Economic context

In Turkey, access to finance for SMEs has improved over the last five years, even where the current economic outlook has introduced some uncertainty. The most recent Business Environment and Enterprise Performance Survey, implemented by the EBRD in partnership with the World Bank, showed that Turkish firms had the lowest level of credit constraints in the EBRD region. However, access to finance in less-developed regions of Turkey – where 70 per cent of the population lives – may be more constrained, as only 50 per cent of bank branches are located outside the three main cities.

A high number of small firms – over 40 per cent – obtain international certification. But with regards to innovation and financial management there is room for improvement. Only 5 per cent of SMEs report being engaged in product innovation in Turkey less than half the average for south-eastern Europe. Yet, among those Turkish SMEs that do innovate, a higher percentage of firms introduce products or processes that are new to the country or to international markets.

Better skills in financial and business management could also help the development of SMEs. Currently just under a quarter of the adult population is financially literate – a level below those of Turkey’s western neighbours and below the average for the EBRD region.

Providing tailor-made finance

Between 2011 and 2016, we provided around €100 million in direct financing to SME clients in Turkey (via both debt and equity investments) and provided €173 million through partner financial institutions in 2016 alone. We offer customised finance directly to dynamic, fast-growing SMEs in regions that are underserved by the financial sector – businesses that we believe have great potential to drive employment, innovation and growth.

Expand to read more

In addition to tailoring this finance to their needs, we help strengthen companies as they implement the investment through our advisory work. Our assistance helps promote good corporate governance, financial management and other standards that help these enterprises to stand out.

We also enable SMEs to access business advice, with a focus on underdeveloped areas in southern and eastern Turkey. Firms work with local consultants and international advisers in areas such as strategy, financial management, quality management and international certification to improve their operations, become more competitive and grow. During 2016, we undertook a total of 153 such advisory projects in Turkey, including those under our Women in Business programme.

Before and after investment, our business advice helps to build value within each enterprise.

Promoting women in business

The EBRD’s Women in Business programmes promote entrepreneurship and participation in business by enabling women-led SMEs to access the finance and know-how they need to grow.

Expand to read more

Launched in 2014, our Women in Business programme in Turkey has provided €250 million in finance to date through our partner banks in the country for on-lending to 12,000 women-led SMEs. We have also helped over 255 such firms to obtain business advice, alongside providing women entrepreneurs with mentoring, our online diagnostic tool Business Lens, training and networking opportunities. In total, we have reached more than 18,000 women in Turkey since the programme began.

Supporting refugee-hosting communities

Support for the private sector and SMEs is a core part of the EBRD’s response to the refugee crisis in Turkey. This work began in 2016 and aims to improve the economic resilience of communities most affected by the crisis, providing financing to the private sector both directly and through our partner financial institutions.

Expand to read more

We also help SMEs in these communities access advice to strengthen them in a challenging business environment. Moreover, we have started a capacity-building project with the Gaziantep Chamber of Commerce, boosting its ability to support its members and enterprises within the Gaziantep community that are led by refugees.