This EU-wide initiative will allocate various European funds to the Dutch Microfinance Institution Qredits (www.qredits.nl) to facilitate loans of over EUR 20 million (Rs 125 Crore approximately) to small businesses and people in the Netherlands who have lost their jobs and want to set up their own company.
Microfinance in European Union
Access to credit is a major concern for many EU companies, in particular for Small and Medium Entreprises (SMEs) and for entrepreneurs who want to start their own business or get new projects off the ground. That is why the Commission has, jointly with the European Investment Fund (EIF), launched the first EU microfinance project in the Netherlands. As part of the EU’s Europe 2020 strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth, the EU Microfinance Facility is one of the concrete actions taken at European level to address the consequences of the crisis.
At the launch event, the Chief Executive of the EIF, Richard Pelly, and Managing Director of Qredits, Elwin Groenevelt signed a guarantee agreement and loan deal which will facilitate the provision of the EUR 20 million loan, through Qredits, to micro-entrepreneurs in the Netherlands. Qredits hopes to extend support under EUR 25,000 to over 1,000 small businesses, many of whom are higher risk borrowers and often face difficulties in accessing credit from traditional banking sources.
Commissioner László Andor, Princess Maximá of the Netherlands and Dutch Deputy Prime Minister Maxime Verhagen attended the event.
Microcredit in Europe
Micro-credit in the EU means loans under €25,000 (Rs 15 Lakh approximately). It is tailored to micro-enterprises, employing fewer than 10 people (91% of all European businesses), and unemployed or inactive people who want to go into self-employment but do not have access to traditional banking services. 99% of start-ups in Europe are micro or small enterprises and one third of these are launched by people who are unemployed.