The Catalan Institute of Finance (ICF) organised a workshop with the Third Sector Board to present its lines of social economy financing to companies and entities in this field. Around 90 companies and entities from the Third Sector attended the conference.
In the last five years, the Institut Català de Finances (ICF) has financed nearly 200 projects linked to the social economy for an overall amount of 56.9 million euros.
The Catalan public financial entity announced these figures in the workshop it organised jointly with the Third Sector Board to inform the companies and entities involved in this area of the various products and financial instruments it has available to the social economy. The workshop in Barcelona was attended by some 90 companies and entities from the third social sector.
The session was opened by the president of the Third Sector Board, Oriol Illa; the ICF CEO, Josep Ramon Sanromà; and the General Director of Social Economy, Third Sector, Cooperatives and Self-Entrepreneurship of the Generalitat de Catalunya, Josep Vidal.
The president of the Third Sector Board, Oriol Illa, stressed that the third sector “is also an economic fabric” and that “the crisis has affected us greatly”. However, he expressed his hope that “we have overcome the most difficult years”. In 2015, 67% of entities ended the year in surplus. However, “17.4% continue to have treasury stresses and 25.1% financial needs”. “We believe that it is very important to strengthen the relationship with the ICF as an alternative means of financing and we appreciate it because it is one of the measures agreed in the Generalitat’s Support Plan for the Third Sector”.
The ICF CEO, Josep Ramon Sanromà, expressed his gratitude for the work carried out by third sector entities and stressed that the entity he heads “has historically supported the social economy”. “For us it is strategic. In fact our dividends - as a public bank - are social dividends”. Sanromà recalled that during the crisis the ICF worked to cope with the treasury stresses, “now we have to promote growth and investment”. In this regard, he thanked the Department of Work, Social Affairs and Families for its support, “thanks to the joint work with the department, we have been able to increase our offer and expand the range of entities it is available to.
For his part, the General Director of the Generalitat’s Social Economy, Third Sector, Cooperatives and Self-Entrepreneurs Department, Josep Vidal, stressed that the main challenges facing third sector entities are currently “treasury and low capitalisation”. “The challenge is to strengthen the financial structure of the entities”. “These are the strategic lines along which we have to work together”.
During the workshop, Anna Àlvarez, the ICF’s General Director of Credit and Risk Investments, informed the attendees of the ICF’s financial instruments for third sector companies and entities, among which the most important are the loan facilities for the social and cooperative economy, which are used to finance investments, circulating capital needs, advances of contracts with the public sector and/or capitalisation of the companies themselves, with 80% of the operational credit risk being taken on by the Department of Work, Social Affairs and Families.
Subsequently, the director of the Sique Foundation, Samuel Esturo, and the manager of Tallers Guinardó, Imma Rigau, explained their experiences in the area of financing, and in particular, the financing solutions provided by the ICF. Esturo highlighted the personalised attention received from the ICF specialists throughout the course of the loan formalisation. For her part, Rigau explained the different financing operations that Tallers Guinardó has carried out with the ICF throughout its long history, valuing the fact that “the ICF has always shown confidence in our project”. “When we bought our first premises; when we moved to an industrial unit; and now we want to continue growing”.
Following the presentations, the ICF’s business team met individually with more than twenty companies and entities that wanted advice in relation to their financing needs.