We understand that SMEs face complex challenges. For this reason, in addition to direct assistance for small businesses, we cooperate with policy-makers, local stakeholders, international financial institutions and the wider donor community as we work together to improve the business environment for SMEs. These activities are tailored to the needs of each country and seek to bring international best practice to our region.
Enhancing access to finance: factoring, leasing and listing
Improving access to finance for SMEs goes hand-in-hand with clear, targeted policy interventions. With our significant expertise in financial-sector law reform, we provide expert legal advice to governments.Expand to read more
We help them develop well-defined regulatory frameworks for non-bank financing instruments, such as leasing and factoring, that complement traditional bank lending but are often better suited to the financing needs of SMEs. In 2016 we helped the governments of Mongolia and Montenegro to introduce new legislation in these areas, and are engaging with the government in Serbia to strengthen their legislation. And, for those businesses that are ready to take the next step, we are also supporting the creation of specialised platforms for
And, for those businesses that are ready to take the next step, we are also supporting the creation of specialised platforms for public listing of SMEs. In 2016, we launched an initiative to support the Zagreb Stock Exchange in creating an exchange-operated regional market structure in Croatia for financing small and medium-sized enterprises.
Improving access to public procurement opportunities
We also support governments in their efforts to encourage SMEs to participate in procurement for low-value public contracts.Expand to read more
We are currently supporting modern eProcurement in Moldova, Mongolia and Tunisia, and have already seen meaningful results. The Tunisian parliament adopted secondary legislation on low-value public procurement in December 2016, and a legislative framework has been approved by the Mongolian Ministry of Finance in 2017. In Moldova, the EBRD piloted eProcurement for low-value projects in November 2016.
Developing local capital markets
The SME Local Currency Programme also has a strong policy component. It works to address the over-reliance on foreign exchange finance that affects many of our countries of operations.Expand to read more
In 2016, both Tunisia and Ukraine signed Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) with the EBRD, enabling them to benefit from the programme in future. These MOUs include detailed plans for capital market reforms and specify the actions required of stakeholders. In total, eight countries have signed such MOUs with the Bank.
We also support business organisations, improving their capacity to assist their SME members and strengthen the wider infrastructure for SME support in the countries where we work.Expand to read more
In 2016, the EBRD completed a support programme for business associations in Mongolia, ranging from regional chambers of commerce and the Mongolian Management Consulting Institute to a regional tourism association. We are now building on this experience to support such organisations in Tunisia, Turkey and Ukraine, through programmes launched in 2016, and will implement a second phase of assistance for business associations in Mongolia.
Developing local consultancy markets
By promoting the development local consultancy markets, we are helping to ensure long-term, sustainable access to high-quality business advice for SMEs.Expand to read more
We have a suite of customised training courses for local consultants, including our training series, “Grow Your Consulting Business”, and specialised training on topics such as energy efficiency and export promotion. In 2016, the EBRD delivered 80 courses of this kind, reaching over 750 consultants.
As a major investor in our countries of operations, the EBRD plays an important advocacy role in promoting SME development and articulating the needs of small business.Expand to read more
We also take the lead in some of the major platforms coordinating donor activity in SME development across our region, such as the Western Balkans Enterprise Development and Innovation Facility (WB EDIF) and have been a key contributor to the G20 countries’ B20 taskforce on SME growth.
In 2015-16, together with the European Commission, the OECD and the European Training Foundation, we published the SME Policy Index for the Eastern Partnership Countries as well as for the Western Balkans and Turkey. As in previous editions, we analysed the Small Business Act for Europe on access to finance, providing an assessment of the financial sector and related policy and legislation, as well as offering short- and medium-term policy recommendations.
Strengthening SME participation in public procurement
Participation rates in public procurement opportunities across the EBRD’s countries of operations are low, as rules and procedures are often complex and the resources needed to prepare a tender are considerable – with great uncertainty as to the outcome of the bidding process.
However, encouraging more SMEs to participate in public tenders increases competition and could offer more competitive prices. The EBRD works with governments across our countries to facilitate local SME participation in electronic tenders for small value public contracts, below €120,000.
We promote legal reforms to simplify small-value public procurement procedures to make these tenders approachable for local SMEs, through mechanisms such as reducing the bureaucratic burden for small businesses to submit a tender, enabling free of charge access to procurement opportunities through online publication of notifications and tender documents, and a free of charge online submission mechanism.
To sustain the impact, we also support the development of eProcurement tools, awareness raising and training for public sector purchasing entities and SMEs on these technologies.
Currently, we are assisting the Governments of Moldova, Mongolia and Tunisia in reforming their electronic procurement procedures with the support of Korea and the EBRD Shareholder Special Fund.
Building capacity in business membership organisations
We know the catalytic role that business membership organisations can play by giving a voice to smaller enterprises in the private sector and helping them connect with the tools available to assist them. We work with these organisations in a number of countries, strengthening their capacities to deliver services to and for small enterprises.
One example of this is Mongolia where, with support from the European Union’s Asia Investment Facility (AIF), we are expanding our previous assistance to business associations to improve their operational efficiency, outreach and services to members, as well as financial sustainability.
In Egypt we are also collaborating with the Social Fund for Development (SFD), helping to strengthen its capacity to deliver its mandate in the SME sector. With funding from the MENA Transition Fund, the EBRD has been assisting the SFD to strengthen its advocacy and policy formulation capacity, develop an expertise in providing non-financial services, as well as supporting the Fund to improve its data analysis and monitoring procedures.
the SME voice
capacity to assist SME members
efficiency and effectiveness
Building energy efficiency knowledge in consultancy markets in Romania and Moldova
SMEs in our countries of operations show very low energy efficiency performance as compared to international averages. This is often due to obsolete technologies and lack of awareness of more modern, cleaner solutions. Despite these needs, local consultancy markets are not equipped to deliver energy efficiency and environmental management advisory as a line of business.
We are training local consultants on energy and water efficiency, renewable energy technologies, and environmental management, helping local consultants and engineers to get the skills they need to perform energy audits and support the implementation of energy efficiency projects in the SME sector. The trainings are tailored to different experience levels, offering basic, intermediate and advanced levels. The courses look at data collection, identifying inefficient energy consumption, developing energy saving measures, estimating investment costs and preparing technical financial analysis.
From 2013-16, we delivered six of these courses in Romania and Moldova. In Romania, with funding from Austria, we have trained 57 consultants to date. In Moldova, engaging funding from Sweden and the Global Environmental Fund (GEF), we have reached 78 consultants in total – helping to put green consulting on the map.