Sefea Holding Sc is a financial co-operative company incorporated under Italian law, founded in 2002, with the purpose of promoting and sustaining the development of ethical finance in Europe. Its operational headquarters are in Padua (Italy).
SEFEA’s funders are the main social and alternative financial institutions in Europe, which are also the ones bringing to SEFEA the projects in need of support. The company decides on a case-by-case basis which projects to finance, and collects the resources from the same members, acting as a pooling mechanism. Beneficiaries as well are requested to become members of SEFEA. Therefore, both social finance providers and beneficiaries are members of the company, creating a unique mix that has allowed the creation of bespoke and demand-driven instruments.
The financial support provided by SEFEA has triggered the launch or development of several other financial instruments supporting social economy around Europe, such as banks (for instance Cultura Bank in Norway, Merkur Bank in Denmark), dedicated funds (for instance CoopEst, dedicated to the development of small and medium-sized companies in Eastern European countries, or FEFISOL, dedicated to fostering microfinance in Africa and CoopMed, dedicated to support social economy in the MENA countries) and microfinance institutions (for instance KRK in Kosovo and PerMicro in Italy), having a relevant leverage effect. Indeed, several such initiatives have then been financed also by the EIF/EIB, and SEFEA itself has received a 2M € loan from the EIF to foster microcredit activities in Italy.
SEFEA has also invested directly in social businesses, supporting over 30 initiatives showing clear social and environmental added value and a potential replicability in Europe: from fruit producers in the post-war Bosnia Herzegovina to organic distributors in France; from Emmaus Communities in Poland to social hotels in Sweden; from workers buyouts to social cooperatives in Italy.