Boosting small business in Belarus

Boosting small business in Belarus

The EBRD has helped establish a bank in Belarus aimed specifically at lending to micro and small enterprises.

A bank for small businesses

Belarus’s first dedicated microfinance institution, the Belarusian Bank for Small Business (BBSB), was founded in 2007 by the EBRD and seven other shareholders. It is helping to fill a gap in the country’s banking market by providing much-needed financing tailored to privately owned micro and small enterprises.

Reaching out to all areas

The BBSB operates in the Belarusian capital, Minsk, and the Minsk region, where over 50 per cent of small businesses are located. Seven branches and four sales offices are expected to open in all regions of Belarus by 2012.

The new bank offers commercial loans ranging from US$ 270 to US$ 270,000 while concentrating on the lower end of the market (loans below US$ 10,000).The loans will help BBSB to kick-start its micro and small business financing activities.

Demand for this type of funding in Belarus is estimated to total US$ 1.4 billion, of which only 5 per cent is currently being met by the EBRD’s local commercial bank partners under a special EBRD small business lending programme.

The shareholders

The BBSB has capital of US$ 9.6 million. The EBRD’s seven partners in the BBSB include leading international public and private financial institutions, all of which have global microfinance experience and share a mutual objective of giving the smallest businesses better access to finance in Belarus.

They are Germany's Commerzbank and Kreditanstalt fur Wiederaufbau (KfW), Nederlanse Financierings-Maatschappij voor Ontwikkelingslanden (FMO), ShoreBank International, Shorecap International, Swedfund and the International Finance Corporation, the private sector lending arm of the World Bank.