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SOFIA (Bulgaria), October 11 (SeeNews) - The European Investment Fund (EIF) said that it has signed an agreement with Sparkasse Bank Makedonija for around 1.5 million euro ($1.7 million) in funding for start-up businesses from guarantees under the EU programme for Employment and Social Innovation (EaSI).
"With the help of financial guarantees from the EU's Employment and Social Innovation Programme, Sparkasse will offer start-up businesses loans at a reduced interest rate and less collateral requirements," Marianne Thyssen, EU commissioner for employment, was quoted saying in a statement by the EIF on Wednesday.
The programme will target companies that are registered less than two years and are in need of financial and educational support. The companies, which must be in the start-up or development phase, should employ less than 10 people.
"I am confident that the EU support will help Sparkasse to reach out to micro-entrepreneurs whose risk profile would otherwise prevent them from accessing traditional bank financing," Pier Luigi Gilibert, EIF's chief executive, said.
The EaSI guarantee scheme, launched in June 2015, is aimed at increasing access to microfinance for vulnerable groups who want to set up or develop their business and micro-enterprises, via loans of up to 25,000 euro.
($ = 0.8639 euro)