The European Social Fund (ESF), one of the European Structural and Investment Funds, aims at enhancing employment and fairer life opportunities for all. It is the EU’s main tool for helping people to get a job (or a better job), integrating disadvantaged people into society and ensuring fairer life opportunities for all. It does this by investing in Europe’s people and their skills – employed and jobless, young and old.
The ESF has an overall budget of EUR 120.4 billion for 2014-2020. This support is targeted towards some 15 million people each year to enter into the job market or to improve their skills to find work in the future or for better social integration of certain disadvantaged individuals.
For further information about ESF, please visit the ESF website.
For preliminary information about financial instruments under the ESF, please consult the fi-compass factsheet on ESF financial instruments.
Financial instruments and the ESF
On this website, ESF stakeholders can ﬁnd a lot of useful and interesting information to improve their decision-making about ﬁnancial instruments.
Publications, including the Survey on current experiences and future views for ESF financial instruments under the ESF, a manual introducing financial instruments for the ESF, which gives an overview of the scope for financial instruments to promote inclusion, sustainable jobs and better education, and fi-compass manuals and factsheets on a number of topics, like social bonds, State aid applied to ESF financial instruments, microfinance, social entrepreneurship and personal loans, which dig deep into specific themes and help in further spreading the use of financial instruments within the ESF.
Event materials, such as presentations from the fi-compass ESF Conference 'Financial instruments funded by the European Social Fund – Boosting social impact (Brussels, 2018) or the material presented in thematic workshops like the Thematic workshop on social innovation and entrepreneurship held in Lisbon in 2019 or The role of social financial intermediaries in deploying financial instruments (Brussels, 2017).
Case studies, including first-hand knowledge from social economy and entrepreneurship promotion instruments, like the Entrepreneurship Promotion Fund in Lithuania, or the Italian SELFIEmployment, a financial instrument dedicated to NEETs, that can be found in the fi-compass website's library.
News articles provide updates on the latest developments relevant to the use of ESF financial instruments.
- Supporting the development of Social Finance Ecosystem in Member States under ESF
- Survey on ESF FIs – Report
- fi-compass study on the Social Impacts Bond programme under Portugal’s Social Innovation Initiative
- Setting up a microfinance financial instrument
- European Social Fund financial instruments and State aid
- Capacity building services on financial instruments in support of ESF managing authorities
- Factsheet – The European Social Fund
- Introducing financial instruments for the European Social Fund
- Financial instruments working with social entrepreneurship
- Financial instruments working with microfinance
- Financial instruments working with personal loans
- SELFIEmployment, Italy
- Entrepreneurship Promotion Fund, Lithuania
- Financing the social economy, Poland
- Creating new jobs and entrepreneurship through financial instruments Mazovia, Poland
- JEREMIE ESF Lombardy, Italy
- ESF guarantee fund for social inclusion Marche, Italy
- Mikromezzaninfonds, Germany
- Central Denmark Entrepreneurship Fund, Denmark
- Microcredits for Social Inclusion, France
- ESF Microcredit Fund Campania, Italy
- Financial Engineering Instruments for SMEs, Slovenia (ESF-ERDF)
- Ex-ante assessment for financial instruments in Slovakia (ESF-ERDF)
- Thematic workshop on social innovation and entrepreneurship, Lisbon, Portugal
- ESF Financial Instruments for Social Impact: The Portuguese Social Innovation Initiative, Brussels
- Second fi-compass ESF Conference‘Financial instruments funded by the European Social Fund – Boosting social impact’, Brussels
- ESF financial instruments supporting employment, entrepreneurship and social inclusion in the 2014-2020 programming period, Rome, Italy
- The role of social financial intermediaries in deploying financial instruments under the European Social Fund in the 2014-2020 programming period, Brussels
- ESF financial instruments supporting social inclusion in the 2014-2020 programming period, Madrid, Spain
- ESF financial instruments supporting self-employment and entrepreneurship (Thematic Objective 8) in the 2014-2020 programming period, Vienna, Austria
- Financial instruments under ESF and EFSI, including microfinance – European and Italian perspectives, Rome, Italy
- Microfinance under the European Social Fund (ESF) 2014-2020, Brussels
- Financial Instruments under the European Social Fund (ESF), Brussels
- Financial Instruments for delivery of the ESF, Warsaw, Poland
- Financial Instruments for delivery of the ESF, Rome, Italy
- Financial Instruments for delivery of the ESF, Paris, France