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InvestEU

Overall budget available

The InvestEU Fund will mobilise more than €372 billion of public and private investment through an EU budget guarantee of €26.2 billion. This guarantee is meant to back the investment of ‘implementing partners’ such as the EIB (European Investment Bank) Group.

About €2.8 billion of the guarantee will be allocated to social investments and skills until 2027.

What is the goal of the funding programme?

The InvestEU Programme supports sustainable and inclusive/social investments, innovation and job creation in Europe.

The InvestEU Fund is a market-based and demand-driven instrument, with strong emphasis on EU policy priorities. It supports four policy windows:

  • Social investment and skills
  • Sustainable infrastructure
  • Research, innovation and digitalisation
  • Small and medium-sized companies, focusing on investments where the EU can bring more value

How is the funding programme structured?

The InvestEU Programme consists of 3 building blocks:

  • InvestEU Fund – mobilising public and private investment through financial instruments and an EU budget guarantee
  • InvestEU Advisory Hub – providing advisory support and technical assistance to help with project advisory, capacity building, as well as market development and awareness raising activities
  • InvestEU Portal - bringing together investors and project promoters on a single EU-wide database of investment opportunities available within the EU

As previously mentioned, the InvestEU Fund and the InvestEU Advisory Hub are structured around four policy windows covering different thematic areas.

 

What thematic areas are covered?

  • Social investment and skills window

Financing projects in skills, education, training, social infrastructure (such as affordable social housing, schools, universities, hospitals, healthcare, long-term care and accessibility), social innovation,  microfinance, social enterprises, social impact investing, integration of migrants, refugees and vulnerable people, and more.

  • Small and medium-sized companies window

Facilitating access to finance for small and medium-sized companies (SMEs), small mid-cap companies, including innovative ones and those operating in the cultural and creative sectors.

  • Research, innovation and digitalisation window

Financing projects in research and innovation, taking research results to the market, digitisation of industry, scaling up larger innovative companies, artificial intelligence and more.

  • Sustainable infrastructure window

Financing projects in sustainable energy, digital connectivity, transport, the circular economy, water, waste, other environment infrastructure and more.

What is in it for the social economy?

The InvestEU programme comes into play from a financing perspective and, as such, it facilitates access to finance for social finance providers (from commercial and investment banks to guarantee institutions, microfinance institutions, crowd-financing platforms and many more ). More specifically, it seeks to enhance access to microfinance and to social enterprise finance. InvestEU also brings advisory support and technical assistance and connects project promoters with investors. 

As a social economy organisation, you may indirectly benefit from InvestEU through your finance providers. For example, the European Investment Fund’s call for proposals offers two products (a guarantee and an equity product) to support those entities investing in or financing social enterprises. So, have a look at finance providers in your area who benefit from InvestEU as they may well be looking for you too! Additionally, social economy organisations that fulfil the EC’s SME definition may also benefit direct from financing under the InvestEU SME window (for example for innovation, digitalisation, sustainability, competitiveness).

Who is eligible to apply?

For microfinance and social entrepreneurship products under SISW: Financial intermediaries supporting social enterprises and microfinance. Individual social enterprises can turn to these financial intermediaries.

For SME window:  Financial intermediaries supporting SMEs and small mid-caps (small mid-caps only in the case of innovation, digitalisation and sustainability support). Individual social economy organisations that fulfil the SME definition[1] or can be classified as small mid-caps[2] can turn to these financial intermediaries.

 

[1] As defined in Commission Recommendation C(2003) 1422 of 6 May 2003 concerning the definition of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises

[2] Small mid-cap being an entity that is not an SME and that employs up to 499 employees.

How to apply

The guarantee available under the InvestEU Fund is implemented in partnership with selected financial partners, or ‘implementing partners’.

  • The main partner is the European Investment Bank Group (European Investment Bank – EIB and European Investment Fund - EIF), responsible for the implementation of 75% of the EU Guarantee. A guarantee agreement with the EIB Group was signed in March 2022. There are two options available for applying:
    • If the application concerns intermediated financing (i.e. through financial intermediaries), the latter can apply for financing through the Call for expression of interest, that is published on the European Investment Fund website. The call is in principle open until 30 June 2027. The EIF may determine that the deadline will end on an earlier date depending, inter alia, on the availability of the budgetary resources.
    • If the application is related to direct financing i.e. direct debt for social infrastructure, the project promoters can apply to the EIB directly through the EIB website.
  • Other implementing partners, implementing 25% of the EU Guarantee, have been selected through a call for expression of interest. The first call was concluded in 2021, and the next call for implementing partners will take place in 2023. Guarantee agreement negotiations with the selected other implementing partners are ongoing. Once the guarantee agreements with the other implementing partners have been signed, implementation can start. The deadline, details of the agreements and the process for applying to other implementing partners can be found on the InvestEU webpage. This page will be continuously updated to include the guarantee agreements with other implementing partners that are relevant to social economy/enterprises.
  • Intermediaries financing social enterprises can apply for financing through the Call for expression of interest on the EIF webpage.
  • The InvestEU Advisory Hub support is available via a central entry point on the European Commission’s website here. Social enterprise finance providers, incubators or business accelerators offering support to social enterprises, as well as microfinance institutions are advised to contact directly the European Investment Bank managing the Social Inclusive Finance Technical Assistance - SIFTA. Under SIFTA, the selected microfinance and social enterprise finance institutions can receive targeted capacity-building services in the form of, for example, tailored training, workshops, peer-to-peer exchanges and study visits.
  • The online matchmaking tool, the InvestEU Portal, is available here.

Where to find more information

How to contact organisations who manage the programme

See the following links for more information:

Organisations who provide support

In addition, several European networks, such as Euclid Network - the European Social Enterprise Network, EVPA, EMN, MFC and FEBEA, are active in supporting you in the process of identifying suitable funding opportunities for social enterprises/social economy organisations under the InvestEU.

Apart from the EIB Group support that was mentioned extensively above, other implementing partners may also provide support in the social economy/social enterprises’ sector.

Background information

History of the programme

The InvestEU Programme builds on the model of the Investment Plan for Europe, the Juncker Plan. The Juncker Plan aimed at unlocking public and private investments in the “real economy” of at least €315 billion over a three years fiscal period (Jan. 2015 – Dec. 2017).

Responsible Directorate-General in the European Commission

Internally, the management of the funds is handled by specialized DGs:

  • ECFIN – Overall coordination
  • EMPL – Chair of the Social investment and skills window
  • GROW – Chair of the Small and medium-sized companies window
  • RTD - Chair of the Research, innovation and digitalisation window
  • MOVE/ENER - Chair of the Sustainable infrastructure window

Approximate funding amount for individual applicants/group of applicants

The Social Investment and Skills window will support microfinance and social enterprises by supporting financial intermediaries active in this sector. In the case of microfinance, the individual microloans (or microcredits) could be up to EUR 50 000. The support to individual social enterprises could be up to EUR 2 000 000 but the main focus will continue to be on the smaller amounts up to EUR 500 000.

Duration

2021 - 2027