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 and small enterprises (MSEs) 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 and small enterprises and low-income households.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
As of Q1 2021
Key figures since inception of the fund in 2005
Key figures since inception of the Development Facility in 2006
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.
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:
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 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.
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: