of financial intermediaries in the areas of microfinance and social finance through equity investments mostly. The European Commission has selected EIF to implement the EaSI Guarantee and the EaSI Capacity Building Investments Window.

The European Investment Fund (EIF) is a financing institution that is part of the EIB (European Investment Bank) Group. Its main remit is to support micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Europe, facilitating their access to credit. The EIF defines and develops equity instruments, guarantees and microcredit  facilities tailored to the needs of this category of enterprises. In carrying out this role, the EIF is pursuing the EU’s objectives of innovation, research and development, entrepreneurship, growth and employment.

Banca Valsabbina is a public limited company that was founded in 1898. It is the main cooperative bank in Brescia and for more than 120 years it has supported the growth and economic development of the Brescia region, providing banking services to families, small businesses and SMEs. The bank operates via a regional network comprising 70 subsidiaries: 48 in the province of Brescia, eight in the province of Verona and 13 divided between Treviso, Trento, Vicenza, Mantua, Modena, Monza and Brianza, Bergamo, Milan, Padua, Bologna and Reggio Emilia. Banca Valsabbina has around 600 employees, EUR 8 billion of managed funds and a solid capital base, with CET1 in excess of 15%.

Press contacts:

Tim Smit
+352 691 286423 

Banca Valsabbina:
Mirandola Comunicazione
Marco Albanesi
+39 329 3987262

European Commission
Siobhán Millbright
+32 022 957 361


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