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2014-06-17

Almi Företagspartner: First Progress Microfinance agreement in Sweden for micro-enterprises

Pressinformation från Almi Företagspartner och European Investment
Fund, EIF

The European Investment Fund (EIF) and Almi Företagspartner AB (Almi)
have signed a guarantee agreement aimed at supporting around 230
micro-enterprises within a year in five counties in Sweden.

This agreement will allow Almi to provide enhanced access to finance
to entrepreneurs in Sweden, especially those who face difficulties in
accessing credit from traditional banking sources.

Progress Microfinance is funded by the European Commission and managed
by the European Investment Fund.

Commenting on the agreement, Head of Microfinance Per-Erik Eriksson
said: "We are pleased to be signing our first guarantee agreement in
Sweden under Progress Microfinance with Almi. We are happy to
co-operate with a very experienced institution in this field and are
thus convinced that this finance will help to benefit
micro-enterprises, in particular vulnerable groups and thereby
contribute to social inclusion in Sweden".

This contract allows Almi in the counties of Västmanland, Örebro,
Gävleborg, Dalarna and Östergötland to offer microloans without any
collateral requirements, which contributes to improving the access to
finance for these businesses.

The transaction will allow Almi, to continue further developing its
current lending activity to small and micro-enterprises in Sweden.

Göran Lundwall, CEO of Almi said: "This agreement will allow us to
provide enhanced access to finance for Swedish entrepreneurs. In this
first phase it is limited to five counties, but I hope we will be
able to offer it in all regions in Sweden in the future."

Micro-enterprises wishing to apply for a micro-loan under Progress
Microfinance can directly contact Almi's branches in Mälardalen
(covering the counties Västmanland and Örebro), Gävledala (covering
the counties Gävleborg and Dalarna), and Östergötland.

About the European Progress Microfinance Facility

The European Progress Microfinance Facility (Progress Microfinance)
provides guarantees and funded instruments to microfinance
intermediaries. The initiative is established with EUR 205 million of
funding from the European Commission and the European Investment
Bank. Progress Microfinance aims to increase access to finance for
micro-entrepreneurs, including the self-employed. It has a particular
focus on, but is not restricted to, groups with limited access to the
conventional credit market. Examples include female entrepreneurs,
young entrepreneurs, entrepreneurs belonging to a minority group,
entrepreneurs with a disability, sole traders etc. Loans less than
EUR 25,000 are made available through selected intermediaries
participating in the facility. Progress Microfinance does not provide
direct financing to micro-entrepreneurs or individuals.

Almi marks the 53rd transaction signed under Progress Microfinance
since its inception in 2010. To date, commitments of over EUR 130
million under Progress Microfinance have been signed to benefit EU
micro-borrowers. Countries where agreements have been signed to date
include Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Denmark, France, Greece,
Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia,
Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, The Netherlands and the UK.

For further information about this initiative please visit:
www.ec.europa.eu/epmf

About EIF

The European Investment Fund's (EIF) central mission is to support
Europe's micro, small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) by helping
them to access finance. EIF designs and develops venture and growth
capital, guarantees and microfinance instruments which specifically
target this market segment. In this role, EIF fosters EU objectives
in support of innovation, research and development, entrepreneurship,
growth, and employment. EIF's total net commitments to private equity
funds amounted to over EUR 7.9bn at end 2013. With investments in
over 435 funds, EIF is a leading player in European venture due to
the scale and the scope of its investments, especially in high-tech
and early-stage segments. EIF's guarantees loan portfolio totalled
over EUR 5.6bn in over 300 operations at end 2013, positioning it as
a major European SME guarantees actor and a leading micro-finance
guarantor.

More information about EIF is available on www.eif.org.

About Almi

Almi's vision is to create opportunities for all viable ideas and
companies to be developed. We offer advisory services, loans and
venture capital through all phases of the establishment of a business
- from idea to successful company. This includes ideas with potential
for growth in the early stages as well as existing companies that are
investing in growth and expansion. Almi Företagspartner AB is owned
by the Swedish government and is the parent company of a group
consisting of 16 regional subsidiaries, Almi Invest AB and IFS
Rådgivning AB. With 40 offices across Sweden, we are always close to
our customers.

Press information - EIF, please contact:

David Yormesor, d.yormesor@eif.org, or visit EIF's website www.eif.org

Almi: Lars Mardbrant, lars.mardbrant@almi.se (+46 70 3143434 )

Information in Swedish: http://www.almi.se/Aktuellt/nytt-mikrolan
(https://mail.almi.se/owa/redir.aspx?C=UUFDoj3gEkKCrovjGThvQQYEHLwyXdEIAA...)

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http://news.cision.com/almi-foretagspartner/r/first-progress-microfinanc...

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