The Employment and Social Innovation (EaSI) programme is an EU-level finance instrument to promote high quality and sustainable employment, guaranteeing social protection, preventing social exclusion and poverty, and improving working conditions.
As part of the EaSI programme, the EaSI Guarantee Instrument supports social and micro-enterprises:
- Micro enterprises and micro borrowers qualify for guaranteed micro-loans of up to EUR 25,000.
- Social enterprises qualify for a variety of guaranteed debt products of up to EUR 500,000.
These enterprises are indirectly supported by the EaSI Guarantee instrument. This means that guarantees are offered to financial intermediaries, ensuring them risk protection when investing in these higher-risk enterprises.
All financial instruments in the EaSI programme together had an indicative envelope of EUR 193 million for the period of 2014-2020. EUR 96 million of this budget was dedicated to the EaSI Guarantee Instrument.
Post 2020 – InvestEU Programme
The new InvestEU Programme, implemented in the course of 2021-2027, will bring together multitude of EU financial instruments. By bringing together the different financing programmes under one roof, project promoters can benefit from simple and streamlined investment and advisory support.
The new programme will include the objectives of this EaSI Guarantee Instrument. The existing EaSI instruments will remain operational till the actual implementation of the InvestEU Programme.
What is the relevance for Circular City initiatives?
Start-ups, micro-enterprises and social enterprises play a very important role in the transition to a circular economy in cities. These enterprises often address the social aspects of the circular transition, ensuring that vulnerable population groups can also benefit from the circular economy. In addition, many micro-enterprises and social enterprises are located in urban areas and they often develop new concepts that have positive, social effects on the transition.
As a city government, you can help financial institutions, micro-enterprises, social enterprises, and micro-borrowers by pointing them to the opportunity of the EaSI Guarantee Financial Instrument.
How to apply?
For financial intermediaries
Eligible financial intermediaries are public and private bodies established on a national, regional or local level in one or several EaSI participating countries, authorised to provide microcredit for persons and micro-enterprises and/or financing for social enterprises. Eligible institutions can apply by filling out the required application documents which can be found on the website of the EIF . The selection procedure involves a due diligence process.
For micro-enterprises and social enterprises
Eligible are micro-enterprises in their starting or development phase that are employing vulnerable people. Social enterprises are eligible if they have an annual turnover below EUR 30 million. Micro-enterprises or social enterprises that are seeking a loan or debt finance can search through the list of financial intermediaries that are currently operating under the EaSI Guarantee Instrument on the website of the EIF .