NLB Banka joins EBRD’s Women in Business programme
The EBRD is providing a €3 million loan to the lender to finance women-led small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the country as part of the EBRD’s regional Women in Business initiative across the Western Balkans.
The programme is designed to promote women’s entrepreneurship by helping women-led SMEs to access the finance and know-how they need in order to grow. The programme combines financing, technical assistance and business advisory services to support SMEs led by women. The technical assistance and advisory services are jointly funded by the governments of Luxembourg and Sweden.
Anca Ioana Ionescu, Head of the EBRD’s office in Skopje, said: “We believe that encouraging women entrepreneurs is an important part of seeing FYR Macedonia and the Western Balkans fulfil its economic potential. This is a comprehensive programme that seeks to address gaps in the provision of finance and advice to women-led SMEs from both the demand and supply sides. We are confident that these funds will be placed successfully in companies throughout the country thanks to our longstanding partner NLB Banka AD Skopje.”
NLB Banka AD Skopje has a strong track record of on-lending EBRD funds to help local businesses improve their energy efficiency and boost competitiveness. It is one of the three largest Macedonian banks and has a nationwide network of 50 branches that are instrumental in distributing the financing across the country.
Antonio Argir, President of the Management Board of NLB Banka AD Skopje, said: “The Women in Business programme will further diversify and enrich the portfolio of lending products and advisory services offered to our clients. This programme is especially important because it provides our clients with access to loans of up to €300,000 for financing of fixed and current assets under very favourable terms and with a repayment period of up to five years. At the same time, it offers non-financial services such as advice in the areas of business strategy, marketing, accounting and information technology. In addition, our clients can use the opportunity to take part in the mentorship programme as well as in business coaching though local business advisors. All these features of the EBRD’s credit line enable NLB Banka AD Skopje to further support women entrepreneurs, contributing to boosting local businesses in general.”
Since the beginning of its operations in FYR Macedonia in 1993, the EBRD has invested over €1.6 billion in more than 100 projects in the country.