Social Inclusion through Microenterprise Development
Edited by Bárbara Jayo Carboni, Maricruz Lacalle Calderón, Silvia Rico Garrido, Karl Dayson and Jill Kickul
Chapter 13: Microcredit in Sweden
13 Microfinance in Sweden Ranjula Bali Swain* 1 National context Sweden has shown a good macroeconomic performance with high rates of growth. Its gross domestic product (GDP) is set to grow by 3.2 per cent in both 2007 and 2008, whereas unemployment is forecast to decline to 4.4 per cent in 2007 and 4.0 per cent in 2008 (Ministry of Finance, 2007). However, joblessness is widespread among immigrants and young people, and combating exclusion in the labour market is a key challenge for policy makers (OECD, 2007). Approximately 800 000 people live below the poverty line, which is 9 per cent of the total population.1 A large part of these poor are single-parent families, the young and old, and immigrants. Moreover, financial exclusion is a reality for women and people living in sparsely populated areas. To assist them, the National Action Plan against Poverty and Social Exclusion 2003–2005 includes the promotion of starting a business. In general, there are no major microcredit programmes in Sweden. The nearest similarity to microcredit schemes are some financial institutions established by the government to support small and microenterprises. ALMI is the only (public-funded) company providing loans to established companies and start-ups, complementing commercial loans. The commercial banks have not shown much interest in small and microenterprises (Siewertsen et al., 2005). Between 1000 and 4999 micro-operations were established in Sweden with support from the promotional banks (like ALMI) (European Commission, 2003). The entrepreneurial environment within Sweden, however, is mainly focused on large companies. On...
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