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EBRD partners with Finansbank to support women-led SMEs in Turkey

By Olga Rosca

€50 million loan under Finance and Advice for Women in Business programme
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is providing €50 million to Finansbank to support women entrepreneurs in Turkey.
The funds will be on-lent to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) managed by women from across the country under the Finance and Advice for Women in Business programme, which is jointly funded by the European Union, the EBRD and the Republic of Turkey.
Sylvia Gansser-Potts, Financial Institutions Director for Turkey and the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean at the EBRD, said: “Female entrepreneurs in Turkey continue to face considerable challenges in accessing finance and know-how to grow their businesses. Therefore we are pleased to join up with Finansbank in our efforts to support women in business. We welcome Finansbank’s commitment to expanding lending to this market segment and we will also support it with technical assistance and advice.” 
Metin Karabiber, Assistant General Manager for SME and Agricultural Banking at Finansbank stressed that the bank has experienced a 43 per cent (more than twice the industry) growth in SME, merchant and corporate banking in the first three quarters in 2014. He said: "Female entrepreneurs' power to generate values and employment are very important for our country's economic and development objectives. We will continue to support them with a wide array of solutions that best suit the needs of SMEs, including finance, consultancy and cash management products. This transaction further enhances our ability to financially support Turkey's micro and small enterprises. This success demonstrates the level of trust bestowed by international financial institutions upon our bank and on Turkey's growing economy and enhances our ability to attract foreign investment to Turkish economy.
Finansbank, one of the largest privately owned Turkish commercial banks, is among the first lenders to join the Finance and Advice for Women in Business programme. The programme includes a comprehensive package of dedicated credit lines to participating banks to facilitate access to finance for women-led businesses and a risk-sharing mechanism and advice to help these banks better address the financial needs and growth plans of their clients. The programme also involves direct advice to SMEs managed by women to improve the competitiveness of these businesses.  
The EBRD has a strong track record of providing finance to Turkish banks for on-lending to SMEs. To date, the Bank has provided funds worth €1.6 billion to local lenders in Turkey, with €120 million provided for women-led businesses since 2012.
The EBRD started investing in the country in 2009 and currently operates from offices in Istanbul, Ankara and Gaziantep. To date, the EBRD has invested almost €4.5 billion in Turkey, in more than 130 infrastructure, energy, agribusiness, industry and finance projects. In just five years the EBRD’s portfolio in Turkey has become one of the largest among the countries where the Bank invests.
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