UPDATE: The application period for the Business Development Services (BDS) pilot under the EaSI Guarantee Initiative has extended until 30 June 2021.
One of the key objectives of the EaSI programme is to stimulate the financial and social inclusion of borrowers wishing to set-up or develop their micro-enterprises and who may have limited or no access to the conventional credit market. To this end, under the EaSI Microfinance Guarantee, the offering of non-financial support in the form of business development services (“BDS”) as a complement to the microloan disbursed to micro-borrowers and micro-enterprises, is an important requirement for selected intermediaries.
As part of the EaSI programme, the EU has launched a €1 million pilot, the Business Development Services Pilot (the “BDS Pilot” or the “Pilot”), to further strengthen the provision of BDS to refugees and migrants and therefore contribute to their financial and social inclusion. The objective is to provide partial coverage for the costs incurred by intermediaries when providing such services, with the aim to boost entrepreneurship amongst these vulnerable groups that are often confronted with a challenging environment when setting up and developing a business in a different country than their country of origin (language barriers, administrative burden, lack of knowledge of local legislation, etc.).