Our clients

Our direct financing clients

Our partner financial institutions

Our advisory clients

Our direct financing clients

We focus our tailor-made direct finance support in regions where access to finance options are limited for small businesses. More than half of our investments were in countries in Central Asia and in Eastern Europe and the Caucasus.

We support enterprises across a wide range of sectors and industries, particularly in the agribusiness and manufacturing and services segments.

Our partner financial institutions

We work with more than 200 partner financial institutions, which together have an SME portfolio of over €9.3 billion. We are active across regions, deploying flagship programmes such as our €430 million Women in Business programmes across 17 countries.

We also develop alternative financial solutions for our SME clients, including factoring and leasing, energy efficiency credit lines and assistance to agricultural businesses.

Our advisory clients

We provide access to know-how in 29 countries. Our outreach is balanced across regions, with 86% of our projects taking place in our priority regions of Central Asia, Eastern Europe and the Caucasus, southern and eastern Mediterranean and the Western Balkans.

Through our projects with local consultants, our clients access a wide range of know-how, with a particular focus on ICT, marketing, strategy and quality management.

Financial inclusion

Local currency lending

Loan maturities

Geographic distribution

Local currency lending

A key challenge facing SMEs is overreliance on foreign exchange lending. We promote local currency financing in our activities with our partner financial institutions. As of mid-2017 94 per cent of loans disbursed to SMEs through EBRD partner financial institutions were in local currency. This compares very favourably to the average in our markets, where local currency provision remains limited.

Loan maturities

For sustainable growth, SMEs need long-term and predictable financing but are often perceived as riskier clients. As such we actively encourage our partner financial institutions to extend SME finance at longer maturities. As of mid-2017, 83 per cent of PFI sub-loans to SMEs by amount have a maturity of greater than 12 months, with over half (53 per cent) at above 36 months.

Geographic distribution

Businesses outside of main cities typically face greater challenges in accessing finance. As such, we try to stimulate lending in more underserved regions requiring significant proportions of SME credit lines to be disbursed outside of the capital cities. In fact, 83 per cent of the sub-loans of our PFIs’ SME outstanding portfolio are with enterprises based outside of capital cities.

Women in business

Our Women in Business programmes have reached more than 35,000 women entrepreneurs to date. In our programme in Turkey, the first to launch, more than 20,000 women-led SMEs have received loans through our partner financial institutions and more than 4,000 women benefitted from business advice, training, mentoring and networking.

Impact of advice

Of projects evaluated in 2015-17, 74 per cent of our advisory clients increased their turnover in the year following their project. Fifty-six per cent of these enterprises also expanded their number of employees, creating more 35,647 jobs across the three years. Our clients saw a strong increase in exports, worth €219 million in total. Furthermore, more than 1,200 enterprises obtained external finance, for a total of €1.2 billion.

74% of enterprises increased turnover
56% increased employment
25% increased exports
35,647 net jobs created

Business environment

New legislation

Advocacy and know-how

Local consultancy markets

New legislation

We’ve seen a number of tangible outcomes as a result of our policy dialogue efforts. These include the adoption of a new leasing and factoring law in Montenegro, Memoranda of Understanding on participating in the SME Local Currency Programme signed with Azerbaijan, Belarus, Morocco and Serbia, and the launching of new e-procurement platforms across a number of countries, including Tunisia.


New laws on factoring and leasing adopted in Montenegro
Reforming eProcurement in Moldova, Tunisia and Ukraine
Memordanda of Understanding for the SME Local Currency programme signed in Azerbaijan, Belarus, Morocco and Serbia

Co-authoring the Assessment of the implementation of the Small Business Act

Advocacy and know-how

The EBRD plays an important advocacy role to promote SME development and raise the voice of small businesses. In 2017, we’ve used our knowledge and experience of the SME sector in the countries where we work to inform policy initiatives and strengthen institutions.

Supporting Investment Councils from Albania to the Kyrgyz Republic
Strengthening business associations in Mongolia, Tunisia, Turkey and Ukraine
Creating a dedicated listing platform for SMEs in Croatia
Contributing to the G20 countries’ B20 taskforce on SME growth

Local consultancy markets

We promote the development of local consultancy markets to help ensure a sustainable support system for SMEs. Our Grow Your Consulting Business suite of training courses strengthens the skills of local consultants in management consulting essentials, project management and business diagnostics as well as helping long-standing experts train to become effective consultants. In 2017 alone, we trained 1,000+ consultants across our countries.


1,000+ consultants trained

68 Grow Your Consulting Business training courses

135 consultants trained in the area of energy efficiency

108 consultants trained in the area of export promotion