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EBRD and Romania pledge further support to SMEs

By Olga Rosca

Memorandum of Understanding creates framework for future cooperation
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and Romania have pledged to expand support for the country’s small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), a key sector of the economy.
The Memorandum of Understanding signed in Bucharest today provides a framework for future cooperation between the EBRD and the government of Romania to implement a five-year programme of support for SMEs. The document was signed at Romania’s annual SME Forum by Andrei Gerea, Minister for Energy, Small and Medium Enterprises and the Business Environment, and James Hyslop, EBRD Director for Romania.
The programme will focus on improving the competitiveness of Romanian SMEs by providing access to the know-how of local consultants and international advisers on a cost-sharing basis.
It aims to help SMEs improve the quality, marketing, operations, energy efficiency and many other aspects of their activities as well as develop their strategies or financial reporting.
As part of the programme, the EBRD will also continue to develop the local consultancy market in Romania, offering consultants professional development and training opportunities to enhance their skills.
Andrei Gerea, Minister for Energy, Small and Medium Enterprises and Business Environment: “As minister responsible for the business environment and the SME sector I feel that Romania today – a member state of the European Union – has enormous potential for long-term economic and social development, and that potential must be realised. Our goal is therefore to help and encourage entrepreneurs and SMEs to capitalise on business opportunities. Our policy targets improved access to finance, to markets, to innovation and to specialised consultancy services, so that companies can increase their competitiveness.”
James Hyslop added: “We have achieved impressive results since the launch of the Small Business Support programme in 2006 and we very much welcome the commitment of the Romanian government to continuing this cooperation and exploring new funding opportunities. The extension of our fruitful cooperation will benefit Romania’s SMEs and its wider economy.”
To date, EBRD advisory activities have supported more than 550 SMEs in Romania. Almost 74 per cent of these firms have seen increases in turnover within one year, while 57 per cent have increased their productivity. About 3,000 jobs have been created as more than half of the enterprises have increased their number of employees.
The Bank’s Small Business Support programme in Romania is currently funded by Austria as a core donor as well as Korea, the TaiwanBusiness-EBRD Technical Cooperation Fund and the EBRD Shareholder Special Fund.
The EBRD is the leading institutional investor in Romania. In 2014 alone, the Bank invested €600 million in the country. To date, the EBRD has invested over €7 billion across 370 projects in Romania. It has also mobilised more than €14 billion for these ventures from other sources of financing.
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