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Policy Webinar | A Strong Social Europe: ESF+ and the Social Investment Ecosystem


  • 15:00 - 16:30
  • Webinars
  • Speakers

Policy Webinar | A Strong Social Europe: ESF+ and the Social Investment Ecosystem

On 30th April, EVPA hosted a free webinar on the European Social Fund Plus (ESF+), which will support investments in the social future of Europe from 2021 to 2027.

Lack of access to finance for social economy actors is presented as a significant obstacle to business creation in the ESF+ regulation. Therefore, social investors are acknowledged to play a key role in achieving several ESF+ objectives by offering capital and innovative approaches to several social issues.

During this webinar, we found out how the ESF+ will work, which role the EU Member States can play, and how the resources can help to boost the social economy across the European Union. Moreover, we heard how the ESF+ will differentiate from its long-standing predecessor ESF, and what were the lessons learnt from the past in order to face the challenges lying ahead.


  • 15:00-15:05 Introduction - by Bianca Polidoro, EVPA
  • 15:05-15:20 Explanation of The European Social Fund Plus (ESF+) - By Andrea Leruste, DG Employment, Social Affairs & Inclusion at the European Commission
  • 15:20-15:35 Perspectives of ESF Managing Authority - by Aleksandra Dmitruk, Polish Ministry of Investment and Economic Development
  • 15:35-15:50 The Portuguese success story - by João Machado, Portugal Social Innovation
  • 15:50-16:20 Q&A with speakers
  • 16:20-16:30 Conclusion - by Tessa Van Autreve, EVPA

Webinar Recording and slides

Download our Policy Brief on ESF+

Download the slides here

Meet the speakers

João Machado

João Machado - Portugal Social Innovation

João Machado joined the Government Initiative ‘Portugal Social Innovation’ (Portugal Inovação Social) in the beginning of 2017 and he was tasked with the implementation of the Social Innovation Fund. As one of the four finance streams of this initiative, the Social Innovation Fund was launched in 2019 as the first public impact investment fund in Portugal with a budget of more than 80M€.

Aleksandra Dmitruk

Aleksandra Dmitruk - European Social Fund Department, Ministry of Investments and Economic Development in Poland

Aleksandra Dmitruk is a deputy director in the European Social Fund Department in the Ministry of Investments and Economic Development in Poland. She is responsible for financial management of ESF co-financed programmes.

Andrea Leruste

Andrea Leruste - European Commission

Andrea Leruste works for the European Commission’s Directorate-General (DG) for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, where she is deputy head of Unit for ESF & FEAD policy and legislation.

Bianca Polidoro

Bianca Polidoro - EVPA

Bianca is EVPA’s Senior Policy and EU Partnerships Manager and member of the the European Commission’s Expert Group on Social Economy and Social Enterprises (GECES). She joined EVPA in February 2019. She leads the EVPA Policy’s team, which monitors and analyses key policy developments relevant to the VP/SI sector, and implements the multi-annual policy strategy of EVPA. She represents EVPA’s community towards EU authorities (EC, EIB, EIF etc.), as well as other multilateral bodies.

​Tessa Van Autreve

​Tessa Van Autreve - EVPA

Tessa Van Autreve joined the policy department at EVPA in May 2019. She holds a MSc in Sustainable Finance from Maastricht University and a BSc in Business Administration from KU Leuven.


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