Microcredit insights from Hungary

Published on 22 April 2016

Small and micro-sized businesses form important parts of the Member States’ economies and fi-compass provides advice about financial instruments that can assist the growth potential of these companies. A dedicated fi-compass factsheet on ‘Financial instruments working with microfinance’ is one example of such advice.

Expertise in microfinance matters is also disseminated through fi-compass events. These have included the high profile workshop ‘Microfinance under the European Social Fund 2014-2020’ that took place in February. In addition, the EU Programme for Employment and Social Innovation (EaSI) is running a special series of seminars in Member States. Budapest was the location for a recent EaSI TA event which was organised in cooperation with the Hungarian Microfinance Network.

Hungarian experiences with microcredit offer useful insights for other countries, and a fi-compass case study shows how European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) support can assist financial instruments targeting microenterprises and SMEs. Information in this case study describes how the ‘New Széchenyi Combined Micro Credit and Grant’ initiative was developed and implemented.

A mix of grant and loan options were used here to help finance business growth opportunities for micro enterprises which either did not make use of credit or had limited access to financial resources. Some 140 smaller financial institutions from around Hungary were involved, including local business development centres and saving cooperatives.

Case study content explains the objectives of the fund, set up of the financial instrument, strategy, its achievements and lessons learned. These lessons have helped to inform the preparations for a new suite of Hungarian financial instruments that were presented during the fi-compass Member State seminar in Budapest from last month.