EBRD and EU step up support for small businesses in North Macedonia

By Bojana Vlajcic

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  • 1 million EBRD loan to Sparkasse Leasing for lending to SMEs
  • Added EU-funded technical assistance as well as cashback incentive worth 15 per cent of the loan amount
  • Collaboration to build a more competitive SME sector in North Macedonia  

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is further extending its SME Competitiveness Programme in North Macedonia by providing a €1 million loan to Sparkasse Leasing Doo Skopje for on-lending to local small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

SMEs will be able to apply for funds to invest in upgrades, including in technology, equipment or vehicles, with a view to reaching EU standards, particularly those related to product quality and safety, health and safety, and energy efficiency. It is expected that at least 60 per cent of investments will be in green technology and energy efficiency.

After the successful completion of the investment, SMEs will be eligible for a cashback grant of 15 per cent of the total loan amount, funded by the European Union.

The loan is a part of the Western Balkans SME Competitiveness Support Programme, to which the EBRD provides loans and the European Union contributes incentive payments and technical assistance. The goal is to help SMEs modernise their activities and take advantage of trade opportunities in the Western Balkans region and wider European market.

Andi Aranitasi, EBRD Head of North Macedonia, said: “SMEs are the backbone of the economy of North Macedonia and have been particularly hit by the Covid-19 crisis. This credit line will allow them to invest in their competitiveness and boost their resilience to not only help them stand out in the local market but also increase their chances of exporting to EU countries”.

Ambassador David Geer, Head of the EU Delegation to North Macedonia, said: “Access to finance is fundamental for the development of any SME. This assistance provides opportunities for businesses to improve networking and scale up operations. In particular we will help them invest in their digital upgrading and use resources in a more sustainable manner thereby increasing their environmental performance and further improving competitiveness."

Marjan Manchev, Managing Director of Sparkasse Leasing Doo Skopje, said: “I’m very glad that the cooperation between the EBRD and Sparkasse Leasing Doo Skopje continues in 2021 with the €1 million loan from the EBRD’s competitiveness credit line aimed at supporting SMEs in North Macedonia. I hope that this new financing, which also entitles end users to a grant of up to 15 per cent, will help companies in their transition to greener energy use. Sparkasse Leasing Doo Skopje remains the first and only leasing company in the market of North Macedonia with access to this credit line, thus affirming its leading role in the leasing market with a strong focus on client needs and environmental sustainability”.

The EBRD is a major institutional investor in North Macedonia. To date, it has invested €2.14 billion through 143 projects in the country. The Bank focuses on the expansion of the local private sector, the promotion of regional and international integration and the sustainable use of resources in the country.

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