• Pushing the Impact Frontier


The European Fund for Southeast Europe (EFSE) aims to foster economic development and prosperity in Southeast Europe and the EU Eastern Neighbourhood Region by investing in the success of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) as well as improved living conditions for private households.

That is why EFSE invests in the ability of local financial infrastructure to supply the resources entrepreneurs and families need to thrive. By enabling these groups' access to responsible financing, EFSE strives for long-term, systemic impact.

The fund's investment activities are complemented by the nonfinancial support of the EFSE Development Facility, which builds capacities, facilitates knowledge exchange, and nourishes an environment for entrepreneurs to grow.



Eradicating poverty in all its forms involves increasing access to basic resources and services, including financial services. EFSE contributes to meeting the basic financing needs of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) and low-income households.

Subloans facilitated to MSMEs and households (1)>1.2 MILLION
Share of microfinance institutions among active partner institutions 22%
Share of total rural and MSMEs subloans disbursed below 20,000 EUR74%


Ending all forms of hunger and malnutrition involves promoting agricultural productivity and improving the incomes of small-scale farmers. EFSE contributes to improving agricultural productivity and the livelihoods of small-scale food producers through secure and equal access to financial services.

Share of subloans disbursed to rural end-borrowers50%
Share of partner institutions with EFSE investments dedicated to rural & agri financing 42%
Share of partner institutions with a strategic focus on end borrowers living in a rural area67%


Promoting sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment, and decent work for all involves encouraging entrepreneurship and job creation. EFSE contributes to local economic growth and employment creation by enabling entrepreneurs to grow businesses, including through tailored financial services especially for young entrepreneurs and micro and small enterprises in rural areas.

Indirect jobs supported in MSMEs receiving financing through partner institions (1, 2)>2.2 MILLION
People benefitted from technical assistance49,800
Partners supported with capacity building in developing and strengthening processes and practices (1)225


Building resilient infrastructure, promoting inclusive and sustainable industrialization, and fostering innovation involves upgrading existing industries and promoting new industries. EFSE contributes to upgrading small-scale industrial and other enterprises through improved access to financial services.

Active borrowers86,600
Share of outstanding portfolio in local currencies (2)19%
Volume of subloans enabled for MSMEs through EFSE financing (1)>6 BILLION
Fund partner institutions (1)143
MSMEs receiving EFSE financing through partner institutions (1,2)>1 MILLION


Reducing inequality within and among countries involves empowering people earning low incomes and promoting economic inclusion of all. EFSE contributes to sustaining and growing business income among marginalized entrepreneurs, such as women, youth, refugees, and rural populations.

Women-owned enterprises reached through MSME finance (1, 2)>50,000
Share of female participants in capacity building projects40%
Share of total MSMEs and rural sub-loans disbursed in local currencies86%


Strengthening the means of implementation and revitalizing the global partnership for sustainable development involves mobilizing financial resources for developing countries. As a blended finance fund, EFSE contributes to bringing together public and private investors for sustainable development.

Committed capitalEUR 1200.0 MILLION
Volume of technical assistance projects (1)EUR 46.0 MILLION
Share of private capital committed to EFSE29%

1 Cumulative figure since inception.
2 Figures are modeled by Finance in Motion based on primary reporting and third-party data.

Two hands of a woodworker carefully sand down a pair of wooden glasses frames
Fostering sustainable entrepreneurship


At its core, EFSE is dedicated to equipping small business owners and entrepreneurs with the financing and enabling environment they need to thrive. Ranging from manufacturing companies to small farms and craft shops, such enterprises often face limited access to financial services. By working with local financial intermediaries to better serve this target group and building the wider ecosystem for financial inclusion, EFSE contributes to empowering entrepreneurs to create or expand businesses - and in doing so, to contribute to local economic development. Read our stories to discover EFSE's impact.

A comprehensive approach to impact

EFSE takes a comprehensive approach to economic development that involves not only improving the situation of individual MSEs and households. The fund endeavours to strengthen the systems that surround and enable these local entrepreneurs and families, thereby generating deep, long-term impact at scale. To achieve its mission, EFSE takes a three-pronged focus:

  •       Strengthening local financial markets
  •      Channelling tailored finance to MSEs and households
  •      Building a conducive ecosystem for entrepreneurship


For more details on how EFSE works towards its impact targets, refer to the Theory of Change, which summarizes the fund's impact logic and builds the foundation for its impact measurement and management system. 

Holistic Impact Management

The "what" and "how" of achieving impact - in other words, the fund's impact objectives and approach through dedicated financing and technical assistance - are defined in EFSE's strategy documents.

Prior to any investment, the fund undertakes a thorough screening of potential investees. Only if an institution meets the fund's requirements for financial return, development impact, and sound environmental and social (E&S) management will the investment proceed.

Once invested, EFSE combines mitigating and reducing negative impact and enhancing positive impact throughout the investment cycle:

  • EFSE applies a range of instruments to enhance its positive impact,  including specific eligibility criteria to ensure that resources are actually on-lent for the intended purpose; portfolio targets, such as increasing the proportion of local currency lending; and the deployment of technical assistance to build capacity as and where needed. The fund combines a range of data sources to track progress against its key performance indicators, including reporting by the investees and periodic end-borrower studies. This provides EFSE with a feedback loop of insights and learnings that enable the fund to continuously fine-tune its strategy.
  • E&S considerations are incorporated into all aspects of decision making and operations. EFSE maintains, implements and continuously improves a formal Environmental and Social Management System (ESMS), including policies, procedures and practical tools that support the E&S policy's implementation throughout the investment cycle.

EFSE endeavours to align its holistic impact management with international standards and good practices, including the Operating Principles for Impact Management, the IFC Performance Standards, and core responsible finance frameworks.

Impact Principle Verified

Finance in Motion, EFSE advisor, is a signatory of the Operating Principles for Impact Management (Impact Principles), aligning also EFSE's impact management system with these recognized industry practices. 

Along with an annual disclosure statement, which provides details on the practices applied, the advisor is committed to periodic independent verifications. The latest verification, conducted in 2023 by the specialized consulting firm BlueMark, affirmed strong alignment with the Operating Principles for Impact Management.



In pursuing its sustainable investment objective, EFSE places a priority on effectively managing potential environmental and social (E&S) risks associated with the Fund's investments. In addition, the fund integrates environmental, social and governance (ESG) considerations into decision-making and investee engagement. In line with this sustainable investment objective, the fund falls within the scope of Article 9 of the Regulation (EU) 2019/2088 on the Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation (SFDR).

For sustainability-related disclosures in line with the requirements of the SFDR and more information on the fund's approach to impact and sustainability, please refer to:

Get in touch

Interested in learning more about how the fund works, or seeking partnership opportunities? Contact an EFSE representative today.


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