Filter Search for grants
Call key data
Actions to boost the development of finance markets for social enterprises
European Social Fund+
Estimated EU contribution per project
between € 300,000.00 and € 400,000.00
Link to the call
Link to the submission
The expected result is the cooperation between public and / or private entities of any type with the aim to ease access to finance for social entrepreneurs and to develop the investment readiness of social enterprises to ensure social enterprises are able to take on repayable finance.
The objective is to contribute to the development of feasible, suitable and reliable schemes or funds providing finance to social enterprises as well as support structures providing business development services and networking facilities to improve social enterprises' investment readiness. The objective of the call is also to identify, develop, promote and disseminate good practices in supporting social enterprises in accessing finance.Social enterprises are instrumental in the implementation of many of the European Pillar of Social Rights principles. In particular they play a key role in delivering the following European Pillar of Social Rights (‘EPSR’) principles: 3. Equal opportunities, 4. Active support to employment, 5. Secure and adaptable employment, 11. Childcare and support to children, 17. Inclusion of people with disabilities, 18. Long-term care and 20. Access to essential services.
Expected effects and impacts
The expected result of the call is the improved cooperation between public and / or private entities of any type with the aim of setting up financial instruments that respond to the needs of social enterprises. Ultimately this should enable more social enterprises to get access to repayable finance for developing and scaling their business model, and to reduce their dependence on grants. Moreover, investors and business development organisations are expected to increase their awareness of the needs of social enterprises and improve their capacity to design and manage financial products that respond to these needs. Market facilitators such as qualified intermediaries are expected to be put in place where they do not exist.
The grant is aimed at the actors entering into the early stages of collaboration towards the creation of a financial instrument to support social enterprises.
Actions must be fully carried out in ESF+ eligible countries and must focus on supporting social enterprises that are in need of smaller investments (< EUR 500 000).
In line with the ESF+ Regulation, a social enterprise is an undertaking, regardless of its legal form, including social economy enterprises, or a natural person which:
- in accordance with its articles of association, statutes or with any other legal document that may result in liability under the rules of the Member State where a social enterprise is located, has the achievement of measurable, positive social impacts, which may include environmental impacts, as its primary social objective rather than the generation of profit for other purposes, and which provides services or goods that generate a social return or employs methods of production of goods or services that embody social objectives;
- uses its profits first and foremost to achieve its primary social objective, and has predefined procedures and rules that ensure that the distribution of profits does not undermine the primary social objective;
- is managed in an entrepreneurial, participatory, accountable and transparent manner, in particular by involving workers, customers and stakeholders on whom its business activities have an impact.
The social enterprises must be established / in the process of being established in one or more of the ESF+ eligible countries.
The activities to be funded will consist of developing social finance partnerships and feasible, suitable and reliable financial instruments or schemes providing finance to social enterprises, as well as non-financial support aimed at improving the social enterprises' investment readiness (such as business development and networking). The following activities can be carried out under this call for proposals:
- analytical activities such as in-depth market assessments, mapping projects, assessment of feasibility and suitability of setting up social finance mechanisms/instruments, design of methodologies, tools, processes where such information is missing or required in the context of the target market and envisioned financial instrument;
- communications/networking actions aimed at bringing in additional investors (e.g. organisation of meetings or participation in relevant conferences/ fora that gather potential investors);
- training activities and capacity building actions (e.g. aimed at developing capacities for managing investments and investment readiness for social enterprises);
- knowledge dissemination and know-how transfer from and to peers in other ESF+ eligible countries (e.g. study visit, expert workshop, training session, adaption of tools, procedures/contracts);
- the replication or adaptation of proven financing or support models, to be implemented in other countries. This may also include translations;
- work of financial experts and lawyers to draft the legal documents for setting up the social finance instrument or mechanism required by EU or national legislation;
- IT services in case the financial instrument uses web-tools or is based on a web platform (e.g. crowdfunding platforms).
Applicants are expected to provide a detailed description of their target market in their Application Form – Part B, under 1.2 Needs analysis and specific objectives. This should include an outline of the current situation in the target market and the research already available and areas which require further development.
Regions / countries for funding
Moldova (Moldova), Albania (Shqipëria), Bosnia and Herzegovina (Bosna i Hercegovina / Босна и Херцеговина), Island (Ísland), Kosovo (Kosova/Kosovë / Косово), Montenegro (Црна Гора), Norway (Norge), Serbia (Srbija/Сpбија)
Education and training institution, Non-Profit Organisation (NPO) / Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), Other, Private institution, incl. private company (private for profit), Public Body (national, regional and local; incl. EGTCs), Research Institution incl. University, Small and medium-sized enterprise (SME)
Proposals must be submitted by a consortium of at least three applicants (beneficiaries; not affiliated entities), which complies with the following conditions:
- At least one applicant should be a potential investor that has signed a letter of intention to invest/co-invest in the envisaged financial product (Annex A)
- At least one applicant should be a support organisation that has signed a letter of intention to provide business development /investment readiness services to (potential) investees (Annex B);
- The consortium must be made up of applicants based in at least two different eligible countries in order to promote mutual learning and facilitate a transnational dimension.
- For example, to promote mutual learning and share experiences applicants can choose to include an additional partner from a different eligible country than that of potential investor and support organisation. Investors and support organisations can also be from different countries if this makes sense in the context of the project (e.g. if a cross-border financial product is envisaged).
- All members of the consortium shall comply with the eligibility criteria described below.
other eligibility criteria
In order to be eligible, the applicants (beneficiaries and affiliated entities) must:
- be legal entities (public or private bodies)
- be established in one of the eligible countries, i.e.:
- EU Member States (including overseas countries and territories (OCTs))
- non-EU countries: listed EEA countries and countries associated to the ESF+ or countries which are in ongoing negotiations for an association agreement and where the agreement enters into force before grant signature (list of participating countries)
Natural persons, i.e. sole traders, where the company does not have legal personality separate from that of the natural person). International organisations — International organisations are eligible. The rules on eligible countries do not apply to them.
International organisations are NOT eligible. The rules on eligible countries do not apply to them.
Entities without legal personality — Entities which do not have legal personality under their national law may exceptionally participate, provided that their representatives have the capacity to undertake legal obligations on their behalf, and offer guarantees for the protection of the EU financial interests equivalent to that offered by legal persons.
EU bodies — EU bodies (with the exception of the European Commission Joint Research Centre) can NOT be part of the consortium.
Associations and interest groupings — Entities composed of members may participate as ‘sole beneficiaries’ or ‘beneficiaries without legal personality’ . Please note that if the action will be implemented by the members, they should also participate (either as beneficiaries or as affiliated entities, otherwise their costs will NOT be eligible).
Social partner organisations — These include notably the European social partner organisations that are consulted in accordance with Article 154 TFEU (for the list, see List of consulted organisations) as well as other European-level social partner organisations that are not included in this list, but who are for example involved in the preparation and launch of European social dialogue at sector level. Social partner organisations without legal personality are eligible provided that the conditions for entities without legal personality (see above) are met.
Countries currently negotiating association agreements — Beneficiaries from countries with ongoing negotiations (see list above) may participate in the call and can sign grants if the negotiations are concluded before grant signature (with retroactive effect, if provided in the agreement).
Financial support to third parties is not allowed.
Relevance for EU Macro-Region
EUSAIR - EU Strategy for the Adriatic and Ionian Region, EUSALP - EU Strategy for the Alpine Space, EUSBSR - EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region, EUSDR - EU Strategy for the Danube Region
UN Sustainable Development Goals (UN-SDGs)
between 24 and 36 months
Proposals must be complete and contain all the requested information and all required annexes and supporting documents:
- Application Form Part A — contains administrative information about the participants (future coordinator, beneficiaries and affiliated entities) and the summarised budget for the project (to be filled in directly online)
- Application Form Part B — contains the technical description of the project (to be downloaded from the Portal Submission System, completed and then assembled and re-uploaded)
Mandatory annexes and supporting documents (to be uploaded):
- detailed budget table/calculator: not applicable
- CVs (standard) of core project team
- activity reports of last year
- list of previous projects relating to the subject of the call in the last 3 years) (template available in Part B)
- Annex A: (A) signed letter(s) of commitment to invest/co-invest in the financial instrument to be established from the potential investor(s).
- Annex B: (A) signed letter(s) of commitment to provide business development/investment readiness services to (potential) investees from the support organisation(s).
- Annex C: At least one applicant or co-applicant needs to provide a list of the projects reflecting work undertaken over the past three years in the design or implementation of finance mechanisms for social enterprises. Identify for each action the objectives, location, results, organisation's role and degree of involvement, cost etc.
- Annex D: At least one applicant or co-applicant needs to provide a list of the projects reflecting work undertaken over the past three years in the design/provision of business development and/or investment readiness services to social enterprises. Identify for each action the objectives, location, type of services provided, number of organisations, results, organisation's role and degree of involvement, cost etc.
Proposals are limited to maximum 70 pages (Part B). Evaluators will not consider any additional pages.