AFI provides access to finance and Business Development Services (BDS) to small, disconnected entrepreneurs.
(Programme concluded and no longer supported by the Trafigura Foundation)
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.
The partnership between AFI and Trafigura Foundation has spanned over four years, from the beginning of the organisation until 2021 when AFI started its preparations to become a licensed microfinance institution (MFI) under the new regulatory framework in Greece.
In 2021, Trafigura Foundation supported AFI with a grant towards the organisation's application for this licence and worked on all processes to ensure its operational readiness as the first independent MFI. This has been the perfect closure of a long-term alliance.