• The Entrepreneurship Fund

Mission

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

Approach

EFSE invests in carefully selected local financial intermediaries for on-lending to micro and small enterprises and private households. These investees include commercial banks, microfinance institutions, and non-bank financial institutions such as leasing companies.

In addition, the EFSE Development Facility provides technical assistance, training, and other non-financial support to institutions and individuals to anchor and multiply the fund’s impact. Together, EFSE and its Development Facility build an environment that fosters sustainable entrepreneurship.

Macro support
for micro businesses

EFSE’s Target Region

EFSE invests in the dynamic markets of Southeast Europe and the EU Eastern Neighbourhood Region. Currently operating in 16 countries, EFSE coordinates its local activities through the regional offices of its advisor, Finance in Motion.

Please click on your country of interest.

AlbaniaBosnia and HerzegovinaBulgariaCroatiaKosovoNorth MacedoniaMontenegroRomaniaSerbiaTurkeyArmeniaAzerbaijanBelarusGeorgiaMoldovaUkraineBelarusUkraineMoldovaGeorgiaAzerbaijanArmeniaAzerbaijanTurkeyCroatiaBosnia and HerzegovinaMontenegroKosovoAlbaniaSerbiaNorth MacedoniaRomaniaBulgaria

Albania

Active Number of Partner Institutions: 2
Cumulative volume of sub-loans since inception: EUR 111,710,718
Number of active end-borrowers: 83 
Development Facility project volume: EUR 2,397,742

Armenia

Active Number of Partner Institutions: 5
Cumulative volume of sub-loans since inception: EUR 608,354,458
Number of active end-borrowers: 4,553 
Development Facility project volume: EUR 1,431,371

Azerbaijan

Active Number of Partner Institutions: 1
Cumulative volume of sub-loans since inception: EUR 227,725,032
Number of active end-borrowers: 198
Development Facility project volume: EUR 719,075

Belarus

Active Number of Partner Institutions: 1
Cumulative volume of sub-loans since inception: EUR 68,593,792
Number of active end-borrowers: 171
Development Facility project volume: EUR 158,592

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Active Number of Partner Institutions: 13
Cumulative volume of sub-loans since inception: EUR 717,043,427
Number of active end-borrowers: 17,533
Development Facility project volume: EUR 5,107,066

Bulgaria

Active Number of Partner Institutions: na
Cumulative volume of sub-loans since inception: EUR 45,918,867
Number of active end-borrowers: na
Development Facility project volume: EUR 25,430

Croatia

Active Number of Partner Institutions: na
Cumulative volume of sub-loans since inception: EUR 24,630,301
Number of active end-borrowers: na
Development Facility project volume: EUR 619,438

Georgia

Active Number of Partner Institutions: 5
Cumulative volume of sub-loans since inception: EUR 1,103,673,541
Number of active end-borrowers: 26,105
Development Facility project volume: EUR 3,145,903

Kosovo

Active Number of Partner Institutions: 5
Cumulative volume of sub-loans since inception: EUR 304,305,658
Number of active end-borrowers: 3,308
Development Facility project volume: EUR 3,393,796

North Macedonia

Active Number of Partner Institutions: 3
Cumulative volume of sub-loans since inception: EUR 210,281,657
Number of active end-borrowers: 2,257
Development Facility project volume: EUR 904,713

Moldova

Active Number of Partner Institutions: 1
Cumulative volume of sub-loans since inception: EUR 168,819,171
Number of active end-borrowers: 295
Development Facility project volume: EUR 2,431,496

Montenegro

Active Number of Partner Institutions: 3
Cumulative volume of sub-loans since inception: EUR 236,739,319
Number of active end-borrowers: 2,658
Development Facility project volume: EUR 1,133,539

Romania

Active Number of Partner Institutions: 8
Cumulative volume of sub-loans since inception: EUR 1,067,239,138
Number of active end-borrowers: 13,064
Development Facility project volume: EUR 1,628,529

Serbia

Active Number of Partner Institutions: 4
Cumulative volume of sub-loans since inception: EUR 1,296,393,018
Number of active end-borrowers: 19,716
Development Facility project volume: EUR 2,145,458

Turkey

Active Number of Partner Institutions: 8
Cumulative volume of sub-loans since inception: EUR 1,649,613,301
Number of active end-borrowers: 14,364
Development Facility project volume: EUR 3,539,640

Ukraine

Active Number of Partner Institutions: 5
Cumulative volume of sub-loans since inception: EUR 258,767,108
Number of active end-borrowers: 934
Development Facility project volume: EUR 830,578

Who Does EFSE Finance?

EFSE provides funding to local financial institutions that have confirmed their commitment to the fund’s mission, and which have the capacity to reach entrepreneurs and private households. By supporting the ability of these financial intermediaries to serve EFSE’s target group, the fund is not only amplifying its impact through the utilization of local financial infrastructure, it is also strengthening the ability of the financial sector in these regions to advance sustainable development in the long term..

EFSE provides 3 types of loans to its financial intermediaries. These are then used for on-lending for one or more of the following predefined purposes:

  • Micro and small enterprise finance
  • Financing for rural areas
  • Housing finance

What makes EFSE Special?

Blended finance for more impact

EFSE was one of the first impact investment vehicles to pioneer a public-private partnership model. This layered “blended finance” structure leverages public contributions as a risk cushion to mobilize private investments – thus unleashing more resources for impact. As a result, public investors can achieve more social and economic development for their money, and private investors can enter markets that may otherwise have been viewed as too risky to enter alone.

Local currency for local business

Local currency lending is a key element of responsible finance: When borrowers can invest in their home or business using the same currency as their income, they are protected from potentially hazardous ups and downs in exchange rates. EFSE has dedicated instruments to absorb this currency risk so that investees do not have to. The European Union and the German Federal Ministry for Cooperation and Development (BMZ) both contributed to a special fund layer for this purpose: the “L-shares”. EFSE is now active in spreading this responsible financing practice, as well as the awareness of its importance.

Innovations for financial inclusion

EFSE has a solid 15-year track record and a reputation as a stalwart partner in the region. But it is also an agile agent of innovation. Itself a pioneer, EFSE seeks out high-potential new developments, such as in fintech, to increase financial inclusion and supports entrepreneurs and partners alike with the development and implementation of new technologies.

In-region offices for on-the-ground presence

EFSE is active in 16 countries in Southeast Europe and the EU Eastern Neighbourhood. Our local experts work from in-region offices close to our clients and networks. EFSE’s deep understanding of the markets where we are active comes from working side-by-side with investees, partners, national regulators, and entrepreneurship organisations to provide tailored support for local needs.

Technical assistance for systemic impact

EFSE’s financial investments are complemented by technical assistance provided by the EFSE Development Facility. Because making a lasting difference means building an environment where positive impact can take root: The Development Facility works with institutions and individuals alike to build capacities, train skills, connect ecosystem players, study the market, and build a culture of entrepreneurship and responsible finance.

Cultivating
entrepreneurship

Corporate Governance

EFSE’s governance is based on a solid foundation and transparent processes. EFSE is set up as a SICAV-SIF under Luxembourg law, a proven vehicle for numerous impact investment funds.

The Board of Directors, appointed by the fund’s shareholders, is EFSE’s main decision-making body. The Investment Committee approves investment proposals submitted by the fund’s advisor, Finance in Motion. The members of the EFSE Investment Committee are appointed by the Board of Directors.

General Shareholder Assembly

The public investors into EFSE’s first-loss shares form the fund’s shareholder base, including fund initiator KfW, the European Commission, the German Federal Ministry for Cooperation and Development, and more. Private investors include impact-minded institutions such as ethical banks, pension funds, family offices, and more.

Board of Directors

The EFSE Board of Directors are representatives elected by the shareholders to exercise oversight of the fund and determine its strategic direction and approach.

Advisory Group

This forum for central bank representatives of the countries where EFSE is present provides a platform for sharing local developments, experiences, and policy recommendations.

Audit & Risk Committee

Appointed by the Board, this committee is responsible for the fund’s internal controls, accounting integrity, and risk management process.

Investment Committee

The Board of Directors appoints an Investment Committee comprising experts in the field of development finance. The Investment Committee approves all investments made by EFSE.

FX Committee

The Board also appoints an FX Committee to vet pricing and other matters pertaining to the fund’s local currency investments made utilising its “L-Share” class.

Manager

Hauck & Aufhäuser Fund Services S.A. is responsible for cash planning, direct operating expenses, FX monitoring, coordinating external tax advisors and hedging counterparties, and other management services under Luxembourg law.

Advisor

The Advisor, Finance in Motion GmbH, is the implementing arm of the fund, working directly with the Board and Committees to propose investments, advise on strategies, liaise with investors and investees, and carry out the decisions of the Board and Committees.

Board Members

A portrait of EFSE Board Chairperson Dr Klaus Müller

Klaus Müller
Chairperson

more about Klaus

Klaus has served as Chairperson of the EFSE Board since 2020. He brings a wealth of experience through his more than 25 years at German development bank KfW, where he has led departments including Policy, Corporate Policy, and West and East Africa. His current role is Director for the Southeast Europe and Turkey Department. Throughout his career, Klaus gained international experience in Europe and Asia. He holds a PhD in Agricultural Economics from the University of Bonn.

Christoph Achini

more about Christoph

Christoph has been a member of the EFSE Board since 2005, bringing a wealth of experience through his career in investment management. Christoph has worked at UBS and Swiss Investment Fund for Emerging Markets (SIFEM) AG, where he focused on structuring private equity fund investments in emerging markets. He is currently CFO and Founding Partner of Obviam, the management company of SIFEM. He holds a PhD in Political Science and Government from the University of Zurich, and is a CFA Charterholder.

Hubert Cottogni

more about Hubert

Hubert has been a member of the EFSE Board since 2014. His extensive career has included serving as Head of Mandate Management and Director at the European Investment Fund since 2006. Prior to this, Hubert was Head of Mergers and Acquisitions and Head of Strategy and Business Development at Telekom Austria AG, as well as Senior Manager at European Investment Bank and Credtianstalt. Hubert holds a degree in Business and Administration from the University of Innsbruck and completed the International Executive Programme at INSEAD.

Dominik Ziller

more about Dominik

Dominik has been a member of the EFSE Board since 2005, when the fund was established. Working for BMZ (German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development) since 1998 Dominik is currently Director General for International Cooperation, leading the multilateral branch of the ministry. He is also the German Governor to IFAD and Special Envoy for BMZ´s Reform Partnership with Senegal. His previous roles include Deputy Director General for Asia, Director of the Budget Division and Deputy Director of the Division for Southeast Europe, Eastern Europe, Turkey and Iran. Dominik holds a degree in Law Studies from Munich University.

A portrait of Markus Aschendorf

Markus Aschendorf

more about Markus

Markus has been member of the board since 2020. He is additionally, since 2015, Chair and a member of the EFSE Development Facility, and also Chair of the EFSE Investment. His more than 20-year career at KfW contributes a wealth of knowledge in risk controlling, risk management and corporate management, as well as performance management and business planning, and financial controlling. Markus currently serves as Head of Division Equity and Funds for Europe / Asia / MENA. He holds master’s in Business Administration (Diplom-Kaufmann) from the University of Bayreuth and a PhD in Business Administration from the University of Bayreuth.

Andrea Hagmann

more about Andrea

Andrea has been a member of the EFSE board since 2019. She was strongly involved in developing the foundation of the Development Bank of Austria (OeEB) in 2007 and has served as a Member of the Executive Board for 10 years. Today she contributes her experience and knowledge to various supervisory and non-executive committees with the aim to support micro, small and medium enterprises. Andrea previously worked in various positions at the Oesterreichische Kontrollbank (the Austrian export credit agency). She holds a Master’s degree in Commercial Science from Vienna University of Economics and Business Administration.

A portrait of Nico Pijl

Nico Pijl

more about Nico

Nico has been a member of the EFSE Board since 2016. He is an accomplished finance professional who performed leadership and senior management roles at FMO for over 20 years. Nico has extensive emerging market and sustainable development experience. He is a seasoned risk manager with a depth of experience in structuring and executing debt and private equity transactions. Nico graduated with a Master’s degree in Macro-Economics and Development Planning from Erasmus University, Rotterdam.

A portrait of Jana Sivcova

Jana Sivcova

more about Jana

Jana has been a member of the EFSE board since 2018. Her expertise is in the financial sectors of emerging markets, specifically those of Eastern Europe, the Balkans, and the countries of the former Soviet Union, whilst working at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. Jana designed and lead large scale financing of SMEs and microenterprises programmes and served as a non-executive director of banks focusing on financing of small and medium enterprises in emerging markets.

A portrait of Syed Aftab

Syed Aftab Ahmed

more about Aftab

Aftab has been a member of the EFSE board since 2005. He worked at the International Finance Corporation (IFC) in various capacities from 1989 until his retirement in 2006. In his most recent position at IFC, Aftab lead the implementation of the global microfinance strategy and investment programme. After retiring, IFC nominated Aftab to the board of directors and investment committees of some of its portfolio banks and financial institutions. Aftab holds a Master's degree in Economics. 

EFSE’s History

The CEO of Alter Modus microfinance institution stands in a yellow jacket
2020
A crowd of participants stands on the stage at the Power of Local Currency event in Moldova
2019
The EFSE Entrepreneurship Academy logo
2018
A Serbian farmer in red overalls poses in front of two cows
2017
A group of fintech entrepreneurs and competition judges stand on a stage
2016
Logo of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development
2015
A man and a youth stand behind the counter at a shop selling bags, books, games, and other supplies
2014
Two women wearing white uniforms, aprons, and chef's hats stand at a counter rolling several dozen cookies on trays
2013
A grocer places items on the shelves of her supermarket
2012
A landscape of Yerevan, the capital of Armenia
2011

Central Bank of Armenia joins as investor to support local currency lending in Armenia

Former US President Barack Obama stands on a stage with the G20 SME Finance Challenge Award winners, including Finance in Motion Managing Director Sylvia Wisniwski
2010
Finance in Motion logo
2009
A farmer feeds hay to his cows
2008
Two smiling women wearing black uniforms and colourful aprons stand in their bakery and present cakes to the camera
2007
Men and women in formal clothing gather for a group picture
2006
Men and women in formal clothing gather for a picture, with some sitting at a table and others behind them
2005

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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