Inclusive growth

We believe that promoting inclusive growth is important for building strong economies. EBRD programmes seek to promote equal opportunities by addressing underserved groups in the SME sector – such as female entrepreneurs, and entrepreneurs based outside major cities or displaced by conflict. These programmes help fulfil the economic growth potential of the countries where we work.

These are things that can lead to nagging and then to real problems snap to apprehend between dorm mates

Promoting women in business across the region

Securing finance is one of greatest challenges that women-led SMEs face. These businesses are often considered unappealing clients for banks because they are more likely to be small and based in the services, traditional or informal sectors. In addition, they often have limited access to information and/or face cultural biases that lead to weak application of property rights.

Expand to read more

The EBRD’s Women in Business programmes are a unique approach to promoting women’s entrepreneurship and participation in business, combining a wide range of activities to enable SMEs led by women to access the finance and know-how they need to grow. Under Women in Business programmes, credit lines to local banks for dedicated on-lending to women-led SMEs are combined with business advice to help women-led enterprises become more competitive. And, we also offer training, mentoring and networking opportunities that enable businesswomen to build networks, hone skills and share experiences with their peers.

In 2017, the EBRD signed €99 million in credit lines for women-led SMEs and reached 3,200 women entrepreneurs with business and skills development services. We launched a new Women in Business programme in Tajikistan and a new expanded programme in Egypt, which will provide up to €80 million of financing for women-led SMEs in Egypt over the next three years.

Women in Business is currently active in 17 countries. Since its initiation in December 2014, more than 35,000 women entrepreneurs have benefitted from these programmes, which have provided more than €430 million in financing to 33 partner financial institutions.

Business Lens is one of the innovations under this programme. An online self-assessment tool, it enables entrepreneurs to take a closer look at their businesses, identify areas of strength and weakness relative to their peers, and match themselves with the tools offered under the programme. By year-end 2017, more than 4,200 women had used Business Lens.

Improving financial inclusion in the southern and eastern Mediterranean region

Small businesses in the southern and eastern Mediterranean (SEMED) region often experience major constraints on their ability to grow. They frequently face difficulty in accessing risk capital, have limited financial literacy and experience, or suffer skill mismatches. Moreover, informality and a lack of financial data can prevent small businesses from being perceived as creditworthy.

Expand to read more

Through our SEMED MSME Financial Inclusion Programme, a large-scale programme launched in 2016, we provide credit lines, risk sharing and technical assistance to partner financial institutions in Egypt, Jordan, Morocco and Tunisia. The programme enables these institutions to provide appropriate finance supporting SME growth. A key investment under the programme in 2017 was a €40 million loan to the Union Internationale de Banques (UIB) in Tunisia, which will provide financing to small and medium-sized enterprises in the country.
The programme combines finance with access to advisory services and know-how to help small businesses become more competitive. In 2017, we also undertook over 500 advisory projects in the SEMED region. And we are working with policy-makers and stakeholders in these four countries on legal and regulatory changes such as reform of leasing and factoring legislation.
These measures improve the wider business environment and increase the potential for small businesses to thrive.

Bolstering regional business development

Our extensive network, with offices in over 30 countries and regional offices in Egypt, Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Morocco, Tajikistan, Tunisia and Ukraine, ensures that we are present on the ground and really understand the challenges facing businesses based outside commercial hubs. In 2017, half of our advisory clients were based outside a main city.

Expand to read more

We also have a number of local development programmes in Kazakhstan, funded by private sector donors. These programmes provide business advice as well as training for prospective entrepreneurs through business clinics that explain how to start and manage a business. In 2017, we trained 65 entrepreneurs in a number of regions of the country, to help ensure that no business is left behind.

Supporting refugee-hosting communities

Support for the private sector and SMEs is a core element of the EBRD’s response to the recent refugee crisis in Jordan and in Turkey. This work began in 2016 and aims to improve the economic resilience of communities most affected, helping SMEs in these communities access advice to strengthen them in a challenging business environment.

Expand to read more

In 2017, we undertook 115 advisory projects supporting SMEs in refugee-affected areas of Jordan and Turkey. Further, two training courses were carried out in Jordan to provide core entrepreneurial skills for mixed groups of Jordanian and Syrian women looking to become entrepreneurs. We are also building the capacity of the Gaziantep Chamber of Commerce in south-eastern Turkey, boosting its ability to support its members and enterprises within the local business community that are led by refugees.