In the third panel discussion on new trends in microfinance, chaired by Mr. Neoklis Stamkos, Project Manager and CFO of KEPA, questions were raised about the next day of microfinance both in Greece and Europe as well. At the beginning of the discussion, Mr. Stamkos said that the percentage of businesses having access to bank financing in our country is very low, while only a quarter of the businesses applying for a loan manage to get approved. Therefore, the gap in our country is huge and needs to be exploited either internally or by foreign investors to create appropriate support structures and financial services for small and medium-sized Greek businesses.
Ms. Evelyne Oprel, International Relations Manager at the Dutch company Qredits, gave simple examples of the new trends in microfinance on European level, presenting the services provided by the company with maximum microfinance limit amounting to 50,000 Euro – while in Greece this amount does not exceed 25,000 Euro – the digital process of evaluating a microloan request, which is based on extremely high quality technological infrastructure, as well as the company’s recent collaboration with Singlify – afintech solutions provider – through a cross-sectoral system for loan and customer relationship management.
The transition from the traditional way of providing microloans to digital management of microloan requests was presented by Mr. Georgi Breskovski, Executive Director of Mikrofond, the primary microcredit provider created in Bulgaria. Despite all the issues faced by the Bulgarian market in terms of its citizens’ digital illiteracy, high costs of transition to the digital environment, delays in the implementation of technological applications on the part of suppliers, as well as security and privacy issues, the pandemic crisis has accelerated this transition.
Finally, Mr. Artur Monteanu, investor and advisor to GCD, a holding company in Moldova, highlighted the advantages of another new financial instrument, micro-equity, with a focus on social impact, giving successful examples of business models, including in Spain Bizkaia Seed Capital created by municipalities, and in the Netherlands Anders Invest created by farmers’ associations and the ForestEffect Fund which is strongly oriented towards businesses with a positive ecological footprint.