Microfinance promise to serve low-income or disadvantaged beneficiaries excluded from the formal banking sector in a financially sustainable way (thus to achieve the so called “double bottom line” of financial and social performance) built excitement around the development of a global industry. However, for a long time an anti-subsidy position embedded in the international key donor community have shown little concern of social performance data and information on beneficiaries profiles in terms of various dimension of social and financial exclusion. Until recently, most of the emphasis of microfinance advocates has been devoted to MFIs financial performance following the “win-win” proposition, according to which financial viability should be sufficient to show social impact, a view that is supported by a controversial evidence and is based on a selective understanding of conceptual facts. Nevertheless, several initiatives recently translated into the Social Performance Task Force (SPTF) attempt to explore social aspects of microfinance providing a new definition of social performance more focused on the whole process leading to a social impact. Aim of this paper is to measure European MFIs social performance according to a core set of common indicators developed by the SPTF but using data collected in 2010 by the European Microfinance Network (EMN) on a sample of 170 microfinance actors operating in 21 countries out of 27 European Union (EU) member countries, current EU candidate countries and countries belonging to the European Free Trade Area (EFTA). The reference framework followed in the current social performance analysis examines the whole process of translating MFIs mission into social impact and includes the analysis of three connected dimensions of the social performance process corresponding to different set of indicators: the intent of the MFI, the effectiveness of the internal system and activities in achieving its targets, MFI outputs and eventually its capacity to positively affect clients life and achieve social goals.
From Xinhua -
Self-employment and entrepreneurship is one of the pathways to more and better jobs, European Commission said here on Tuesday.
Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion Laszlo Andor attended the conference on Microfinance in Europe held on Tuesday in Brussels to mark the official launch of the European Progress Microfinance Facility (EPMF), a microfinance initiative designed to give micro companies easier access to credit.
According to Laszlo, the economic crisis has shown the need to develop new ways of creating sustainable employment. “In this context, self-employment and entrepreneurship is one of the pathways to more and better jobs,” the commissioner said.
To promote entrepreneurship, Laszlo suggested the European Union (EU) should increase the availability of microloans for citizens who want to start up or further develop their own business but do not have access to traditional banking loans.
The EU and the European Investment Bank decided in March 2010 to establish the EPMF with 200 million euros (280 million US dollars) of funding. The first microloans supported by Progress Microfinance, officially launched on Tuesday, will be provided within two months time.
Laszlo also believes microloans should be complemented with tailor-made guidance, training and coaching for micro- entrepreneurs, possibly provided by the European Social Fund.
- Date: 09 November 2010 – 10 November 2010
- Location: Brussels, Hotel Bloom, Rue Royale 250
The European Commission and EIB group will organise a conference on “Microfinance in Europe” in Brussels on 9-10 November 2010.
This event will mark the official launch of the European Progress Microfinance Facility and will be opened on 9 November at 14.00 by Commissioners Andor and Hahn and EIB Vice-President Mathias Kollatz-Ahnen who will speak on the contribution of microfinance and entrepreneurship to the goals of the Europe 2020 Strategy and to social and regional cohesion in the EU.
The introductory session will be followed by a round table on the role of public support to promote entrepreneurship and financial inclusion as a way out of the crisis, where EIF Chief Executive Richard Pelly will represent the EIB Group.
On the second day, after a presentation on the functioning of the European Progress Microfinance Facility and the JASMINE initiative, parallel sessions will be held on the following topics:
- efforts undertaken to develop high quality microfinance and related business services
- the need to improve the environment for microfinance development
- practical setups to facilitate access to microfinance
Practical information on the ongoing EU initiatives in the area of microfinance will be made available at information stands during the entire conference.
The outline programme is now available.
Back to back to this conference (on 8-9 Nov. at the same venue in Brussels) the Commission will be organising a thematic review on Promoting entrepreneurship and self employment across Europe in the framework of the Mutual Learning Programme of the European Employment Strategy.
For the conference, simultaneous interpretation will be provided to and from English, French, German, Italian, Spanish and Polish during the plenary sessions, and to and from English, French and German in the parallel sessions.