PROGRAM: European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and European Investment Fund (EIF)
Leader: Banca Popolare Etica
Partner: Microfinance,The Hub Sicily a.p.s., Consorzio Sol.Co. – Network of Sicilian social enterprises, The Ape – Agency for the promotion of social cooperation
MACRO-INTERVENTION AREA: Ethical finance
JEREMIE Sicily European Social Fund (ESF) Social Finance is a financial instrument activated by agreement between the European Investment Fund (EIF) and Banca Popolare Etica (BPE). It is part of the larger Joint European Resources for Micro to Medium Enterprises (JEREMIE) framework initiative launched by the European Commission and European Investment Bank (EIB) to improve access to finance for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
The project provides for the disbursement of funds destined for “social finance”, ie credit to small and medium-sized enterprises (social enterprises and cooperatives, as well as individual entrepreneurs), social problems (unemployment, reintegration, accessibility), as well as support for microcredit (including individual credit). The maximum loan is set at 100.000 EUR.
From the results of the project, Impact Hub Siracusa has published a publication with the OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development), included in the “Compendium on good practices – Boosting Social Enterprise Development” published by the OECD in 2017.
The instrument aims to support the expansion of two kinds of enterprises located in Italy’s Sicily region:
●● SMEs, including micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), operating with a social purpose
●● social enterprises: operators in the social economy whose main objective is achieving social impact, rather than maximizing profits for owners or shareholders.
JEREMIE Sicily supports the creation and development of SMEs and social enterprises promoting the economic empowerment of vulnerable worker categories by fostering access to, and sustainable inclusion in, the labor market through a microfinance scheme. The initiative comprises a complete system of integrated services, including fund provision, business development services, coaching and mentoring, business incubation programs, and education and training. It operates in Sicily, a territory characterized by the lowest employment rate (42.4%)3 of all European regions and the unstable financial situation of public institutions, as well as private and public bodies supporting entrepreneurship.
Managed by BPE, which acts as a financial intermediary and co-ordinator, the initiative draws on a combination of public-private funds to provide microloans. To minimize risks for both beneficiaries and the bank, the consortium has partnered with the “Microcredito Siciliano” guarantee fund to finance SMEs with lower credit ratings. The consortium partners are a diverse mix of financial and non-financial entities performing several fundamental activities: engaging with territorial hubs, co-working and incubation spaces; promoting the initiative within local and regional networks of enterprises, industries and professional associations; and providing funds and non-financial services to support beneficiaries’ sustainable and ethical growth.
ROLE IN THE PROJECT:
Partners, Business support, Business plan editing, credit access services