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AFI Greece

AFI, Greece

AFI provides access to finance and Business Development Services (BDS) to small, disconnected entrepreneurs.

AFI provides access to finance and Business Development Services (BDS) to small, disconnected entrepreneurs.

The financial crisis in Greece has brought about unprecedented unemployment rates and multiple socioeconomic consequences, including a low appetite for risk among Greece’s leading banks. The banking sector’s exclusion of small entrepreneurs from higher risk groups is a significant limitation, affecting people’s capacity to bounce back. This is compounded by the fact that Small and Medium Enterprises in Greece employ more than 50% of the working population.

To address this issue, Action Finance Initiative (AFI) helps small and aspiring entrepreneurs access the credit they need to launch their own venture – or to keep an existing business afloat – by supporting them in the loan application process for microloans with its banking partners.

AFI’s support goes to those who are least likely to get access to traditional funding from mainstream financial institutions, for example, micro and first-time entrepreneurs, many of whom are women, youth, people from a migrant background or from Greece’s disadvantaged rural areas. Not only does AFI help these entrepreneurs with their loan applications, it also offers tailored advice and training before, during and after the creation of their businesses to strengthen their sustainability.

In 2020, a Greek banking law was modified to provide more growth space for the country´s microfinance ecosystem. This will enable non-banking institutions like AFI to become lending entities themselves, and provide microcredit to struggling entrepreneurs.

This has been a crucial milestone for AFI, which has been at the forefront of advocacy efforts and consultations with government. AFI is now on the road of transformation, hoping to become an official micro-finance institution by 2021. This is an outstanding success for AFI, a pilot that the Foundation helped to launch in 2016 and that is today a leader in microfinance services in Greece.

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