The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) today launches a new information campaign in the Kyrgyz Republic about the value of external advice for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The launch will be marked by an opening speech from the EBRD’s First Vice President, Phil Bennett, who will talk about the importance of know-how for the development of individual SMEs and for the growth of the wider economy.
Ahead of the event, Phil Bennett said: “Small and medium-sized businesses will be at the core of our new country strategy for the Kyrgyz Republic, as one of our key priorities. The Bank is already deeply committed to SMEs in the Kyrgyz Republic, working to increase access to finance through local banks and microfinance institutions, and to help SMEs gain access to expert advice. Today’s event will highlight our commitment to providing companies with know-how. Elsewhere, we are exploring new options to increase our SME lending.”
The information campaign focuses on the value of knowledge for business, on how it can help improve a company’s performance and bring commercial success. The campaign will be launched in 25 countries, from southern and eastern Europe to North Africa, Russia and Central Asia.
“One of Switzerland’s strategic priorities for the development of the private sector is to enhance the competitiveness of small and medium-sized enterprises”, says Mr. Rene Holenstein, Ambassador of Switzerland to the Kyrgyz Republic. “The EBRD’s advisory programme in Kyrgyzstan is a key programme of the Swiss Private Sector Development portfolio”.
The launch will gather representatives of government, international organisations, financial institutions, SMEs and business associations to welcome the new campaign and discuss the EBRD’s advisory work with SMEs in the Kyrgyz Republic.
The high-level EBRD delegation is visiting Bishkek from 29 June to 1 July as part of a mission to discuss the new draft EBRD strategy for the Kyrgyz Republic. The draft will be available for public comments on the Bank’s website later this year.
The EBRD has been helping small and medium-sized businesses in the Kyrgyz Republic access external advice since 2005. This has been made possible thanks to donor funding from the Government of Switzerland as a core-funder, and co-financed by Japan and the United States, as well as from the EBRD’s Shareholder Special Fund.