EBRD and EU boost resilience of small businesses in Bosnia and Herzegovina

By Bojana Vlajcic

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Artisan, a furniture producer in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and EBRD client

  • €10 million EBRD loan to Intesa Sanpaolo Banka
  • Access to finance to SMEs for investments towards EU standards
  • SMEs also benefit from EU-funded technical assistance and know-how

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is providing a €10 million loan to Intesa Sanpaolo Banka in Bosnia and Herzegovina for on-lending to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) for investments in competitiveness and measures to overcome the economic downturn following the coronavirus pandemic.

In addition to loans, SMEs benefit from tailor-made technical assistance and know-how for project preparation and implementation, as well as grant incentives worth up to 15 per cent of the total loan amount on successful project completion. The technical assistance and grants are funded by the European Union through the Western Balkans Enterprise Development and Innovation Facility (WB EDIF).

The financial package is part of a wider EBRD-EU initiative, which encourages SMEs across the Western Balkans to invest in projects that improve their competitiveness in local and external markets. Funds can be used, for example, for investments into new technologies, buildings, and energy sources in efforts to reach best industry standards and implement EU directives.

The funds will reach many SMEs located in less developed regions of Bosnia and Herzegovina. This is particularly important as these enterprises tend to have less capital and liquidity compared to the ones located in the capital, Sarajevo.

The EBRD is a leading institutional investor in Bosnia and Herzegovina. To date, it has invested over €2.7 billion in 187 projects. The Bank focuses on the expansion of the local private sector, the promotion of regional and international integration and the sustainable use of resources.

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