EU starts micro-loans for women entrepreneurs in Lithuania

The European Investment Fund (EIF) and Šiaulių bank this week signed a EUR 5 million loan agreement aimed at supporting micro-enterpreneurs (including the self-employed) in Lithuania.

The Lithuanian bank will be encouraged to target women micro-borrowers, self-employed women or micro-enterprises being either owned by women or employing a majority of women – thus fostering women’s entrepreneurship in a country characterised by a lower access of women to financial services.

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This transaction was signed under the European Progress Microfinance Facility (Progress Microfinance), the EU microfinance initiative established with EUR 200 million of funding from the European Commission and the European Investment Bank. Promoting equal opportunities for women and men is one of the key social objectives of this initiative.

Managed by the European Investment Fund, Progress Microfinance aims to increase access to finance for micro-entrepreneurs, including the self-employed. It has a particular focus on, but is not restricted to, groups with limited access to the conventional credit market. Examples include female entrepreneurs, young entrepreneurs, entrepreneurs belonging to a minority group, entrepreneurs with a disability, sole traders, etc. Loans of up to EUR 25,000 (LTL 86,000) are made available through eligible intermediaries participating in the programme.

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