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Financing under the EBRD Women in Business programme now exceeds €500 million

By EBRD  Press Office

Hysnije Kurteshi, Director of ‘Hello’ school and kindergarten, Gjilan, Kosovo; Aynur Gümüşsoy, Baker, Kızılcahamam,Turkey; Rafaela Rica, founder, Iceberg Communications, Tirana, Albania; Kymbat Arslan, founder, Stone Décor, Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan

  • EBRD Women in Business programme passes €500 million milestone
  • More than 60,000 women-led small businesses in 18 countries benefitted to date
  • Programme combines financing with technical assistance and access to know-how

Financing under the EBRD’s pioneering Women in Business programme has now topped the €500 million mark.  

Less than four year since its launch in 2015, the initiative has provided a total of €506 million in credit lines to more than 60,000 women-led small and medium-sized companies in 18 countries.

The programme offers a unique combination of financing together with technical assistance and access to know-how. This includes mentoring and networking opportunities as well as training and business advice in operational efficiency, strategy, financial management and others. The EBRD also offers the online self-diagnostic tool Business Lens, helping women entrepreneurs identify the strengths and opportunities within their businesses.

The programme is also complemented by active policy efforts, working with governments and stakeholders towards a more enabling business environment for women entrepreneurs.

Donor contributions from the European Union, Italy, the Government of Kazakhstan, Luxembourg, Sweden, the Republic of Turkey, the MENA Transition Fund, the TaiwanBusiness-EBRD Technical Cooperation Fund, the Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative (We-Fi) finance key aspects of the Women in Business programme, as well as multi-donor funds hosted by the EBRD such as the Early Transition Countries Fund (Canada, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Japan, Korea, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taipei China and the United Kingdom), the Small Business Impact Fund (Italy, Japan, Korea, Luxembourg, Sweden, Switzerland, Taipei China and the USA) and the SEMED Multi-Donor Account (Australia, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Taipei China and the United Kingdom). .

Francis Malige, EBRD Managing Director, Financial Institutions, lauded the initiative’s success: “Promoting women’s inclusion in business is vital in order to realise the full economic potential of any country. It is unique in its combination of finance and advisory, but what really makes it stand out is the impact it is making in empowering women and unleashing their potential.”

Ines Rocha, EBRD Director, SME Financial Products, added: “In the EBRD regions, women entrepreneurs often continue to face legal and cultural barriers when they wish to go into business. Our comprehensive Women in Business programme has been helping address these issues on an impressive range from fashion designers to furniture producers and from retailers to construction companies. We are proud and pleased to contribute to the creation of high-performing and inclusive business environments in the economies where we work.”

By strengthening gender equality and empowering women and contribution to the creation of an inclusive private sector in its countries of operations, the EBRD Women in Business programme also supports the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.

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