Partnership with donors is vital to delivering sustainable impact to the SME sector in the economies where the EBRD invests. It enables us to provide the right business advice, along with financing, and allows us to engage with regions and segments of the SME sector where we would otherwise not be able to operate. More than this however, our strong partnership with donors sets high standards for impact and efficiency, prompts innovation and helps ensure coherence and additionality in our activities across regions.

We work with bilateral donors, including governments, international financial institutions and other partners. The EBRD also manages regional and thematic multi-donor funds, where grant resources are pooled to foster efficiency and created higher impact.

The Small Business Initiative is financed:


  • through multi-donor funds: the EBRD Small Business Impact Fund (Italy, Japan, South Korea, Luxembourg, Sweden, Switzerland, Taipei China and the Unites States of America), the EBRD Early Transition Countries Fund (Canada, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Japan, South Korea, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taipei China and the United Kingdom), the EBRD Shareholder Special Fund, Global Environment Facility, the EBRD SEMED Multi-Donor Account (Australia, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Taipei China and the United Kingdom), the EBRD Ukraine Multi-Donor Fund (Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, the United States of America and the European Union), Shell Kazakhstan and Tengizchevroil.

The EBRD Small Business Impact Fund

The EBRD Small Business Impact Fund (SBIF) was launched in May 2015 as a primary way to mobilise donor funding and cooperation for our SME work under the Small Business Initiative, whether for financing, advisory or policy dialogue activities. By pooling donor resources under one umbrella, the SBIF is an effective, efficient and flexible instrument that allows for a more targeted allocation of resources and maximises the impact of individual contributions.

During last year, the SBIF has continued to grow, reaching over €30 million of donor support for SME development programmes across economies where the EBRD invests. The donors now include Italy, Japan, Korea, Luxembourg, Sweden, Switzerland, Taipei China and the USA.

Expand to read more

With generous contributions from our donors, we have been able to design 14 innovative and fully operational programmes that bring to the market a range of instruments and activities. These contributions cover a wide range of regions and products, including the EBRD’s flagship Women in Business programmes, the Blue Ribbon programme, the Risk Sharing Framework, the Star Venture programme and others. Although many SBIF activities are still in early stages of implementation and impact assessment, these programmes are already showing impressive results, including:

  • Almost 3,000 SMEs have been reached through direct, indirect or co-financing support from the SBIF.
  • Approximately €130 million of EBRD finance has been channelled to SMEs across the economies where the EBRD invests.
  • Over 350 SMEs have benefited from advisory support.

For more information, please visit our downloads section with password-protected documents for the donors.

In longer running programmes under the fund, we are seeing strong outcomes in terms of SMEs’ turnover and job creation. For instance, in Tajikistan and the Kyrgyz Republic, 83% and 84% of SMEs (respectively) accessing business advice have increased their turnover one year after completion of EBRD advisory projects, with over 1000 jobs being created in the process. In Ukraine, an impressive 100% of the SMEs benefiting from our unique SBIF-funded guarantee scheme have increased turnover one year after investment. With more data collection and evaluation in the coming years, a fuller impact picture will begin to take shape, building on these big strides already achieved through the contributions of our donors to the EBRD Small Business Impact Fund.