Despite Europe’s developed financial systems and their importance for employment creation and social inclusion, access to finance is a concern for smaller companies in Europe. This is especially the case when it comes to providing financial solutions for young entrepreneurs, women, start-up finance for unemployed and/or population with migration background, as in comparison with the need of the market, there are only few microcredit providers. This situation has become even more critical in view of the current socio-economic context of the European continent.
Overall, the European microcredit sector can be characterized as a relatively young and underdeveloped sector. It is composed of a variety of players and business models, with clear differences within Europe: For countries with less advanced financial sectors, the microfinance market continues to grow and become more structured resulting in a business model that is trending towards efficiency and sustainability. In Western European countries, on the other hand, financial markets are highly developed and the microfinance sector mostly concentrates on marginalized populations with an emphasis on fighting social exclusion.
The main challenge faced by all European microcredit providers is to improve their outreach and the quality of their operations. EaSI TA seeks to address these issues through the provision of technical assistance to microcredit providers and more generic support to the wider sector