Immigrants and ethnic minorities are increasingly identified as one of the target groups of microfinance programmes in Europe. Such programmes need to develop strategies to address these groups’ specific needs and to offer adequate products.
A first project, “Making Strength Meet Demand”,
was carried out between June 2005 and December 2006
as lead agency in partnership with 6 European Microfinance Institutions.
The project focused on increasing capacity to provide microloans and other pre and post loan services, by gaining a better knowledge of the environment of immigrant entrepreneurs, understanding their needs in terms of business support, and identifying good practices in access to finance and business support.
Each of the participating agencies studied immigrant business creation and self-employment in their country, business development services for immigrants, access to finance for immigrant entrepreneurs. The findings are described in project partners’ national reports
, and summarised in the transnational handbook “Nurturing Immigrant Entrepreneurship”
was developed on intercultural issues for microfinance practitioners and business support practitioners. Results were disseminated at national level through the reports and through national workshops, conferences, seminars,
and at transnational level at the Oslo conference on "Microfinance and the Added Value of Multiculturality"
on the 9th and 10th of November, 2006.
Project funding came from the European DG Justice, Security and Freedom INTI programme for preparatory actions promoting the integration in EU member states of people who are not citizens of the EU. In addition to EMN, the participating agencies were :