SEFEA is the main operational tool of FEBEA.
SEFEA Holding Sc is a financial co-operative company incorporated under Italian law, founded in 2002, with the purpose of promoting and sustaining the development of ethical finance in Europe. Its operational headquarters are in Padua (Italy).
SEFEA’s funders are the main social and alternative financial institutions in Europe, which are also the ones bringing to SEFEA the projects in need of support. The company decides on a case-by-case basis which projects to finance, and collects the resources from the same members, acting as a pooling mechanism. Beneficiaries as well are requested to become members of SEFEA. Therefore, both social finance providers and beneficiaries are members of the company, creating a unique mix that has allowed the creation of bespoke and demand-driven instruments.
The financial support provided by SEFEA has triggered the launch or development of several other financial instruments supporting social economy around Europe, such as banks (for instance Cultura Bank in Norway, Merkur Bank in Denmark), dedicated funds (for instance CoopEst, dedicated to the development of small and medium-sized companies in Eastern European countries, or FEFISOL, dedicated to fostering microfinance in Africa and CoopMed, dedicated to support social economy in the MENA countries) and microfinance institutions (for instance KRK in Kosovo and PerMicro in Italy), having a relevant leverage effect. Indeed, several such initiatives have then been financed also by the EIF/EIB, and SEFEA itself has received a 2M € loan from the EIF to foster microcredit activities in Italy.
SEFEA has also invested directly in social businesses, supporting over 30 initiatives showing clear social and environmental added value and a potential replicability in Europe: from fruit producers in the post-war Bosnia Herzegovina to organic distributors in France; from Emmaus Communities in Poland to social hotels in Sweden; from workers buyouts to social cooperatives in Italy.
In addition to this, SEFEA S.C. has also provided technical assistance and consultancy to clients and other partners, recently launching a fully dedicated company: SEFEA Consulting.
Example of consultancy service offered recently:
- Development of Energy-efficiency projects for public authorities, engaging local social enterprises;
- Consultancy to the European Association of Service providers for Persons with Disabilities on access to EFSI funds for social enterprises in Europe;
- Consultancy to the main Italian Organic Food supplier on how to design a financial tool to support the development of the sector.
Examples of participated EU-funded projects recently:
- fostering the development of local financial instruments dedicated to social economy, with pilot tests in Italy and Sweden (VP/2013/017);
- developing an online platform to raise the awareness among citizens on financial issues, testing it in 6 countries (H2020-ICT-2015);
- supporting the launch of an EuSEF Fund in Croatia (VP/2013/017);
- fostering access to finance for green business entrepreneurs and start-ups in 10 countries in the South of the Mediterranean basin (SWITCHMED).