The InvestEU Fund is one of the three core pillars of the InvestEU Programme. It brings together under one roof a range of previous EU financial instruments. It aims to boost investments in areas currently characterised by market failures or investment gaps over the period 2021-27. The EU provides a €26.2 billion guarantee to cover the risk of investments which is expected to crowd in private and public investments and mobilise an additional €372 billion.


What is it?

What are the investment target areas? 

The programme aims to contribute to key EU policy objectives, such as supporting sustainable recovery, innovation and job creation in the European Union. For this reason, the InvestEU Fund targets investments in four different policy windows: social investment and skills; sustainable infrastructure; research, innovation and digitisation; and small and medium-sized enterprises.  

Particularly of interest to social investors is the “social investment and skills window”, with a budget of €2.8 billion of the EU guarantee. This window aims to deliver on the principles of the European Pillar of Social Rights by supporting:

  • Microfinance and social enterprises
  • Social impact and innovation
  • Education, training and skills
  • Social infrastructure and services (including health and educational infrastructure, and social and student housing)

What are the financial instruments available? 

Counter guarantees, guarantees, subordinated loans or equity products to invest, co-invest and build capacity.

How can I access the InvestEU Fund? 

The InvestEU is managed indirectly, this means that the fund is allocated by implementing partners. The main implementing partner is the EIB Group (comprised of the EIB and EIF), responsible for the implementation of 75% of the EU guarantee (€11billion of the €26.2 billion), given its experience and capacity to operate in all EU member states. Other international financing institutions and national promotional banks are responsible for the remaining 25%. Social investors will be able to access the fund by engaging directly with one of the different implementing partners.

Who can apply? 

Implementing partners can also provide financing directly to final recipients (e.g. businesses, NGOs, etc.) or indirectly through private or public financial intermediaries who can then provide support to the final recipients.

Different financial intermediaries and final beneficiaries will be targeted according to the policy windows and depending on the criteria set to the different financial instruments designed by the implementing partners.

Financial intermediaries or implementing partners of the InvestEU must invest in project promoters that are natural or legal persons established in an EU country or in eligible third countries (depends on the agreement they have with the EU to access funding programmes), including: 

  • Private entities
  • Public-sector entities and public-sector type entities
  • Mixed entities, such as public-private partnerships (PPPs) and private companies with a public purpose
  • Non-profit organisations

Am I eligible to apply for the InvestEU Fund? 

The InvestEU eligibility criteria is defined in the InvestEU regulation and in the investment guidelines. For the InvestEU products implemented by the EIB group, visit the European Investment Fund (EIF) page on calls for expression of interest.

Moreover, valid investment projects under InvestEU must:

  • Address market failures or investment gaps 
  • Need EU backing in order to get off the ground
  • Projects must be economically viable
  • Achieve a multiplier effect and where possible crowd-in private investment
  • Help meet EU policy objectives 

Blending opportunities

The InvestEU Fund can be combined with grants or financial instruments (or both). When a project uses EU grants and InvestEU, the InvestEU rules will apply to the entire project. This means a single rulebook and a major simplification compared to the past.


Financial Products

Equity Product

The European Investment Fund (EIF), as an InvestEU implementing partner, is in charge of deploying a further €6.5bn in equity to the market in various policy areas, grouped into Thematic Strategies and Horizontal Priorities.

Thematic Strategy

Under the Thematic Strategies, financial intermediaries applying to InvestEU equity product will be expected to address in their investment strategy one or more of the listed activity sectors, such as Capital Markets Union, Enabling Sectors, Climate & Environmental Solutions, Digital & Cultural and Creative Sectors, and Social Impact. The most relevant strategy to social investors is the equity product for “Social Impact”.

Social Impact: The strategy focuses on social impact investments contributing to the implementation of the European Pillar of Social Rights, the European Education Area and the European Skills Agenda.

Who can apply for this equity product? Under the InvestEU equity product dedicated to social impact, the EIF will provide equity investments and co-investments to, or alongside, funds in the areas of venture capital, private equity, private credit, including fund-of-funds, cross-over funds, (co-) investment schemes, special purpose vehicles in any form that undertake long term risk capital investments in the form of equity, preferred equity, hybrid debt-equity instruments, tailor-made debt financing, other types of mezzanine financing, Payment-by-Results investment schemes and/or social impact bonds investment schemes, excluding entities targeting buy-out (or replacement capital) intended for asset stripping. These financial intermediaries may pursue generalist, specialised or mixed investment strategies.

Moreover, financial intermediaries must invest in a least one of the following final beneficiaries:

  1. Social entrepreneurship: Investments aimed at supporting social enterprises
  2. Social Impact Investing & Social Innovation: Investments aimed at supporting impact-driven enterprises and investments in Social Outcomes Contracts supporting social sector organisations
  3. Skills and Education: Investments aimed at supporting social enterprises and/or impact-driven enterprises and/or social sector organisations pursuing activities related to skills and education


Horizontal Priority

The InvestEU equity product also aims to address financing gaps in horizontal policy areas. In addition to the thematic strategies, financial intermediaries may choose to address one or more of the InvestEU Equity horizontal policy priorities in their investment strategies, such as female representation, innovation cohesion, IPO, tech transfer and business angels. Contributing to these cross-cutting policy priorities in the various thematic areas under the equity pillar may contribute to the positive assessment of a fund manager’s investment proposal and eventually impact the EIF’s investment commitment to the fund.

  • Female representation: the EIF aims to foster the economic empowerment of women and increase the participation of women in the fields of venture capital and private equity. Financial intermediaries are contributing to this policy priority if they comply with at least one of the InvestEU’s Gender Criteria.
  • Business Angels: financial intermediaries contributing to this policy priority are those managed by a business angel or pursuing strategies that aim at co-investing with business angels to finance innovative companies. 
  • Innovation Cohesion: This policy priority aims at building a cohesive European innovation ecosystem. Financial intermediaries contributing to this policy priority are those investing in countries lagging behind in innovation,  known as Moderate or Emerging Innovator Countries  (MEICs). These countries are classified according to the European Innovation Scoreboard 2021.
  • IPO initiative: The InvestEU IPO Initiative seeks to strengthen the EU’s public market ecosystem by supporting investment funds targeting pre-IPO and/or public equity market investments in European SMEs and Mid-Caps on EU trading venues in line with the InvestEU IPO Initiative.
  • Technology Transfer: Financial intermediaries contributing to this policy priority target technology transfer in their investment strategy, such as supporting activities converting R&D, skills & knowledge into commercial applications, products, processes or services; and/or activities fostering the application of existing technologies in new areas. 

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Guarantee Product

The European Investment Fund (EIF), as an InvestEU Implementing Partner, is in charge of deploying a further €10 billion of debt financing to the market, across six core products. Social investors can access the InvestEU guarantee product under three portfolios: the Microfinance and Social entrepreneurship Portfolio; Skills and Education Portfolio and the Sustainability Portfolio for Social Accessibility investments. 

Microfinance and Social entrepreneurship Portfolio

The InvestEU Microfinance & Social Entrepreneurship Guarantee aims to bridge the funding gap for micro-borrowers and micro-enterprises and social enterprises. The final goal is to support quality and sustainable employment and social inclusion through entrepreneurship and activities generating income, in particular for persons in vulnerable situations who wish to start up or develop a micro-enterprise, including on a self-employed basis.

Who can apply?

  • Microfinance: The eligible financial intermediaries are banks, non-banks, credit cooperatives, leasing companies. Moreover, intermediaries must be investing in eligible final beneficiaries, such as natural persons, self-employed and microenterprises that experience difficulties accessing credit for the purpose of professional and revenue-generating activities.
  • Social entrepreneurship: The eligible financial intermediaries are banks, non-banks and credit cooperatives, which are investing in eligible final beneficiaries, such as social-enterprises and any entity developing an entrepreneurial activity, which has as its primary objective the achievement of measurable positive social impact, reallocates profits to achieve its social objective, and is managed in an entrepreneurial, participatory, accountable and transparent manner.

Skills & Education Portfolio 

The Skills & Education Portfolio under the guarantee product supports investments in skills, education and training. 

Who can apply?

Financial intermediaries provide financing to eligible final recipients, such as students and learners, entities investing in skilling their workforce, entities supplying education & training and entities supplying services ancillary to education.

Sustainability Portfolio 

The Sustainability Portfolio under the guarantee product aims to provide access to debt finance for SMEs, small mid caps, natural persons and housing associations whose investments contribute to the green and sustainable transformation of the European economy. The entry point for social investors under this portfolio is the “social accessibility investments”.

Who can apply for the “Social Accessibility Investment”?

Social investors funding SMEs or Small Mid-Caps that enter into transactions that meet social accessibility investments. Financial intermediaries can apply for this portfolio if investments are designed to enhance accessibility of services, products and infrastructures and to develop assistive technologies as well as for making the organisation and its premises accessible for customers and employees with disabilities and/or impaired function. 


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Capacity Building Investment Product

The InvestEU Capacity-Building Investment Product (CBI product) provides repayable finance for financial intermediaries to improve their institutional capacity in order to better serve their target groups in the areas of microfinance, social entrepreneurship and skills and education. The CBI product is available to financial intermediaries that have not yet reached sustainability or that are in need of risk capital to sustain their growth and development in this space. 

Which financial instruments are available? Subordinated loans.

Who can apply? Financial intermediaries eligible for this product are those providing financing to/or serving the Target Areas of microfinance, social entrepreneurship and skills & education. It includes banks, guarantee institutions, crowd-financing platforms, microfinance institutions, non-bank financial institutions, loan and/or investment funds, credit unions, education & training providers, among others.

Financial Intermediaries must also be established and operating in any member state of the EU or overseas country or territory.

How is the CBI product supporting my organisation? The capacity-building investment product supports financial intermediaries in:

  • Organisational capacity: investments in organisational development and expansion
  • Operational capacity: strengthening operational and institutional capabilities aiming at contributing to the sustainability of the financial intermediary
  • Debt capacity: institutional capacity building to increase the indebtedness capacity of financial intermediaries while supporting them to retain a balanced socio-commercial profile


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