EU: Actions to boost the development of finance markets for social enterprises


€ 2.500.000

European Commission



This is a call for proposals for EU actions to boost the development of finance markets for social enterprises.

The call is financed under the European Programme for Employment and Social Innovation "EaSI" 2014-20203 which is a European-level financing instrument managed directly by the European Commission to contribute to the implementation of the Europe 2020 strategy, by providing financial support for the Union’s objectives in terms of promoting a high level of quality and sustainable employment, guaranteeing adequate and decent social protection, combating social exclusion and poverty and improving working conditions.

The objective of the call for proposals is to contribute to the development of a social finance market, by designing and launching financial instruments for social enterprises and, at the same time, generating effective demand for social finance among social enterprises by developing their “investment readiness”. Ultimately this should enable more social enterprises to take on repayable finance for developing and scaling up their business model. In this way the call aims at feeding the pipeline for the EU level financial instruments such as the EaSI Guarantee, the EaSI Capacity Building investments, the EFSI social impact investment instruments, as well as future EU level instruments for social entrepreneurship which will be launched under the InvestEU Fund.

The call also encourages learning from different models and good practice in developing and enhancing social finance across the Union, through organized sharing and disseminating of expertise and experience. In order to achieve these objectives, the Commission will set up a learning network of the grant beneficiaries and facilitate peer learning and transnational exchanges. It will also assist projects in using EU financial instruments.

In order to take into account the different stages of development of social finance markets as well as different stages in the preparation of financing instruments for social enterprises, the call offers two strands. Each strand addresses a specific configuration of barriers in the social finance market. Both strands aim to develop and connect the supply side of social finance (by establishing partnerships, financial instruments or financial intermediaries) and the demand side (by enabling the delivery of business development and investment readiness services for social enterprises).

Strand A: Establishment of social finance partnerships

 The concrete outputs should include a Memorandum of Understanding between private, public and not-for profit-partners documenting:

  • a detailed assessment of the social finance market and a vision for closing gaps and overcoming deficiencies in the supply of social finance, including needs in terms of types and size of investments and assessment of the investment readiness of potential investees; – assessment of the suitability and feasibility of setting up a sustainable social finance mechanism;
  • identification of suitable managers for the financial product envisaged;
  • the commitment of the partners (including their roles and contributions) to contribute to, and to collaborate in, establishing a financial product that provides finance for social enterprises and that works in synergy with start-up and business development services for social enterprises;
  • the outline of an investment strategy for this financial product, in particular, the key areas of vision, investment focus (geographical and sector focus), models of intervention, risks and returns, types of investee organizations, form and size of investment, co-investment, non-financial support;
  • an outline of the investment readiness plan including an indication of the methodologies, tools and activities envisioned for enabling social enterprises to become investment ready;
  • a description of the strategy and actions planned for achieving this after the end of the projects.

 Strand B: Establishment of social finance instruments and mechanisms

 The concrete outputs should include a commitment of different types of investors (private investors, donors, public authorities), social enterprise support organisations and intermediaries and necessary agreements between private, public and not-for-profit partners to establish a financial instrument, including :

  • the legal agreement of the partners (specifying their roles and contributions) to finance, set up and manage a financial instrument providing finance as well as investment readiness / follow-up support to social enterprises;
  • the detailed investment strategy agreed encompassing, in particular, the key areas of vision, investment focus – geographical and sector focus, models of intervention, risks and returns, types of investee organisations, form and size of investment, co-investment, non-financial support, governance structures, obligations and benefits of investors, management rules and procedures as well as monitoring and evaluation arrangements;
  • all contractual arrangements needed for the registration of the financial instrument, for fundraising, for investments, lending or underwriting and for the conduct of management;
  • the investment readiness strategy including methodologies (e.g. training, coaching, mentoring, capacity building), tools and actions planned to ensure a steady and balanced deal flow and sustainability for the financial instrument;
  • the methodologies, procedures or resources (e.g. for due diligence, impact measurement and reporting) jointly applied by the partners to reduce transaction costs and build mutual trust and confidence.

On both strands, 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). These may include a mix of activities such as:

  • Analytical activities such as market assessments, mapping projects, assessment of feasibility and suitability of setting up social finance mechanisms/instruments, design of methodologies, tools, processes;
  • Marketing/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);
  • Knowledge dissemination and know-how transfer from and to peers in other EaSI participating countries (e.g. study visit, expert workshop, adaption of tools, procedures/contracts, etc.);
  • The replication or adaptation of proven financing or support models, to be implemented in other countries. This may also include translations.

 Eligibility Criteria:

a) Place of establishment

Legal entities properly established and registered in the following countries are eligible as lead applicant and co-applicants:

  • EU Member States;
  • Iceland and Norway in accordance with the EEA Agreement;
  • Albania, North Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Turkey

b) Type of entities

To be eligible, the lead applicant, co-applicant and affiliated entity may be public or private entities of any type.

c) Consortia

To be eligible, actions must have the involvement of a consortium including a lead applicant and at least two co-applicants. For strand A, the consortium must include at least:

  • one (potential) investor that has signed a letter of intention to invest/co-invest in the envisaged financial product;
  • one support organisation that has signed a letter of intention to provide business development /investment readiness services to (potential) investees.

For strand B, the consortium must include at least:

  • one private/public investor that has signed a letter of commitment to invest/co-invest in the financial instrument to be established
  • one support organisation that has signed a letter of commitment to provide business development/investment readiness services to (potential) investees.

d) Affiliated entities

Legal entities having a legal or capital link with applicants, which is neither limited to the action nor established for the sole purpose of its implementation and which satisfy the eligibility criteria, may take part in the action as affiliated entities, and may declare eligible costs. For that purpose, applicants shall identify such affiliated entities in the application form.

e) Associate organisations

An associate organisation can participate in the action but may not declare eligible costs.

Budget: 2.500.000 €.



Consorzio; Associazione; Onlus; Pubblica Amministrazione; Altro; Impresa o Professionista; Fondazione; Centro educativo o di ricerca; Cooperativa

micro impresa; piccola impresa; media impresa; grande impresa;

Industria; Turismo; Commercio; Costruzioni; Audiovisivo; Servizi; ICT; Bancario – Assicurativo; Trasporti; Energia; Pubblica Amministrazione; Sanità; Cultura; Sociale – No Profit – Altro; Farmaceutico; Alimentare




There will be no specific distribution of funds per strand.Taking into account the available budget, the proposals with the highest total scores will be recommended for award, irrespectively of the strand under which they have been submitted, and on the condition that the total score reaches minimum 65 points.

The EU grant requested should indicatively be:

  • for strand A: between 150.000 € and 200.000 €,
  • for strand B: between 200.000 € and 250.000 €.

The following costs must be included in the proposed budget of the action:

  • staff, travel and accommodation costs linked to the participation in six mutual learning workshops organised by the European Commission across Europe. The costs of at least one participant to the workshops should be foreseen (maximum 2 nights/workshop). The aim of the workshops will be to share practices and experience gained in implementing the action and lessons learnt, with the objective of transnational mutual learning. The workshops will bring together organisations supported under this call and other competent organisations;
  • staff costs linked to the participation in quarterly interviews conducted by an organisation contracted by the Commission, with the aim of providing feedback on the implementation of the action. The aim of the interviews will be to provide information on the activities undertaken, problems faced and how these were overcome, tools used, results achieved and learning needs.

Under this call for proposals, the EU grant may not exceed 80% of the total eligible costs of the action. The applicants must guarantee their co-financing of the remaining amount covered by the applicants’ own resources or from sources other than the European Union budget.

Investimento minimo

€ 0

Investimento massimo

€ 0



Deadline for submitting applications: 31 march 2020 

  • Swim, Courier and Post : 24:00 Brussels’ time (CET),
  • Hand deliveries 16:00 Brussels’ time (CET).




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