Tibor Szekfü, managing director of FEA welcomes the participants. He expresses his gratitude about the “ATM for SMEs” project and underlines that this cooperation can be a great opportunity to raise the visibility of the non-profit microfinance sector and to disseminate the results.

Agnes Fiedler (FEA) reports on the project history, its rationale and the objectives of the “ATM for SMEs.” She also introduces into the conference aims and programme.

• The project evolved from first discussions between the some members of EMN in 2014. The first partner meeting was held in Budapest in November 2014.

• The project idea and the partnership were modified several times to comply better with the Interreg Europe guidelines. The application form was submitted in July 2015 and the Subsidy Contract was signed in April 2016.

In block 2, the partners presented the short profile of their organization, fields of activity, relevance to microfinance and role in the project.

In the interactive session following the partners’ introductions, the PPs discussed their regional situation and the Policy Instrument. In small teams, during face-to-face interaction, two PPs introduced each other in terms of the issues addressed by the PI, problems to tackle, what and how needs to be improved in the PI.

In the following plenary session, they presented the most important points of their discussion to the audience.  

Block 3: Financial implementation and organisational issues 

Agnes Fiedler and Ildiko Nemeth (FEA) explain the management of the project:

• As described in the AF, the “ATM for SMEs” Steering Group is the decision making body of the project. It decides over general project activities and issues, general budget issues and request for the exclusion and addition of partners

• The members will try to reach a consensus in decisions (majority voting)

• The efficient and regular internal communication between project partners is ensured by the following tools:

o Regular face to face Steering Group meetings, with sessions dedicated to the progress and financial management issues

o Fortnightly Lead Partner mailings on the overall progress and tasks to do

o Regular virtual conferences with the Steering Group members

o Setting up a collaborative web platform (only for internal use) to exchange documents, outputs

o On demand, individual consultations with partners on specific tasks or issues. 


                        1st Steering Group meeting of the “ATM for SMEs project”

The 1st Steering Group meeting was held in the framework of the kick-off meeting of the project. The partners agreed to accept the Project Action Plan (Annex I) which defines the actions to be implemented by the project partners, the main outputs and the timeframe.