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Sectors: Employment, SME Policy, Social Affairs

Regions: European Union

Category: Call for proposals

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Responsible: European Commission

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DG Employment – Operating grants 2021 to EU level networks – 2020
Funds for: ensuring awareness, contribution to and implementation of EU level policies and initiatives in the areas of the promotion of social inclusion and poverty reduction and supporting the implementation of the financial instruments for microfinance and social entrepreneurship

Priorities and funded actions:

Objectives
* Area 1: European level networks active in promoting social inclusion and poverty reduction
– Support the development, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of initiatives undertaken towards the policy objectives of, among others, the Political Guidelines of the Commission, the EPSR, the SDG and the Social Investment Package (SIP). Where relevant, links can also be made with the European Disability Strategy 2010-2020 or its potential follow-up. Significant emphasis shall be put on supporting the development, dissemination, and implementation of innovative policies;
– Support the main EU-driven processes such as the European Semester and the Open Method of Coordination (OMC) regarding social protection and social inclusion;
– Support stakeholders’, and in particular national member organisations’, involvement in the dissemination and implementation of the main political EU-driven processes, and encourage cooperation with other civil society organisations and social partners’ organisations both at EU, national, regional and local levels;
– Provide data and strong evidence-base on policy developments and trends, as well as collection of relevant information about citizens’ concerns and good practices in the social policy field in the Member States, including information on the impact of different policies on citizens and their social situation, to contribute to better policy making;
– Strengthen the capacity of EU-level networks of NGO and their national members, including their knowledge of relevant EU matters, in order to (i) support implementation of EU priorities, and (ii) make better use of the various EU funds available to support this objective (i.e., ESIF, FEAD, EFSI). This also includes improving the sustainability of their work, their organisational functioning and their cooperation mechanisms

* Area 2: European level networks active in the promotion of access to finance on the demand and supply side of microfinance or social enterprise finance markets
– Support the Commission in its outreach activities at EU, national and local level with the aim of ensuring the implementation of European policies in the area of microfinance and social enterprise finance (e.g. ESF and EaSI financial instruments and measures and their successor under the InvestEU Fund and ESF+, Social Economy Action Plan);
– A clear link between multiple activities of the Commission in the field of access to finance shall be envisaged. In particular, the focus should be on the Commission’s activities in building microfinance and social investment markets in Europe. Promoting the “Better Entrepreneurship” self-assessment tool for inclusive and social entrepreneurship policies and programmes remains an important communication priority. Moreover, activities can also focus on communicating about the upcoming Action Plan on Social Economy;
– Reinforcing the capacity of the network’s members, including through offering a platform for the exchange of good practices in the relevant field, and raising awareness about relevant EU policies;
– Voicing the needs, concerns and expectations of organisations facilitating access to finance to (potential) entrepreneurs from disadvantaged and underrepresented groups / social enterprises. Focus should be put also on assessing the impact that the EaSI financial instruments have on the microfinance and/or social finance markets, and on identifying needs and expectations for the next programming period;
– Providing data/research on developments, trends and practices in the field. Data/research should provide input for policy design in the areas of microfinance or social enterprise finance. The focus can be put on broad overviews as well as on specific niche topics related to the field

Among financed actions
* Analytical activities, such as (i) the collection of data and statistics; (ii) the development of common methodologies and, where appropriate, policy analyses and recommendations; (iii) the monitoring and assessment of relevant legislation, policies and practices, including the development of statistics and indicators or benchmarks; (iv) studies, researches, analyses and surveys; (v) mapping projects, evaluations; (vi) the elaboration and publication of guides, reports and educational material; (vii) workshops, seminars, experts’ meetings and conferences;
* Training activities, such as staff exchanges, workshops, seminars, capacity-building actions, train-the-trainer events, and the development of online training tools or other training modules;
* Actions aiming at the creation and improving of networks, mutual learning, cooperation, awareness-raising and dissemination activities, such as:
– The identification of, and exchanges on, good practices, innovative approaches and experiences; (ii) the organisation of peer reviews and mutual learning;
– The organisation of conferences, seminars, media campaigns, including in the online media, information campaigns, including institutional communication on the political priorities of the EU as far as they relate to the objectives of the programme EaSI;
– The compilation and publication of materials to disseminate information about the programme EaSI and its results;
– Regular information on EU social and employment policy issues (e.g. newsletters and mailings), the development, operation and maintenance of systems and tools using information and communication technologies, development of web pages or a helpdesk for members

Additional information
* This call for proposals is an open call for proposals

* Initial duration of the action: up to 12 months

* Eligibility:
– Proposals can only be submitted by organisations having signed a Framework Partnership Agreement with the European Commission for the period 2018-2021, following the 2017 Call for Proposals VP/2017/015;
– Proposals may not involve consortia

* The action must take place in EaSI countries. However, where the participation of the beneficiary’s representatives to events organised by International Organisations outside the eligible countries is directly linked to its work programme and essential for achieving its objectives, related travel and accommodation costs (departing from an eligible country) could be accepted as eligible