€3 million loan to help growth of women-led SMEs
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is launching a Women in Business programme in Kosovo with a €3 million loan extended to TEB Bank.
The funds are being provided under the EBRD Western Balkans Women in Business framework, a €20 million facility focused on supporting the development of women-led small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the region by providing access to finance and know-how.
The programme combines financing, technical assistance, risk mitigation in the form of first-loss cover for local financial institutions and business advisory services to support women-led SMEs. Technical assistance and advisory services are jointly funded by the EBRD and the governments of Luxembourg and Sweden.
Although the importance of women in the economy is generally acknowledged, women-led businesses still often face obstacles in obtaining credit and in developing managerial skills. The programme will provide advisory services to both partner financial institutions and SMEs in order to address these obstacles and to accommodate the specific needs of women entrepreneurs.
“We are very pleased that TEB Bank Kosovo is taking the lead in supporting women-led businesses in Kosovo. More broadly, this project is about creating more opportunities and jobs in the economy. This is critical and we want to promote more such initiatives” said EBRD Managing Director for central and south-eastern Europe, Jean-Marc Peterschmitt.
Anton Kobakov, EBRD Head of Office, Pristina, said: “We are proud to launch the Women in Business Programme in Kosovo, the first project of its kind aiming to promote economic inclusion, and hence development, in the country.”
“This agreement has significance in many levels and above all it reflects the bank’s core values of social responsibilities. As a bank we consider that the synergy created with EBRD and the content of the program will tackle economic and social empowerment of women and further promote entrepreneurship as means of progress and development” said TEB Managing Director, Ayhan Albeyoglu.
TEB is the fourth largest bank in Kosovo in terms of total assets with a market share of about 12 per cent.
The EBRD began investing in Kosovo in 1999. To date it has signed 39 projects in the country with a net cumulative business volume of more than €124 million. Kosovo became a member and country of operations of the EBRD in December 2012.