The first annual European Microfinance Day gets launched today 20th October 2015! This day aims to raise awareness of microfinance as a tool to fight social exclusion and unemployment in Europe.
Microfinance, and microcredit, has not only developed in Africa, Latin America or Asia but also in Europe. Many small businesses and families across Europe lack access to financial services in spite of the existence of a dense and competent banking network.
Microfinance organisations in in Europe supported over 390,000 people and businesses and created at least 250,000 last year with funding provided of EUR1.5bn. This helps to stimulate local economies and contributes to the generation of tax revenues.
Introduced in Central and Eastern Europe after the fall of the Berlin Wall, microcredit is already represented there by a dynamic sector. With the formal banking system unable to respond to emerging needs, microcredit has proved capable of filling the gap by providing transitional support for people needing to enhance their own livelihoods.
In Western Europe, the sector’s growth has been more limited. However, micro, small and medium enterprises form the core of the Western European economic system making up 99.7% of active enterprises within the EU-27 accounting for 90 million persons, among which 92% were micro-enterprises (fewer than 10 employees). Consequently, the ability of the banking system to reach and serve these is crucial to the achievement of general socio-economic improvement in Western European countries such as the UK.
In the UK, Fair Business Loans is a leading microfinance provider supporting the growth of micro and small businesses across the United Kingdom.
Rob Benfield, Head of Fair Business Loans welcomed the European Microfinance Day initiative: “Raising of the profile of microfinance in Europe and the UK is long overdue. Fair Business loans along with over 450 organisations in other countries across Europe have been providing microfinance for many years to thousands of businesses, but often there is a lack of awareness around the type of services we provide and the social outcomes they provide. The use of microfinance as a tool to fight against financial exclusion is required just as much in Europe as it is worldwide.
Fair Business Loans are delighted to be supporting this new campaign, and continues to work hard towards its vision of ensuring that all SME’s in the UK have the chance to access the funding that they need. To find out more about European Microfinance Day and other initiatives from the European Microfinance Network (EMN), visit the official EMN website.
About the European Microfinance Network:
The EMN was launched in 2003 by its founding members (Adie – France, NEF – UK and evers&jung – Germany), and with the valuable support of the European Commission and the French Caisse des Depots et Consignations (CDC). EMN was officially registered in Paris on 23rd May 2003 and was then established as a Non-Governmental Organisation. Since December 2012, EMN has legally transferred its activities from France to Belgium. Under Belgian law, EMN constitutes an aisbl (‘association international sans but lucratif’ or ‘international non-profit association’). The association is governed by the provisions of Title III of Belgian Law of 27 June 1921 on non-profit associations, international non-profit associations and foundations (articles 46 to 57). The creation of the European Microfinance Network has proved to be an essential step in the promotion of microfinance in the European Union, assisting the fight against social and financial exclusion. EMN has been active in supporting microenterprises and self-employment, through its Members, in lobbying activities at EU level and in raising awareness of the need to build European legislative and regulatory frameworks that foster a sound microfinance market.
About the Microfinance Centre:
The Microfinance Centre is a regional microfinance resource centre and network. It brings together 103 organisations (including 78 MFIs) in 27 countries of Central Europe and Asia, who serve over 800,000 low-income clients. Our mission is to contribute to poverty reduction and the development of human potential by promoting a socially-oriented and sustainable microfinance sector that provides adequate financial and non-financial services to a large number of poor families and micro-entrepreneurs. To achieve its mission, the MFC promotes balanced MFI performance, creating informed and capable financial consumers, and building strong institutions. Read more about our programs.