Trade promotion

Most small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) produce mainly for domestic markets. And, while the SME sector can be well-suited to international trade, smaller businesses often face barriers to reaching international markets.

By making SMEs more competitive and export-ready, we strengthen their capacity to trade, open them up to new markets and contribute to economic diversification.

In order to do this, the EBRD provides access to trade finance tools and financing that enable SMEs to align with international standards. We also help small businesses obtain the right know-how to introduce international quality, phytosanitary, safety and ecological standards, and adapt their products and approach to international markets. And we help improve their management capacity, corporate governance, export marketing and financial transparency. 22 per cent of the advisory projects we evaluated in 2017 brought export growth, with these 420+ enterprises increasing their exports by a combined total of €219 million.

Readying SMEs for stronger trade with the EU

The EBRD is preparing SMEs for the opportunities offered by the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA) between the European Union and Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine. In a joint programme with the EU, we are supporting SMEs in these three countries. The programme provides financing through local partner financial institutions, supported by grants, for SMEs to invest in new technologies or processes and adapt to international standards. It is also helping businesses access the right know-how to improve their internal operations or seek new market opportunities.

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The programme provides a total of almost €1.1 billion of financing through local partner financial institutions, supported by over €58 million in grants, for SMEs to invest in new technologies or processes and adapt to international standards. Through EU4Business-EBRD Credit line under the programme, over 100 Georgian companies have received €60 million in financing so far, with on-lending also available in Moldova and due to launch in Ukraine. Georgian SMEs have used this financing for a wide range of investments, from acquiring machinery to complex programmes where companies had the opportunity to draw on free technical assistance provided by an international team of experts. Half of the projects financed in Georgia are with companies located in regions outside the capital, Tbilisi. Further, across all three countries, more than 190 firms benefited from business advice to help them improve their internal operations or seek new market opportunities.

We are also lending to SMEs directly or through co-financing to support DCFTA-related investments. This financing allows for better terms than available to SMEs in these markets, including longer-than-average tenors. Since the start of the EU-backed programme in 2015, the EBRD has extended €19.8 million of finance to seven companies in Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine.

Trade Ready: a programme promoting access to trade finance and advice for SMEs

In 2017, we rolled out Trade Ready to our first pilot countries, Georgia and Serbia. Trade Ready is a programme to help SMEs unleash their trade potential. It provides wide-ranging advice to make small businesses more competitive at home and abroad. The programme also offers training in trade finance instruments and features networking opportunities that can support more effective export-import activities. With these tools, SMEs are better able to choose appropriate financing options for their international trade.

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Trade Ready also works with local partner banks. It helps tailor their trade finance products to the needs of small businesses and market them more effectively to these clients, many of whom consider trade finance too complex and expensive. In 2018, Trade Ready is being rolled out to Kyrgyz Republic.