Helping a Belarusian small business grow

Business owner in his cafe

With the support of the EBRD, a local bank can confidently invest in the growth of a healthy juice producer.

Private sector development is one of the EBRD’s priorities in Belarus which goes hand-in-hand with the strengthening of local financial institutions’ capacity to lend to micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs).

Thanks to affordable loans via local partner banks, great business ideas such as the one implemented by Dmitry Volokh’s company, can thrive and contribute to diversifying the market and stimulating growth.

Healthy and pioneering business

When Dmitry founded “People Will Like It” his dream was to introduce to Belarus a new genre of fast food he had become familiar with in the United States. Over there, healthy salads, fresh fruit and juices have become regular items on fast food restaurant menus and Dmitry’s company has been pioneering this healthy option offering high-quality juices and smoothies at affordable prices since he opened his first shop in Minsk in 2009.

The ever-growing demand for the products suggested it was time to expand activities, refurbish the store premises and become a wholesaler of specialised blending machines. All this was possible thanks to two loans obtained under the EBRD Belarus SME/MSE Finance Framework through its partner, MTBank.

Strengthening the outreach of local banks

To build the capacity of MTBank and other Belarusian partner financial institutions help entrepreneurs like Dmitry, local banks taking part in the framework also benefit from technical cooperation (TC), funded by the EU Neighborhood Investment Facility.

This is aimed at enabling them to keep lending to MSMEs on a sustainable basis.

Thanks to the TC, MTBank could set up a unit dedicated to MSME lending, with well-trained staff and streamlined policies and procedures, including internal audit.

“People Will Like It” has proven to be an accurate forecast for the future of the company. Today, it is the exclusive distributor of European and US premium-class blending equipment and Dmitry is planning to open its third store, with MTBank ready to provide funding.