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EBRD supports women-led business in Albania

By Viktorija Melohina

Phil Bennett, EBRD First Vice President and Silvio Pedrazzi, CEO of ISBA at the signing ceremony in Tirana.

€2 million to improve access to finance under Women in Business Programme

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is supporting the development of women entrepreneurship in Albania with a €2 million senior loan to Intesa Sanpaolo Banka Albania sh.a (ISBA), one of the leading banks in the country.

The loan is being extended under the EBRD’s €20 million Western Balkans “Women in Business”-programme for on-lending to women-led small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Albania. ISBA will be the first bank to join the framework in Albania.

The financing will be complemented by technical assistance to partner financial institutions and tailored advisory services for women-led SMEs. The programme is jointly supported by the governments of Italy, Sweden and Luxembourg and the EBRD Shareholder Special Fund.

Phil Bennett, EBRD First Vice President, said: “The EBRD Women in Business’-programme helps address the challenges female entrepreneurs face when running a business such as access to finance or technical expertise. Empowering women helps build an inclusive society, which is key to achieving sustainable economic growth.”

Silvio Pedrazzi, CEO of ISBA, added: “Women entrepreneurs in Albania face many challenges, and we are here to support them in accessing finance and advice they need to grow their businesses. Hence, we were the first to jump on board with this programme, to build sustainable financial products crafted for female entrepreneurs.”

The EBRD’s “Women in Business”-programme is focused on improving access to finance and advice for women-led SMEs. Credit lines are extended to partner banks for on-lending. Advisory services are offered alongside mentoring and longer-term coaching to provide women entrepreneurs with the knowledge and confidence to take the next step.

Since the start of its operations in Albania, the EBRD has invested almost €1 billion in some 70 projects in various sectors of the country's economy.

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