The EBRD is facilitating the access to finance for female entrepreneurs by providing a €1.5 million loan to Mikrokreditna Fondacija Mi-Bospo Tuzla (MiBospo), the leading micro-finance institution in Bosnia and Herzegovina and neighbouring countries focused on women in business.
The loan is extended under the EBRD Western Balkans and Croatia financing framework and will complement a loan of the same amount by EFSE. Both institutions will also provide MiBospo with technical assistance for product development, marketing assistance and efficiency upgrades of its operations.
MiBospo has played a pioneering role in facilitating local women entrepreneurs’ access to finance and launched the Women’s Business Network (WBN) with support from USAID for the systematic development of female entrepreneurship. Currently, 1,500 women entrepreneurs benefit from the network.
Libor Krkoska, EBRD Head of Office in Sarajevo said: “Supporting women’s access to finance is particularly important for the country and a core concern of the EBRD. Our loan is intended to strengthen MiBospo’s activities in the market by expanding its lending to micro and small enterprises, with a special focus on boosting women’s businesses as well as their economic and social position.”
MiBospo CEO Nejira Nalic added: “We have been present in the market as a micro credit service provider for low income women entrepreneurs since 1996. We are proud to have gained the trust of our clients and we are happy to continue our work with the EBRD’s support. This is proof of our mutual commitment to responsible finance. I believe in entrepreneurship and that our work will serve as a motivation for more women to start their businesses and ensure sustainable incomes for themselves, their families and their employees.”
To date, MiBospo has disbursed some €230 million and currently has some 15,000 clients with a portfolio of approximately €15 million.
Reaching out to micro and small enterprises via non-banking financial institutions remains an important way to support the local economy in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The EBRD remains committed to this approach especially as credit in the country and the wider region remains scare and the Bank seeks to boost the real economy.
To date, the EBRD has invested more than €1.5 billion in some 100 projects in Bosnia and Herzegovina with a focus on infrastructure development, support for small and medium-sized enterprises and strengthening the financial sector.