The National Agency for Microcredit is a non-economic public body which performs important functions in the field of microfinance at national and international level. In particular:
• The promotion, orientation, facilitation, evaluation and monitoring of microfinance instruments promoted by the European Union and microfinance activities implemented under Community funds;
• The monitoring and evaluation of Italian microfinance initiatives;
• The promotion and support of microfinance programmes allocated to the economic and social development of the country, developing countries and transition economies.
The Agency's mission is to facilitate access to credit for microenterprises and for the most disadvantaged social categories, through the promotion of microfinance instruments, technical assistance, research, training and the dissemination of good practices.
The activity of the National Agency for Microcredit is oriented to support initiatives aimed at promoting the development of microenterprise and self-employment, the fight against poverty and the financial inclusion of those social categories defined as "non-bankable" due to the lack or absence of guarantees to offer to the traditional banking system.
For this purpose, the Agency developed a branched organisation over time, allowing it to oversee all the national territory and to cover a broad spectrum of production chains. A brief overview of the Agency's operational data:
- 163 Information Helpdesks for microcredit and self-employment activated at Municipalities, Employment Centres, Mountain Communities, Universities and Chambers of Commerce, with 245 Helpdesk Operators engaged in management and dissemination activities in favour of citizens and businesses;
- 710 Business Development Service (BDS) providers, trained and contracted by the Agency to accompany businesses from the time of drafting the business plan and for the whole period of the loan's amortisation. Tutors are registered on a mandatory National List established at the Agency which keeps and updates it pursuant to Art. 13, paragraph 1-bis of Decree Law No. 193 of 22 October 2016, converted with amendments by Law No. 225 of 1 December 2016;
- 36 Affiliated banking institutions, with 2,100 branches throughout the national territory, which have earmarked resources for microcredit transactions (an aggregate of resources amounting to over 220 million euro);
- 13,857 approved transactions (microcredit requests) of which 12,272 were finalised;
- 311 million euro disbursed in financing;
- A 2.43 leverage effect of Microcredit on employment for each financing;
- 34 thousand work units employed thanks to microcredit;
- 37.2 million euro of financing (EIS) entrusted to the Agency for the implementation of 12 projects of which 5 are active;
- 384 staff units employed in projects financed by European funds;
- 6.1 million euro in tax revenues generated by the Agency and by Community projects managed by the Agency.
Moreover, ENM carries out fundamental institutional functions in the process of drawing up and implementing programs for development and cohesion. In fact, it took part in the 2021-2027 programming of the new structural funds, as well as in the implementation of several international projects within the framework of the previous and current European funding period, thanks to which it has developed an intense aptitude as well as specialized technical skills for EU project design and management.
The Agency's planning activity is characterised by:
- A strong degree of transversality in terms of target beneficiaries, not necessarily configurable as persons in a state of absolute poverty or relative poverty, that is, characterised by low or medium levels of education. To the contrary, beneficiaries also include people with a high level of training and specialisation. Take, for instance, young people, women, migrants, NEETs, those who exited the labour market, ex-prisoners, startuppers, professionals, etc.;
- A strong degree of transversality in terms of intervention sectors: "traditional" economy sectors, which not only include crafts, commerce, services, culture, tourism, etc., but also innovative and high-tech sectors such as the digital economy for innovative firms and with growth potential, or the green economy;
- Full social, environmental and economic sustainability: in recent years, the Agency demonstrated its ability to ensure the continuity of projects initially financed under public funds. These are projects which not only fully achieved their pre-set goals, but were able to generate value even at the end of public financing, thanks to the sustainability which the Agency succeeded in giving them;
- A rich array of operating tools, through the ability to build integrated packages of specially-engineered financial products and services. In addition to microcredit, which undoubtedly represents the principal and most known component, tools that are particularly attractive for recipients are also available, such as microcroleasing, microinsurance, housing microfinance, microsavings and other instruments such as social impact bonds, green bonds, social lending and crowdfunding;
- A network approach, where the Agency acts as a rationalising facility for interventions that include more than 400 partnerships between public, private and third sector parties;
- A wide action, which includes, by way of example: the promotion, orientation and facilitation of microfinance instruments promoted by the European Union; the monitoring and assessment of microfinance initiatives; support and innovation of the legislative framework; the management and updating of the mandatory National List of microcredit tutors; capacity-building activities for the Public Administration, the private sector, the non-profit sector and other stakeholders; the engineering and development of financial models and instruments; the dissemination of the microfinance culture; financial education; the setting-up of Microcredit One-Stop Shops activated at local Italian Public Administrations; the creation of microfinance operator networks;
- A strong design capacity, consisting in the drafting of design initiatives in agreement with national and regional Management Authorities and in the implementation of national and international projects.
Below is a brief presentation on the principal projects implemented by the Agency in recent years.
Objective: support regular immigrants’ self-entrepreneurship projects through the training course “Pathways to Social and Work Inclusion for Regular Migrants and Asylum Seekers and Holders of International Protection”. Area: Basilicata, Campania, Calabria, Puglia and Sicily.
• Managing Authority: Ministry of the Interior - Department of Public Security
• Implementing body: National Microcredit Authority
• Financing body: PON Financing Legality 2014-2020 - Axis 4 Action 4.1.1
• Duration: 39 months
2. YES I START UP
Objective: provide NEETs with the skills to fully structure their business idea (by formalizing it in a business plan supporting the subsequent submission of a loan application), through the creation of targeted and personalized training courses. The young NEET will be:
• helped to recognize and develop his/her entrepreneurial attitudes
• trained on general notions of business management
• informed on the network of institutional actors and useful tools for doing business
The project is implemented under the responsibility of the National Microcredit Authority throughout the national territory, both directly and through identified partners.
In detail, the path is made of two sections:
• PHASE A: basic training modules with a total duration of 60 hours, to be provided in class and online;
• PHASE B: 20 hours of personalized technical assistance delivered individually or in small groups
Objective: promoted by Anpal and managed by Invitalia with the assistance of the National Microcredit Authority and under the supervision of the Ministry of Labor, SELFIEmployment is a fund that finances the launch of entrepreneurial initiatives promoted by young NEETs (18-29), through the granting of zero-interest loans.
The Fund finances investment plans between € 5.000 and € 50.000. Loans available are:
• microcredit, from € 5.000 to € 25.000; extended microcredit, from € 25.001 to € 35.000
• small loans, from € 35.001 to € 50.000
No interest is charged on the loans and no form of guarantee is required.
4. EMPLOY - Training and work for a sustainable alternative to migration in the rural areas of Wolayta, Ethiopia
Objective: the project, funded by the Italian Ministry of the Interior, has been developed in the Region of Wolaita and it aims to foster the sustainable development of farmers in the rural areas.
Its activities brought to the following results:
• 31 trainers informed and trained;
• 350 district leaders trained on microcredit and financial education issues;
• 84 subjects trained to manage both revolving and guarantee funds;
• 17 rural cooperatives have been granted a loan to finance microloans to their members;
• 105 local, district and regional administrators attended a capacity building course to strengthen their knowledge and skills.
5. Microcredit and employment services
Objective: create information counters for microcredit in public employment services, municipalities and chambers of commerce of 4 Italian regions (Puglia, Campania, Calabria and Sicily).
6. A.MI.CI - Access to Microcredit for Immigrant Citizens
• establish and coordinate a network of public, private and non-profit entities working for the integration of immigrant citizens, with specific reference to micro-entrepreneurship;
• define a shared model of access to microcredit.
7. “Microcredito DONNA” for the creation of micro-enterprises (run by women)
Objective: create women's entrepreneurial activities linked to microcredit.
8. MICRO-WORK: networking for microcredit and employment
Objective: set up a network of micro-credit information desks to be activated at the Employment Centers in all Italian regions.
9. Microcredit for tourism micro-enterprises
Objective: raise awareness among stakeholders, institutional and economic actors in the tourism sector of 4 Italian regions (Puglia, Campania, Calabria and Sicily) through the promotion and dissemination of knowledge of microcredit and microfinance instruments.
10. Monitoring the integration of labor policies with the local development policies of production systems in relation to microcredit and microfinance
Objective: monitor and evaluate microcredit initiatives activated in Italy to support employment and social integration of subjects excluded from access to credit.
11. Capacity Building on microcredit financial instruments
Objective: strengthen the public administration's competences in the field of microcredit and create partnerships with all operators in the sector.
12. M.I.C.R.O. - Migrants Ideas Converted into Real Opportunities - Erasmus+
Objective: create a professional figure able to support migrants at every stage of business administration trhough the creation, testing and implementation of an innovative methodology to be applied to an e-learning training path for microcredit operators and NGOs working with migrants interested in starting up entrepreneurship. The target will have the opportunity to acquire transversal competences both in the financial and intercultural communication sector.