The Story of Dilbi

Sally Ghannoum is a Syrian singer, film-maker, and entrepreneur. Due to the war in Syria, she fled to Belgium with her family in 2015. She is now the owner of two successful restaurants and a cultural centre in Antwerp, and believes success comes from talent, love, art, and hard work. Sally lost her home but she carried her culture and the love of Syria in her heart when she decided to build a new home in Antwerp. Her new home is called Dilbi - Dilbi is the secret of her success and hope in life. Join Sally on her journey.

EaSI TA InvestEU, ESF : an update on the EaSI Programme successor

With the new MFF in light, we want to keep EMN members abreast of the EU's financing activities in support of the microfinance sector. After the current crises, the sectors work has become more relevant and the support to the sector has gained further attention. We will hear first-hand from the European Commission who will share the current status of EU support tools, specially the very successful Easi Guarantee and future plans under InvestEU and ESF+.

Preparing for the future while still managing the crisis

EaSI TA During the session participants will learn and interact on how MFIs with different business models and operating in very different contexts reacted to the COVID-19 crisis. What are/have been the main challenges and the impact on the MFIs? Which different actions were taken to support customers?

Participants will be also invited to reflect on the challenges that lay ahead of the sector and will debate on the identification of possible innovative solutions to support micro-entrepreneurs in the post-COVID recovery. What are the key lessons we can take for the future? What will be the “new normal” for MFIs?

Digital Solutions Marketplace: Meet your digital provider

With digitalisation becoming one of the hottest topics of these times, EMN will launch its new Digital Solutions Marketplace in Brussels. The microfinance sector is very active and has been instrumental in keeping entrepreneurs afloat throughout Europe during these tough times, but it still needs all hands on deck to achieve ”an inclusive finance for an inclusive future”. The DigitalSolutions Marketplace will be the perfect opportunity for participants to meet with various Digital Providers to discover what is on offer and even to establish partnerships.

Are you a digital provider and do you want to get involved? Get in touch with us at:

EaSI TA Microfinance as a pioneer in Impact Investment: achievements & new challenges

With the great resilience of its practitioners, their high impact, and their ability to deliver over time, microfinance has long been seen as the original impact investment. But where do we stand now? Is there a shift away or back towards Financial Inclusion in impact investing? Come join us for a discussion where we will touch upon impact in the EU towards the EC and the investors.

Digital delivery of non-financial services: What offers for which category of client?

Although the digitalisation of entrepreneurship and business development services delivery was long engaged, the COVID-19 crisis accelerated the trend as it demonstrated its relevance to answer the needs of (aspiring) entrepreneurs. Online live awareness-raising, bespoke informative mailing, training and coaching sessions, digital automated solutions to build business plans, web-based library… the possibilities offered by technology are huge and should allow services providers to meet the diverse expectation of their target population. Is digital, the solution to serve all categories of prospects and clients? Is it adapted to all sort of support?

The workshop will provide some examples of the best practices of the sector and try to provide answer the above-mentioned questions.

Speed Networking: Meet your policy maker and investor

Given the popularity of this activity in our previous Annual Conferences, EMN will be hosting a third edition of its Speed Networking this year as well. It will take place over one hour and half, so participants will get to book time slots to meet with some investors and policy makers. Established connections can then be further developed over the coffee break and farewell drinks! This activity is dedicated to establishing contacts between MFIs and their potential Social Investors and/or EU Policy Makers. It offers a platform for exchange and awareness-raising and could foster the creation of partnerships or consolidate existing cooperation between partners.

It is a tailored networking opportunity, using the principle of ‘speed dating’. MFIs can book a time slot to meet with selected people, in order to address their needs and questions with the relevant person. Stay tuned for the launch of the appointment book and names of participating social investors and policy makers!

7th European Microfinance Day - Keeping the doors open for all entrepreneurs

The European Microfinance Day, sponsored by the EIB Group, is back for a 7th edition, with more meaning behind the new symbolic date of 15th October.

This date was chosen based on a striking statistic: according to the OECD, 21.7% of the EU population is at risk of poverty or social exclusion. In other words, the system isn't working for 21.7% of the time. Relative to a calendar year, this means that it breaks down on 15th October, when the doors close on those willing to build a better life for themselves. The microfinance sector is pushing hard to move this limit further year after year, to see the day no one is left behind.

Our usual Brussels-central event is fully integrated into the conference as the closing session and we will be hosting the European Code of Good Conduct Award Ceremony, with the participation of the European Commission's DG Employment, to proudly award those organisations that are recently certified under the ECoGC.

Click on the session titles in blue to find out more

Thursday 14

12:00 - 14:00 EMN C-Suites meeting
Luncheon followed by introduction of Caroline Tsilikounas as the new EMN General Manager

Upon invitation only. Contact EMN
16:00 - 16:30 General Assembly registration & coffee
16:00 - 18:00 EMN General Assembly
with the presentation of the EMN Strategy and EMN Board Elections
18:00 - 20:00 EMN Members' cocktail


Friday 15
Conference Day

From 08:15 Registration  
9:10 - 10:00 Welcoming and Opening
EMN President - Elwin Groenevelt
Member of the European Parliament - Ondrej Kovarik
The Story of Dilbi by Sally Ghannoum - singer, film-maker, restaurateur, micro-entrepreneur and microStart client
10:00 - 10:30 COFFEE & NETWORKING  
  Workshops Networking
10:30 - 12:00 EaSI TA : InvestEU, ESF : an update on the EaSI Programme successor EaSI TA : Preparing for the future while still managing the crisis Digital Solutions Marketplace
Meet your digital provider
12:00 - 13:30 LUNCH BREAK & NETWORKING  
13:30 - 15:00 EaSI TA : Microfinance as a pioneer in Impact Investment: achievements & new challenges Digital delivery of non-financial services: What offers for which category of client? Speed networking
Meet your policy maker and investor
15:00 - 15:30 COFFEE & NETWORKING  
15:30 - 15:55 Conference closing keynote speech
Deputy Director-General Andriana Sukova - European Commission, DG EMPL

(introduced by EMN President)
15:55 - 16:40 7th European Microfinance Day
Introduction to the EMD - Caroline Tsilikounas, EMN General Manager
EMD sponsor - Frank Lee, Head of Division Advisory Services, European Investment Bank
European Code of Good Conduct Award Ceremony - Ann Branch, European Commission, DG EMPL
16:40 onwards Farewell drinks and cocktail  


EaSI TA = This session is organised within the EaSI Technical Assistance programme of the European Union.
For further information: