Programme Category

EU Competitive Programmes

Programme Name

European Social Fund +

Programme Description

The European Social Fund Plus (ESF+) is the European Union (EU)’s main instrument for investing in people.
Τhe ESF+ will continue to provide an important contribution to the EU’s employment, social, education and skills policies, including structural reforms in these areas.

Programme Details

Identifier Code





This call aims to further support the development of the social investment market and facilitate access to finance for social enterprises through grants to intermediaries in the social enterprise finance field to partially cover the transaction costs.

Detailed Call Description

Social enterprises play a key role in implementing many principles expressed in the EPSR, in particular:

  • Equal opportunities;
  • Active support to employment;
  • Secure and adaptable employment;
  • Inclusion of people with disabilities;
  • Long-term care;
  • Access to essential services.

The envisaged activities are based on the fact that the most important funding gap for social enterprises is below €500,000.
However, the transaction costs for such small tickets can be high which gives an incentive to social impact fund managers to focus on higher amounts in order to preserve the fund’s sustainability. This can lead to a mismatch between needed and sustainable ticket sizes.

Activities related to the preparation, conclusion and follow-up of long term risk capital investments into social enterprises may be funded under this call for proposals. This may include a mix of activities such as:

  • travelling to meet (potential) investees;
  • screening and processing investment applications;
  • preparing legal documents, potentially with a lawyers’ advice;
  • carrying out the due diligence, including assessing (potential) impact of the investment;
  • providing investment readiness, scaling readiness or business restructuring support;
  • bringing in co-investors;
  • managing the investments and monitoring social impact

Call Total Budget


Financing percentage by EU or other bodies / Level of Subsidy or Loan


Thematic Categories

  • Social Affairs & Human Rights

Eligibility for Participation

  • Investment Funds
  • Large Enterprises
  • Private Bodies
  • Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs)
  • State-owned Enterprises

Eligibility For Participation Notes

In order to be eligible, the applicants (beneficiaries and affiliated entities) must:

  • be legal entities (public or private bodies)
  • be established in one of the eligible countries, i.e.:
    • EU Member States (including overseas countries and territories (OCTs)
    • non-EU countries:
      •  listed EEA countries and countries associated to the ESF+ or countries which are in ongoing negotiations for an association agreement and where the agreement enters into force before grant signature (list of participating countries]
  • be an investment fund, a Fund-of-Funds, a special purpose vehicle, or a (co-) investment scheme in any form. There are two options available:
    •  either the legal entity of the investment fund, the Fund-of-Funds, the special purpose vehicle or the (co-) investment scheme can be an applicant;
    • or the organisation managing the investment fund, the Fund-of-Funds, the special purpose vehicle, or the (co-) investment scheme can be an applicant. For the avoidance of doubt, the managing organisation must already be an established and registered legal entity at the time of the submission of the application.

Call Opening Date


Call Closing Date


National Contact Point(s)

Directorate-General for European Programs, Coordination and Development
29 Vyronos Avenue, Nicosia
Tel:  +357 22-602883