Welfare Ambrosiano Foundation

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CLUSTER: Innovative services and organisations focusing on migrants’ employability and work integration

START DATE: January 2009




Foundation, non-profit, welfare
whereVia Larga 12 - 20122 Milan, Italy

welfare ambrosiano foundation


Founding members: Municipality of Milan, Greater Milan Council, Milan Chamber of Commerce, Unions (C.G.I.L., C.I.S.L, U.I.L. local chapters)
General Director of Foundation: Romani Guerinoni
President: Giuseppe Sala, Mayor of Milano
Vice president: Marzia Oggiano, C.G.I.L.
Residents and workers in Milan and their families with a temporary economic disadvantage. Beneficiaries are typically in a grey zone, uncovered by traditional welfare system for the poor.
Migrants represent a very significant target, as most of the FWA activities are concentrated in areas with a high rate of migrants presence.


Temporary economic support.
The Welfare Ambrosiano Foundation is a non-profit organisation that promotes initiatives for workers and citizens in economic difficulties. The purpose of the foundation is to avoid drop outs (especially from the labour market and housing market) for Milan based citizens in temporary difficulties. The most important instruments used are guarantee funds (to access to credit and microcredit), mentoring support to startup a business (connected with the guarantee fund) and housing at social rates. In addition, FWA encourages analysis and research on social issues in Milan, organises seminars and training courses, offers prizes and scholarships.

why it is

From 2011 until today Welfare Ambrosiano Foundation has supported more than 1400 individuals and micro businesses with a finalcial support worth 3,4 mln€ (2,2 mln€ for credit to individuals and 1,2 mln€ for credit to enterprises). The indirect impact is about 4 to 5 times more (13,7-17mln€) in terms of access to credit .
The typical ticket size for this support is 5.000€ for individuals and 14 k€ for micro businesses.
Although there is not a statistic about the percentage of migrants supported, FWA estimates between 30 and 50% of the total beneficiaries the number of non Italian native supported. In particular, the sectors where migrants establish a business with the support of FWA are: retail (especially food), craft and small manufacturing, transportation, building construction.
(Some of the stories, around 10, are on the official website, documenting the success of the activities of those who received the economic support from the Association).


Legal Form:

Service Description

Main Problem Addressed / Activity Sector:
The foundation main aim is to support and sustain people in economic need and temporary difficulties. Among them, FWA supports many migrants that live in Milan area.
FWA offers services of microfinance and microcredit integrating the financial support with a combination of other instrument for business development. In addition, FWA finds housing solutions at social rates.
People that face temporary difficulties to access labour/entrepreneurship and housing markets. Resident or workers / professionals in the Municipality of Milan which fall within the “grey areas” of the social protection system and for which there are no existing forms of public or private protection.
Solution (Project/Service):
They offer different type of microfinance services such as:
1) Social anticipation: a guarantee to partner banks, allowing the advance payment of the supplementary cash payments to the applicants. The loan disbursed by the banks is returned when the relevant institutions provide for the payment of the relative indemnities;
2) Entrepreneurship development support: sustainability assessment of the business idea, creation and development of the business plan. FWA supports the preparation of any request for microcredit of a business to the affiliated banks. FWA facilitate the access to credit and microcredit from affiliated banks, with a contribution to lowering the interest rate and providing guarantees. As part of this support, FWA provides one to one /tailored assistance for developing a solid business plan, getting licences and authorisations, finding key partners, connecting with potential clients;
3) Social Solidarity Credit and Corporate solidarity credit
FWA offers a mix of services to support entrepreneurship and business development. In particular, additional services like mentoring in the identification of the right instrument of microfinance for each specific entrepreneur.


Main difficulties/challenges:
To prepare and help the entrepreneur for the grant and lending request defying the right with them a sustainable and reliable investment plan. To identify the right financial instrument that may change for the kind and sector of entrepreneurship that are being developed.
Last but not least is very important to build a trust and fiduciary relationship with the entrepreneurs.


FWA is financed by the Municipality of Milan and the other founders: Greater Milan Council, Milan Chamber of Commerce, Unions (C.G.I.L., C.I.S.L, U.I.L. local chapters). It also gets access to funding from other parties for specific projects.
Stakeholders and Partners:
The founding partners, financial institutions (banks and microcredit institutions), universities and other (Associazione Famiglia, AISTP, Associazione VOBIS, Centri Welfare Italia, PlaNetFinance). FWA is also member of Ente Nazionale per il Microcredito (National Agency for Microcredit) and Rete Italiana di Microfinanza (Italian Microfinance Network)


Main Goals/challenges:
Continue to provide support to the current targets. A challenge is the increase of the target population (middle class purchasing power and access to various markets is decreasing) and the increase in the number of migrants. The activity of FWA is well connected with the strategic plans and programmes run by the Municipality to target the less privileged areas of Milan.
Critical Factors to manage this challenges:
Limited resources (economic and staff)