Supporting the development of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) is at the heart of the EBRD’s transition mandate and business model. Donor funding and engagement is vital to delivering sustainable impact on the SME sector in the countries where we work. It enables us to provide the right-know how alongside financing, and to operate in markets and with segments where otherwise we would not be able to provide support.

The Small Business Impact Fund (SBIF) was launched in May 2015 as a primary way to mobilise donor funding and cooperation for our SME work under the Small Business Initiative, whether for financing, advisory or policy dialogue activities. By pooling donor resources under one umbrella, the SBIF is an effective, efficient and flexible instrument that allows for a more targeted allocation of resources and maximises the impact of individual contributions.

In 2016 alone, the Small Business Impact Fund has attracted over EUR 10 million of donor support for SME development programmes across our countries of operations. This consists of key contributions from a number of donors, including Italy, Korea, Sweden, Switzerland, the TaiwanBusiness-EBRD Technical Cooperation Fund and the USA.

With these generous contributions, we have been able to design a number of innovative and fully operational programmes that bring to the market a range of instruments and activities. The contributions cover a wide range of regions and programmes, including:

  • Finance and Advice for Small Businesses in Tajikistan and Kyrgyz Republic, which, engaging €4.5 million, combines targeted investment support, advisory services and training in key skills with policy dialogue efforts in the two countries
  • Finance for Small and Medium Businesses in Ukraine, which, engaging US$ 2 million extends a unique guarantee facility to SMEs in Ukraine to restart lending to SMEs by commercial banks and the EBRD in the country by sharing in the risk of these transactions
  • Support for the expansion of the Risk Sharing Framework (RSF) and other risk sharing products for SMEs, which provides the technical cooperation underpinning skills transfer to partner banks under the Risk Sharing Framework including in the areas of risk assessment and financial modelling, and the setting of standards for corporate governance and business conduct for local companies.
  • Support to SME development under the SBI in Turkey, which, engaging €430,000 of funding, seeks to expand the potential for lending to SMEs in Turkey through support for pre-investment legal and financial preparation and post-investment advisory support
  • Blue Ribbon in Croatia, which, engaging €290,000 of funding, extends the Blue Ribbon programme to Croatia, supporting a longer-term partnership with leading SMEs in the country through advisory and financing assistance.