While microfinance is well known in Africa, Asia and Latin America, over the last 15 years it has grown across Europe, helping to fill the gap for people who remain unbanked and/or excluded from mainstream finance. In 2014 alone over 390,000 businesses were supported and over EUR1.5bn of funding advanced to create nearly 250,000 jobs across Europe.
Fair Finance is the UK’s leading microfinance organisation providing personal and business loans as well as advice to help those facing financial exclusion in London and across the United Kingdom. It is an award winning social business that has shown how finance can be used to responsibly and ethically serve the most excluded.
Faisel Rahman, CEO of Fair Finance said: “We are pleased to be leading the celebrations of the first European Microfinance Day in the UK. We can see the impact that small amounts of finance and trusted advice can have in keeping people away from high cost lenders, or to help grow their business. Over the last 10 years we’ve supported tens of thousands of small businesses and individuals struggling to access finance across London and the UK and have seen demand continue to increase.”
Syed Kamall MEP for London said: “Access to credit is fundamental to small and growing businesses, and vital to a thriving economy like London. Fair Finance has shown how microfinance can be used to benefit even the most excluded parts of society, and ensure that the benefits of growth and wealth creation are shared by all”
Local business J-Go Training came to Fair Finance at a tricky time in their growth. Fair Finance was able to provide advice and finance when they needed it. “This Fair Finance loan has been crucial to our enterprise; it has helped us to bridge a predicted cash-flow gap. Thank you for supporting us in our hour of need, JGO will turn-over £200,000 + this year and our prospects look very good.” Jonathan Hems, Managing Director, J-GO Training.
M. Sumar set up Kenton Autos in Harrow. He saw an opportunity to expand his business from just car body repairs to include tyre fitting but couldn’t convince his bank to help him. Fair Finance was able to lend him £5k and helped him create 5 new jobs in the area.
Microfinance has been seen across Europe as a tool for not just challenging social and financial exclusion but also for job creation and poverty alleviation. Over 90% of all enterprises are defined as small, medium or micro and many continue to struggle in accessing finance. In the UK alone this is estimated as a gap of over £2bn annually.
Today over 450 microfinance organisations across Europe and their clients will be celebrating European Microfinance Day to raise awareness of the service and the social outcomes they provide to local businesses and people. Queen Mathilde, Her Majesty the Queen of the Belgians, will lead the official launch in Brussels. --- END
Contact: Rob Benfield: 0203 475 4720 for more information or case studies
Notes to editors:
1. About Fair Finance
Fair Finance is an award winning and fast growing social business tackling financial exclusion in London and across the UK. We compete directly with usurious and predatory lenders through personal and business loans, offers people advice and support to manage their finances sustainably. We also campaign for change and are recognised as one of the most high impact community finance organisations in the UK. Over the last 10 years we have helped over 20,000 people avoid the clutches of high cost lenders such as doorstep lenders, payday lender and loan sharks. We helped grow businesses across London and saved thousands from eviction with timely debt advice In 2014 we were awarded a Big Society Award by the Prime Minister and won the Lender of Year Award from Credit Today. Fair Finance’s founder Faisel Rahman has been honoured with an OBE for services to Community Finance.
2. About Syed Kamal MEP for London
Syed Kamall was elected a Member of the European Parliament representing London in 2005, and since 2013 has been Leader of the Conservatives in the European Parliament. In June 2014, he became Chairman of the European Conservatives and Reformists in the European Parliament.
3. About the European Microfinance Network (EMN)
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.
4. About the Micro-Finance Centre (MFC)
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.
5. About the European Microfinance Day
The 1st European Microfinance Day (EMD), 20th October 2015, aims at raising awareness of microfinance as a tool to fight social exclusion and unemployment in Europe. A central European event will be held in Brussels and a multitude of workshops, debates, expositions, meetings, etc. will take place at local level all across the EU-28, in collaboration with the members of both networks.
The European Microfinance Day will be inaugurated with a high level opening session on the 19th October 2015 addressed to European economic and political decision-makers from the European institutions