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European Fund for Strategic Investments




Social service providers are increasingly needing loans to finance some of their investment projects; be it building new infrastructure, training staff or testing innovation. Many however struggle to access such loans at a decent rate.

The European Union is playing an increasingly important role in facilitating access to private financing for Small and Medium-sized Entreprises (SMEs) and other organisations. This type of private financing includes different forms of loans, guarantees, equity, venture capital, etc.

Private financing differs from funding insofar as they include the obligation to re-pay the financial support to the investor, in one way or another. Funding on the other hand should be understood as in the forms of grants, usually by public authorities or philanthropists, which do not require re-imbursement.

Perhaps the most famous instrument developed by the European Union to facilitate access to loans is the European Fund for Strategic Investments. The Fund works through three main angles:

  • The EaSI Guarantee programme which facilitates access to loans of up to €500,000 for social entreprises; through selected financial intermediaries (micro-finance banks or social entreprise investors)
  • The SME Window for access to loans of under €25 million, which is done primarily through financial intermediaries (by banks and other private investors)
  • The Infrastructure and Innovation Window for access to loans of over €25 million, which is done directly through the European Investment Bank

More information on these instruments can be found in the links below.

In 2017, EASPD will actively work to open up such instruments for the social sector at national level, through for instance:

  • National Events in six countries and a European Conference
  • An online toolkit aiming to provide a one-stop-shop for all social service providers and investors for when it comes to facilitating access to loans for the social sector.

For more information, see documents below. For more precise questions, please contact EASPD staff with details found below.


Useful documents
  1. The Structure and Functioning of the EFSI: how social service providers could access EFSI funding (2015)
  2. The Structure and Functioning of the EFSI: how financial intermediaries could access EFSI funding (2015)
  3. Promoting the use of EFSI among banking networks as a tool to ease access to credit for social service providers (2015)
  4. The concerns and main barriers on the access to instruments funded by the EFSI and more in general on the financing of social service providers (2015)
  5. Recommendations on what the European Commission can do to promote the uptake of EFSI by social service providers (2015)