The European Commission published today its Social Economy Action Plan, a comprehensive set of measures aimed at improving social investment, supporting social economy organisations and social enterprises to start-up and scale their activities and their social impact, to innovate and create jobs.
Among the actions outlined by the Commission, new financial instruments will be launched to further develop microfinance such as guarantees, equity and quasi-equity, capital investment, and advisory support. Moreover, the Action Plan foresees a support to EU networks that are “active in the areas of microfinance and social enterprise finance”, to improve signposting to EU funding, research, and the capacity of their members.
While the specifics will be known and analysed over the coming weeks and months, European policymakers reaffirm with this Plan the key position of microfinance in the social economy landscape and the central role it is destined to play in the overarching fight for financial and social inclusion.
In addition, the OECD recently published The Missing Entrepreneurs 2021, a key publication in which it estimates that 9 million people in Europe are prevented from accessing entrepreneurship. Women, immigrants, youth, seniors, people at the very core of European MFIs' mission are these 9 million people. It comes therefore as no surprise that microfinance was highlighted as "an important tool for addressing finance gaps for inclusive entrepreneurship", and that the OECD is unequivocally calling on European States to strongly support the microfinance sector.
"These recent developments create a strong momentum for the social economy ecosystem in general, and our sector in particular", says EMN President Laure Coussirat-Coustère, "Thanks to its long-standing and constructive relationship with European policymakers and its involvement in all the relevant expert groups, EMN was able to make the voice of microfinance heard where it counts".