ESF Financial instruments supporting self-employment and entrepreneurship (Thematic Objective 8) in the 2014-2020 programming period, 18 May 2017, Vienna
Financial instruments can be co-funded by the European Social Fund (ESF) to promote sustainable and quality employment and support labour mobility (Thematic Objective 8) within ESF Operational Programmes in Member States and regions.
During the fi-compass workshop on 18 May 2017 in Vienna participants from ESF managing authorities, financial intermediaries and other stakeholders from a variety of Member States explored opportunities to use ESF financial instruments supporting this Thematic Objective in the 2014-2020 programming period.
Andrea Da Pozzo, Directorate General for Employment Social Affairs & Inclusion (DG EMPL), European Commission highlighted the launch of specific capacity building services available for ESF managing authorities and delivered by fi-compass.
Practical insights from the Entrepreneurship Promotion Fund 2014-2020 in Lithuania were presented by Rūta Dapkute, Ministry of Finance (managing authority) and Inga Beiliuniene, INVEGA (fund of funds manager). This highlighted the importance of specifying market gaps for self-employment and entrepreneurship, as well as the need to ensure geographical coverage of financial intermediaries.
Questions from participants and peer-to-peer discussions focused on the selection of financial intermediaries, combining financial instrument support with subsidies, performance related fees and eligible expenditure. Another topic of particular interest was the provision of training at all levels, including for managing authorities and financial intermediaries.
A second case study, of the Italian SELFIEmployment, was presented by Martina Rosato, ANPAL (managing authority) and Concetta Granato of Invitalia (financial instrument manager). This also emphasised the need to identify the needs of final recipients and, during implementation, the importance of communication at a local level especially when target groups are not easily reachable by traditional means.
Participants and speakers during the discussion round after the case study presentation, exchanged topics such as the timing for the ex-ante assessment, implementation without private investors, different levels of services for potential applicants and specific communication needs.
The two case studies presented during the workshop highlighted the importance of the ex-ante assessment in establishing market gaps and ways to address these. They also both emphasised the essential nature of non-financial services in maximising the effect of ESF support. Another common topic was communication, with each financial instrument requiring a different approach.
Participants stressed the relevance of the case studies, as well as the benefits of peer-to-peer discussions with speakers willing to share their experience. The networking opportunities with peers and speakers were also highly valued.