Overview of attitudes and financial instruments for social economy in NBFSE countries and case studies on selected practice of support

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1 The Network for Better Future of Social Economy (NBFSE) Strand Financial instruments and s of funds allocation to Social Economy Overview of attitudes and financial instruments for social economy in NBFSE countries and case studies on selected practice of support Prague May

2 Author: Marek Jetmar 2

3 Content: Introduction Social economy environment in participating countries and regions Attitudes to social entrepreneurship... 7 The Czech Republic (CR)... 7 Poland... 8 Flanders, Belgium... 8 The United Kingdom... 9 Sweden... 9 Lombardy, Italy Finland Legal and institutional framework - barriers and development factors Subsidies and tax incentives in favour of social entrepreneurship Financial instruments focused on social entrepreneurship in participating countries Flanders Poland The Czech Republic Sweden The United Kingdom Lombardy Finland Featured examples of social enterprise funding JEREMIE initiative in Poland JEREMIE initiative in Lombardy, Italy Trividend, Flanders, Belgium Global grant Social economy, the Czech Republic Support to social economy in Poland Microcredit in Poland Ethical banking in Sweden Conclusions Literature List of abbreviations

4 Introduction This report represents the first product of the working group Financial instruments and s of funds allocation to social economy of the ESF Network for Better Future of Social Economy. It presents, in its first part, detailed characteristics of position of social economy, social enterprises in society and national economy of NBFSE partners and institutional and regulatory environment, including tax incentives and subsidies, in relation to the social economy. In the second part it presents a basic description of financial instruments and s used for development of social enterprises, identified in NFSE countries. In the third part the report provides detailed analysis of support s and instruments, which were selected as examples of good practices in NBSE countries. The case studies provide information on the nature and orientation of the instruments, their objectives, target groups, function s, the role of administrators, the size and volume of the support, available data on their outputs and outcomes and their strengths and weaknesses analysis. The emphasis was placed on sharing experiences with the implementation of financial instruments cofinanced from the Structural Funds, particularly the ESF. The report was developed by an external consultant Marek Jetmar, drawing on inputs from NBFSE partners and activities conducted within the work of the Financial instruments group. The main sources of information for this report was the NBFSE baseline study, questionnaire survey amongst NBFSE partners, interviews with experts in the field and meetings of the Financial instruments group. 1 The learning Network for better future of Social Economy (NBFSE) is a project of 7 EU member states: Poland (lead partner), Belgium-Flanders, Sweden, the Czech Republic, Italy-Lombardy, the UK-England and Finland represented by national or regional authorities and their experts. Apart from participation of the core partners - 1 An extensive survey, which took place at the initiative of the Czech ESF MA of the Human Resources and Employment Operational Programme, brought a number of interesting and inspiring knowledge that became the subject of further actions of the network. The basic survey findings were completed by additional information from open sources, discussions with key stakeholders involved in design and implementation of financial instruments for social enterprises. 4

5 ESF Managing Authorities, other public authorities, experts and social economy representatives at the local, regional, national and European level participate in the project. The purpose of the NBFSE project is to establish a European network of institutions involved in the development of social economy in order to exchange knowledge, experiences and share best practices on social economy support and development. The Network also carries out recommendations for the ESF Managing Authorities for not only current but also for future programming period. Therefore, the project is focused on exchange of experience between those member states, which have already implemented a policy towards the social economy sector and those countries, where social economy does not have a long tradition and is not fully recognized by public authorities. The Network consists of working groups tackling with 5 identified key subjects: 1. Social franchising; 2. Financial instruments and s of funds allocation to social economy; 3. Measuring social added value and quality standards; 4. Social responsible public procurement and public social partnership; 5. Community law for state aid and social services of general interest. Financial instruments and s of funds allocation to social economy strand and its activities The aim of the Financial instruments Strand, which is led by the Czech Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (ESF HRE OP MA), is to contribute to implementation of more efficient and complex s of financial support in the new EU programming period or to streamline existing support, to increase the impact of support from public sources and to contribute to better expertise of staff involved in the implementation of support from the ESF or ERDF. Activities of working group Financial instruments are focused on: 1) The identification of financial instruments and s of financing, particularly in countries of NBFSE partners; 5

6 2) The analysis of financial instruments, the process of their shaping, aims, conditions for the recipient, ensuring capacities, and monitoring and evaluation systems); 3) The assessment of strengths and weaknesses, transferable elements, the role of ESF (ERDF) and 4) The evaluation of the legal framework for the implementation of financial instruments. The strand Financial instruments and s of funds allocation to social economy organized or participated in several meetings such as Seminar which took place on March 2011 in Warsaw, Poland where results/conclusions (regarding definition of social enterprises, regulation and legal system of social entrepreneurship in participating countries, system of tax incentives and subsidies for social entrepreneurs, grants, banking instruments etc.) were presented and discussed. The Prague peer review (on 8-9th November 2011 in Prague) was focused on deepening and intensifying the discussion and sharing of the selected practises - the needs of social enterprises and specifics of their funding, JEREMIE Initiative - ERDF, examples from Poland, and ESF, implemented in Lombardy, Italy. During this meeting ESF grant s were also discussed, their role in promoting social enterprises in the CR and Poland. Participants could also familiarize themselves with the preparation of microcredit scheme for social enterprises, which should be funded from the ESF Human Capital OP in Poland. Preliminary findings and proposed recommendations were reflected by partners at the NBFSE common meeting in Milano, Italy, on 5-6th December The last financial instruments strand event - workshop on public-private initiatives on finance for social economy, which was held in Prague, the Czech Rep. on the 12th of March 2012, was focused on instruments and s developed in Belgium- Flanders by the two key organization in this field - Hefboom and Trividend. 6

7 1. Social economy environment in participating countries and regions 1.1. Attitudes to social entrepreneurship The understanding of social economy and social entrepreneurship in participating countries and regions is varied, nevertheless it is possible to determine common features as achieving social objectives (society, community), and social enterprises are independent legal entities. The differences are in the regulation of social entrepreneurship (special legal form vs. traditional profit or non-profit legal forms), and in attitudes how to distribute profit (total absence of any profit-making features vs. rules of profit sharing between shareholders and the future company activities e.g. investment activities). The Czech Republic (CR) The Czech concept of social enterprises is broad with great emphasis on economic and social objectives (business and social missions) that should be in balance. Most of the existing social enterprises in the CR are focused on the employment of disadvantaged people (the so-called integration social enterprises). Many of them have the status of sheltered workshops that employ people with disabilities. In addition to the above mentioned integration social enterprises in the Czech Republic there are also social enterprises that provide charitable services in the field of social inclusion and community development activities including the environmentally-oriented (green) enterprises or enterprises selling fair trade products. Nongovernmental organizations run a social business (or would like to begin with) in their complementary activities in order to use profits to fund their core charitable activities / mission. Most of the existing social enterprises engage persons with disabilities, which is influenced by tradition and relatively clearly defined subsidies from employment services and status of this type of disadvantage compared to other types. But we can also find businesses that employ Roma, young people leaving orphanages, homeless people, people with drug history, etc. Social enterprises in the CR take different legal forms - it depends on specific conditions, the type of services / products or access to the founders. 7

8 There is no legal definition of social enterprises, though some factual and technical requirements have to be fulfilled while asking for start-up grants or development phase (scaling-up) grants from the ESF and the ERDF global grants (e.g. at least 40% of disadvantaged employees, over 51% of profit to be reinvested, principles of local development, empowerment of employees). The eligible applicants are enterprises or self-employed individuals. These forms of business legal entities are eligible: limited liability company, joint stock company, limited partnership, cooperative, public company and business legal entity operating under the authority pursuant to special legislation. The applicants may also be some nongovernmental organizations - nonprofit societies and registered religious legal persons. Poland In Poland social enterprises run a business focused on social objectives (spend profits for social purposes), i.e. social cooperatives, vocational rehabilitation facilities, mutual insurance companies, public benefit organizations, non-profit organizations, companies belonging to non-governmental organizations, labour cooperatives, mutual guarantee and loan funds (including microfinance institutions) and NGOs involved in economic activities. Their goal is to maximize social benefits, such as providing high quality public services, promoting local development and the restoration of dignity and economic independence of the socially excluded people. Flanders, Belgium Broad spectrum of social firms operates in Flanders. Most of them work as an integration firms (providing neighbourhood services, insertion companies, sheltered workshops, social workshops), they are recognized as support structures (start centres, financiers solidiars, advisory centre). There are also other entities with social goals as primary focus (co-operations - officially recognized). Traditionally, social enterprises opt for the legal status of a cooperative or an association or a mutual benefit company or foundation. Now other forms are also possible as nonprofit organizations, co-operative companies, accredited co-operatives (accredited by 8

9 National Council of Co-operatives if the articles of association include principles of democratic approach during general assembly with equal right to vote, limitation of dividend up to 6%), European co-operatives, social purpose company, activity cooperatives (provide support to jobless people to activate them and test out their selfemployment activity) etc. The United Kingdom The UK Office of the Third Sector in the Cabinet Office defines social enterprise as A social enterprise is a business with primarily social objectives whose surpluses are principally reinvested for that purpose in the business or in the community, rather than being driven by the need to maximise profit for shareholders and owners. The social enterprise in the UK has a long history, from the cooperative movement and mutual organisations to the long-standing trading activities of many charities. Social enterprises use a wide variety of legal forms. Community interest company (CIC) represents a legal form created specifically for social enterprises. It has a social objective that is "regulated" ensuring that the organisation cannot differ from its social mission and that its assets are protected. An industrial and provident society (IPS) is the usual form for cooperatives and community benefit societies, and is democratically driven by their members in order to ensure their involvement in the decisions of the business. Companies limited by guarantee or shares are the most common legal structure for businesses and often considered to be the most flexible, particularly companies limited by shares (they have a social mission written into their Memorandum and Articles of Association), entities with charitable status. There are more than 62,000 social enterprises in the UK, employing over half a million people, with a combined turnover of more than GBP 27bn a year. Sweden In Sweden social enterprises do business aimed at integrating people into society and working life, and empowering employees. They re-invest their profits on their own or 9

10 similar nature and of are independent of the public sector. Some of the social enterprise activities are focused on the rehabilitation and labour-oriented services that are provided for remuneration from the public administration. In addition, social enterprises produce goods and/or services that are being sold in markets for individuals, companies or public sector. Lombardy, Italy In Lombardy stakeholders emphasize primarily the business dimension of social enterprises. In accordance the Italian civil code the definition of enterprise can be considered as social enterprises. Social enterprises are defined by law No 118/2005. This Act establishes the criteria that an enterprise must satisfy in order to be considered as social enterprise, and thus had the opportunity to benefit from special tax and financial support. The social enterprises have to fulfil two criteria: social utility and total absence of profit-making features. Cooperative enterprises and social cooperatives established and functioning in accordance with Italian civil code and specific laws are significantly represented. They are focused on providing social services and employment of disadvantaged people and prioritizing social aspects of the business. The new period of development of social economy was initiated by the Act No. 381/1991 on social cooperatives (amended in 2001). Social cooperatives are the most common legal form of social enterprises. The Act provides the following two possible types of cooperatives: Type A: regularly produce and distribute social health and educational services (e.g. kindergarten). Type B: integrating people with disabilities and people into social production, which have to be tailored to the needs of employees (at least 30% of employees are disadvantaged). They represent a classic small production unit, production team or team providing other services. The social team as other teams follows the rule "one member - one vote" regardless of the amount of the individual members' deposits. Any team consists of at least 7 people. 10

11 Finland Finland still has no definition of social enterprise, on the other hand the law concerning integration social firms has been already issued. At least 30 % of the personnel must be either persons with disabilities or a mix of those and long-term unemployed persons and at least 50 per cent of the revenue come from business. Legal forms and lines of action of a social enterprise can be freely chosen. The social enterprise is entered in the register of social enterprises maintained by the Ministry of Employment and the Economy. Small cooperatives and associations with economic activity could also be included as well as some social firms focused on integration on labour market. The concept of social entrepreneurship is just rising and undergoing broad discussion. There are 154 registered Social Enterprises in Finland (May 2010) Legal and institutional framework - barriers and development factors The legal system and regulation does not create an immediate barrier to business development. However traditional legal forms of profit oriented entities are subject to specific requirements relating to their status - to maximize profits in enterprises (which is not the purpose of social entrepreneurship), restrictions on business opportunities in the different forms of NGOs (foundations, charities). However, if we turned the question in the sense: Does the legal system provides an appropriate support of social enterprises?, most of the countries and regions indicated that the system does not provide sufficient support for the operation and development of social enterprises. In other words, entrepreneurs in the social economy in some countries faced with insufficient institutional support from the government. The natural development of entrepreneurship was in some countries previously interrupted as an outcome of suppression of civil society. The lack of institutional support can significantly slow the development of social entrepreneurship (situation in the Czech Republic). It is also emphasized the lack of co-ordination between the various support 11

12 systems and policies (government bodies) which makes it difficult for individuals to participate in social enterprise (mentioned by Sweden). Another barrier is the lack of information on social economy and social enterprises, undeveloped system of collecting statistical information, but also the lack of dissemination of information in a way how to promote social enterprises. This is related to the availability of quality consulting services for starting a business. It is needed to take the next steps to increase motivation and sharing knowledge of business, so that future social entrepreneurs were able to detect and take advantage of business opportunity, to design a business plan that will take into account the social dimension in business as well as sustainability. It seems that public administration in many countries is not ready to take advantage of huge potential associated with a growing dynamism of social entrepreneurship. It is necessary to set up complex schemes combining traditional instruments of active employment policies - such as education, training, among other things aimed at strengthening business skills, ability to formulate a business plan and manage their own business. Support of development of social entrepreneurship requires a close coordination of activities in the field of employment policy, social inclusion, small and medium business, formal education, etc. It seems that in some countries and regions has created support s, containing all the above elements leading to the effective promotion of social entrepreneurship (Flanders). However, the expansion of social entrepreneurship and the ability to compete with other businesses, brings the need to clarify (modify) the application of state aid rules (e.g. block exemptions, SSGI) an issue focused by NBFSE Strand lead by Flanders. Support from public funds and use of social clauses in the case of public procurement is often avoided due to the creation of unequal market position and harming competition (outputs of researches and debates in Poland or the Czech Republic) 2. 2 Community law, state aid and social services of general interest NBFSE strand, and Social responsible public procurement and public social partnership NBFSE strand deal this issue. 12

13 1.3. Subsidies and tax incentives in favour of social entrepreneurship One of the s that can be used in order to support social enterprises is the application of tax breaks and preferential accounting practices. It can be, for example, preferential amortization of assets and other accounting operations that accelerate the consumptions of costs during a year. In the case of reporting profits is often applied of deductible items, the creation of funds, as well as providing tax relief or tax remission. In Italy, the tax support system of social entrepreneurship is complex. It can considerably vary depending on the Region. Social enterprises are taken out of paying the tax on company s income (IRES tax in Italy). Regional law No 1/2008 provides a tax break for NGOs (among which we find social cooperative as well) which reduces workforce costs by 4.25%. The social enterprises do not pay taxes on profits if they are classified as indivisible reserve (i.e. reserves which cannot be distributed to the associates). Other legal support instruments - Law No 460/97 establishes that social enterprises have to be ONLUS i.e. non-profit making and socially useful. For this reason, they are entitled to other special terms such as the exemption from the stamp tax (i.e. a tax normally paid to produce official documents and certificates) and other specific taxes such the tax on government concessions. In Italy, Lombardy, there are tax subsidies on employees of social enterprises for social cooperatives in accordance with National law No 381/91. Social cooperatives employing disadvantaged people do not pay National Insurance contributions of those employees. Subsidies on newly created jobs for work integration of disadvantaged people (particularly disabled) benefit from regional funding known as Disabled Work Dowry. All taxpayers in Italy have the possibility to earmark a small percentage of the taxes they owe State (i.e. 5x1000) to support no-profit organisations (social enterprises as well as universities, research centres etc.). 13

14 The tax advantages not only concern social enterprises themselves, but also those that provide financial resources, capital for social enterprises. It can then act as a relief on income tax. In the UK specific tax incentive exists - Community Investment Tax relief which is due to finish in Community Investment Tax Relief in the UK The Community Investment Tax Relief (CITR) scheme, set up under the Finance Act 2002, offers a tax incentive to investors in accredited community development finance institutions. It is run jointly by HM Revenue & Customs and the Department for Business, Enterprise & Regulatory Reform. CITR was made possible by a state aid exemption by the European Commission, which will expire in CITR is available to any individual or company with a UK tax liability investing in an accredited community development finance institutions where the investment is held for at least five years. The taxpayer, who can either be an individual or company, receives a relief to offset against their income or corporation tax liability of 5% of the amount invested in the year the investment is made, and a further 5% in each of the subsequent four years. The total relief is worth up to 25% of the value of the investment. This tax relief is in addition to any interest or dividend paid by the community development finance institutions. Community development finance institutions lend and invest in deprived areas and markets that cannot access mainstream finance. They provide financial services to enterprises and individuals with the aim of achieving both financial and social returns. Federal and regional authorities set up a specific system of tax relief in Flanders. Wage subsidies and training for social enterprises are defined in the following regulations: - Decision of the Flemish Government on the recognition and financing the insertion companies - Decision on the criteria for recognition of sheltered workshops ( ), - Decision on an start impulse and support program for the surplus value economy ( ), - Decree on neighbourhood services lokale diensteneconomie ( ), - Decree on social workshops ( ), - Tax relieves/incentives for social economy investors. 14

15 Social firms can often use the support s that are generally designed to support the employment of disadvantaged persons. Subsidy is mainly for wages and social insurance payments. Subsidy has a character of the contribution to the payment of wages and other payments (social and health insurance). The Czech Employment Law defines three types of incentives for employment of disabled people provided by Labour Offices, which represents an important source of finance for social enterprises - subsidies on: - Creation of a new sheltered work place, - Creation of a new sheltered workshop (at least 60% of disabled employees) and - Time limited subsidy to compensate higher costs on disabled employees (for employer with at least 50% of disabled employees). Employment of persons with disabilities and other disadvantaged, supported within the active employment policy, is linked to creation of socially purposeful workplace. The purpose of the subsidy is financial coverage of extra expenses associated with the creation of new jobs adapted to the specific needs of employees (removal of architectural barriers, equipment, job aids, which allows removal of medical disability for work, but also ordinary purchase equipment that will be a new employee with disabilities in performing their work use). Another option is to cover the financial period during which a new employee is not yet due to its special difficulties to achieve normal performance at work (wage subsidies of up to 100% of gross wages designed for a maximum period of two years). This system is currently being transformed system of sheltered workshops will be replaced by protected jobs. The protected jobs will not be set up only in specific "protected" environment (sheltered workshops), but also at regular employers. There is also another measure to enhance employment of disabled persons companies with more than 25 employees can choose to buy products of sheltered workshops instead of their obligation to employ certain percentage (at least 4%) of disabled employees. 15

16 In Poland, subsidies on employees of social enterprises, subsidies on newly created jobs, social insurance exemptions and other subsidies related to social enterprises are particularly offered. In Finland are available subsidies for employing a disadvantaged person or long term unemployed (palkkatuki) that can be used by normal companies or social enterprises. There is a very little used subsidy for worker's co-ops which are established by unemployed people (3/4 of members). This is a subsidy for start-up, however it was only used by 2 cooperatives last year, so it is not well functioning. Palkkatuki-Salary Support The Ministry of Employment and Economic Development Office may grant a wage subsidy to the employer to pay the costs of an unemployed person, if the job seeker does not employ the open labour market, or if he (she) does investment in education. The Ministry of Employment and Economic Development Office considers the cases when the job seeker placement of the work can be promoted by providing wage subsidies. Salary aided work should be linked to improve an unemployed job seeker skills and labour market status and to promote long-term unemployed to have access to the open labour market. Wage subsidy consists of two parts, the basic support and additional part. In 2011 basic amount is EUR /day. Add-on varies from case to case, based on Employment and Economic Development Office's discretion. Some of the additional amount is up to 60% of basic amount, in some cases up to 90%. The amount is influenced by work of the applicant and employer-related issues. The social enterprises that employ persons difficult to place in the labour market may be granted for basic support plus the additional up to 90 %. Disabled or long-term unemployed may be granted for salary support plus an additional payment however, a maximum of EUR a month. Disabled hiring grant wage subsidies cannot exceed 75% of wage costs. Wage subsidies cannot exceed 50 per cent of salary costs, when the support of hire is for: 1) long-term unemployed; 2) people with difficulties getting employed; 3) people who have had an uninterrupted period of unemployment for at least six months prior to the pay support to; 4) people with no vocational training; 5) more than 50 years old; 16

17 6) people entitled to an integration plan for the integration of immigrants and asylumseekers in the Act on 11 of the Treaty. These limits apply to all employers. Wage subsidy vouchers The Employment and Economic Development Office give to job seeker wage subsidy voucher. Wage subsidy voucher shows that the employer may be granted for salary support for voucher holder. The conditions for granting aid are considered separately. 17

18 2. Financial instruments focused on social entrepreneurship in participating countries 2.1. Flanders In Flanders there is a wide range of tools supporting funding of social economy and social enterprises. The long and unbroken tradition of social entrepreneurship as well as a large number of social enterprises have led to the creation of s that allow the use of public funds, corporate resources or NGOs and citizens funds to finance the needs of social enterprises. Specialised institutions Hefboom, Trividend, Netwerk Rentevrij and Triodos offer a range of financial products for the social enterprises. The way they work and the origin of their capital differ, however they have been successful so far to match the needs of the social enterprises. Hefboom Hefboom was founded in 1985 as a cooperative society for ethical investing. It provides funding and advice to projects to work on a social and sustainable society. Hefboom offers ethical investment products for individuals, organizations, companies and public administrations. Organizations and companies with a social mission in Flanders and Brussels can lever in turn for various loans. Hefboom together with partner organizations supports employment and training initiatives for disadvantaged groups, projects in welfare, projects focused on environment and sustainability. Hefboom supports organizations in two ways: with short and long term loans and also with advice on various aspects of enterprise policy. The choice of such a complementary approach is deliberate: it guarantees a high level of expertise of the industry and enables us to keep in touch with all aspects of enterprise policy. The capital of the Shareholders is used to leverage projects with a social benefit of support. The shareholders are through the General Assembly involved in the investment policy in the way that they actively and knowingly participate in a social and sustainable society. Credits for companies: - Working capital Loans (for example inventory finance); duration 1 year, any extension must be approved, - Bridging Loans, to keep working until the grants are paid. Funding for up to 75% of the approved grants; duration is between 15 days and 12 months, - Investment Loans for purchase of materials and equipment, renovation and construction; duration varies between 1 year and 15 years, - Other instruments: guarantees, bonds and other tailored loans. 18

19 Microcredits - financing for bank-excluded people, in order to start up their own businesses. During the years 2007 to 2011 was provided The Solidarity Loan (269 credit requests processed, 45 proposed for approval to the Board, 22 approved.) From 2012 in a new microcredit involved The ImpulsKrediet. Objectives: 40 credits in 2012, 70 in 2013, 110 in 2014, 150 in The features are higher lending possibilities, more local embedding, better partnership with Business Support Services, funding guarantee, quality guaranteed. Distributive is based on partnership between Hefboom providing front office and back office, credit boards, coaching and Dexia Foundation - financial support, team of volunteer coaches engagement. Financing the instrument: 50% sources form Hefboom 50% SIFO (Social Investment Fund) (Cost: 2% p.a.) Guarantee is provided by Flemish Government Guarantee Facility (Participatiemaatschappij Vlaanderen): 75% (Cost: 0,5% p.a.) Expected Default Risk is from 15 to 25%. Hefboom own risk (= 9,38%) is covered by an intern guarantee fund (handling costs, maybe public and private grants). Operational costs are covered by grant from Agentschap Ondernemen (Flemish Government) for the handling costs 2 years, grant from Dexia Foundation. The ImpulsKrediet is intended for people who would like to launch their own business but who do not have access to bank credit (social welfare, starting business, debts, no guarantee etc.) No extra social conditions are required, but some activities are excluded, mostly those who do not match Hefboom s values or where Flanders doesn t have any advantage (pure import/export). The microcredit is demand by these typical target group: 50% is on welfare, ; majority lives alone; 40% women; group at risk to fall below the poverty line. The main aim of microcredit is social re-integration. Hefboom provides business support services in two stages. Prior the submission of application -coaching for the shaping a business plan if needed (Hefboom or Business Support Services) or Application form is a mini-business Plan: first serious selection. After:24 months active support provided by Dexia Foundation. Every credit borrowers has to be coached in order to limit the default risk The Flanders offer other financial instruments focused on launching the business development of SME i.e. ARKimedes venture fund, which is available to young highgrowth enterprise. The Business Angels Network is at the moment focused only on the regular economy, but it could be extended to the social economy. The ESF resources are particularly used for grants. The following financial s and instruments, particularly supported by public funds, are available in the region of Flanders. 19

20 Social Investment Fund (SIFO) Credits at non-market conditions. SIFO offers a solution to a markets deficiency, i.e. traditional banks are not interested in offering loans to the social economy at a rate that is acceptable by social economic organizations. Organizations from social economy often cannot obtain a loan from traditional banks because of higher risk involved, low amount of money required (high handling costs), lower return on projects in social economy making regular banks not interested, lack of guarantees. SIFO offers money at a discounted rate to intermediary financial organizations that meet certain criteria. These organizations can combine money with their own finance to offer organizations in the social economy loans at a discounted rate. Organisations that are part of the inclusion economy and are recognised as such by the Flemish government; Cooperatives; Organisations that want achieve beneficial goals for society (look further than financial profit) and in their daily activities honour the following principles: labour is more important than capital (profit), democratic decision making processes, transparency, attention to quality and sustainability. SIFO aims to support organizations in all phases of entrepreneurship. Conditions for intermediary organizations have to do with various themes such as experience, knowledge of the sector, risk analysis, management of portfolio etc. Interested parties need to state the purpose of the loan, intermediary organizations have to follow up. SIFO offers co-financing up to EUR SIFO has a starting capital of EUR 7 million. Its aim is to raise this to 25 million and to become self sustaining, i.e. be able to exist without extra injection of money in the future. Yes; SIFO support falls under de minimis regime. Yes, it is possible to apply repeatedly. Yes, thanks to working through recognised financial organisations. Money is given by the Flemish government. Flemish government, Department of Work and Social Economy. Name of instrument/ Product Mission Distributive Target groups Conditions to apply The binding of purpose Range of support Amount of resources Possibility to combine with other instruments Sustainability, ability to apply repeatedly Coordination/harmo nization with nonpublic financial support Form of public participation Responsible 20

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