The European Investment Fund (EIF) and all seven Erste Group member banks have signed a Social Entrepreneurship guarantee agreement to provide finance for social organizations under the EU Programme for Employment and Social Innovation (EaSI), the bank announced.
This new guarantee agreement allows Erste Group’s network of local banks to provide a total of EUR 50 million loans to more than 500 social organizations over the next 5 years in Austria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania, Slovakia and Serbia.
Social entrepreneurs and non-profit organizations will be able to benefit from loans at a reduced interest rate and with lower collateral requirements under the EU supported programme.
Erste Group will provide financing to innovative, socially-oriented organizations active in the education, health and social services sectors, or employing disadvantaged, marginalized, or vulnerable groups, it is added.
The EaSI Guarantee scheme was launched in June 2015 and is funded by the European Commission and managed by the European Investment Fund.
Social enterprises wishing to apply for a loan under EaSI can contact Erste Group branches in one of the seven countries, it is added.
The press release reminds that the Step by Step social banking program, which Erste Bank Serbia has been realizing since 2016, has so far supported the growth and development of 65 startups and social enterprises, and the first loan to a non-profit organization has been approved as well. An amount of EUR 500,000 has been provided through the program and 72 jobs have been created.
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