Eastern Partnership Countries – Women in Business Programme



Project number:


Business sector:

Financial institutions

Notice type:


Environmental category:


Approval date:

27 Feb 2015



PSD disclosed:

18 Mar 2015

Sub-projects signed under this framework

Project Description

The EBRD is considering the Eastern Partnership Women in Business (WiB) Programme (the Programme) in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine (the EaP Countries) to:
  • Support women-led Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (Women-led SMEs) in accessing finance for their sustainable growth;
  • Develop sustainable credit mechanisms targeted to women-led SMEs through technical assistance to financial intermediaries in the Eastern Partnership (the “EaP”) countries; and
  • Support Women-led SMEs in accessing know-how, non-financial business development services and networking opportunities.
The aim of the Programme is to promote women's entrepreneurship and access to finance, and more broadly women's participation in business, through the development of a strong WiB SME sector in the EaP countries, by facilitating access to finance and advice for women-led SMEs.
EBRD credit lines in the amount of USD 55 million to Participating Financial Institutions (PFIs) will be combined with a portfolio-based risk sharing mechanism and a technical cooperation (TC) package for PFIs, with links to the EBRD’s Small Business Support (SBS) programme specifically targeting women-led SMEs.

Transition Impact

The Programme has important transition impact potential, specifically in relation to addressing the gender related inclusion gap for access to finance in the region. It will help the PFIs develop, test, and roll out tailored sustainable credit mechanisms targeted to Women SMEs through technical assistance and strengthen their capacities to effectively reach out to the target segment via marketing and outreach activities. It is also important to note that the PFIs in the EaP region have never provided specific financial products designed for women entrepreneurs, and this Programme would be the first project launched in the region that encompasses both the credit-supply (TC and First Loss Risk Cover (FLRC) to PFIs) and demand (SBS’ advisory services to the targeted women SMEs) sides via an integrated approach. 

The Client

The Programme will be available to Participating Financial Institutions (“PFIs”) that will be commercial banks and non-bank financial institutions including leasing companies and non-bank microfinance institutions ( “PFIs”) incorporated in the Eastern Partnership countries of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine (“EaP countries”).

EBRD Finance

USD 55 million

Project Cost

USD 55 million

Environmental Impact

Categorised FI (2008). All PFIs and activities funded under the Framework will have to comply with EBRDs PRs 2 and 9. The PFIs will also incorporate and comply with the EBRD Environmental and Social Procedures for Financial Intermediaries, which vary depending on the nature of lending (i.e. SME lending, mortgage lending, consumer finance, insurance and leasing) and which will be included in their credit appraisal process. Requirements of the Environmental and Social Procedures include, inter alia, compliance with the EBRD E&S Exclusion and Referral Lists; ensuring compliance of the sub-borrowers with national standards and regulations for environment, health and safety, social and labour; compliance of the PFIs with relevant national employment laws and standards. The capacity of each new PFI to implement the EBRD E&S requirements will be assessed on a case by case basis by reviewing PFIs’ current environmental and social risk management practices. All PFIs will be required to undertake the EBRD E&S E-learning training programme and update their credit procedures, to include EBRD E&S requirements. All PFIs will be required to submit Annual Environmental and Social Reports to the EBRD.

Technical Cooperation

The programme will be supported by TC programme consisting of two components:
  • A Capacity Building Programme for the PFIs through Technical Cooperation (“TC”). The TC programme will support PFIs in the process of better understanding the financial needs of women-led businesses and developing new systems, business and institutional models, products, and delivery mechanisms to reach out to female clients. Tailored packages of technical assistance will be designed and delivered to PFIs using specialized consultants.
  • Women in Business Small Business Support component (SBS TC window) will be provided to increase women-led SMEs access to know-how, non-financial business development services and networking opportunities. Existing and potential sub borrowers of the dedicated credit lines will be referred to SBS for tailored advisory services’ projects, training, mentoring and long-term coaching.
The expected sources of funding are Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), European Union and European Union Neighbourhood Investment Facility (EU-NIF)

Business opportunities

For business opportunities or procurement, contact the client company.

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