The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is providing TEB Sh.A., one of the largest banks in Kosovo, with a €5 million loan under the Bank’s Women in Business programme for the Western Balkans. TEB has a network of 26 branches in Kosovo.
The funds will be on-lent to women-led small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the country. Small businesses are the backbone of Kosovo’s economy, yet access to finance remains difficult, especially for small firms led by women.
TEB and the EBRD started their cooperation under the Women in Business programme in February 2015 with the signing of the first €3 million loan. These funds have been fully utilised to finance 235 women-led businesses.
The EBRD Women in Business programme was created to strengthen the role of women in the economy and to date has been rolled out successfully in 25 countries where the Bank invests. It provides access to finance through credit lines to local banks as well as business advice, training and support for women entrepreneurs and women-led enterprises.
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 is providing advisory services both to partner financial institutions and SMEs in order to address these obstacles and to accommodate the specific needs of women entrepreneurs.
Nick Tesseyman, EBRD Managing Director, Financial Institutions, said: “This is a proud moment for us today because it combines several important elements: support for the local banking sector, support for women in business and support for the local economy. We know TEB well and as a result of this experience it is our strong wish to continue our successful cooperation.”
Ayhan Albeyoglu, Managing Director of TEB Kosovo, commented: “We are pleased to continue our cooperation with the EBRD under the Women in Business programme as it addresses key issues which are also crucial for us – the promotion of small businesses and the promotion of women. Both are essential for Kosovo to thrive and we see our role as playing an active part in this. TEB Kosovo provides support for commercial banking with several programmes that are key to the future economic growth of Kosovo. They reinforce our strong focus on supporting entrepreneurship and women’s entrepreneurship in particular as it plays an increasingly important role in economic development.”
To date, the EBRD has invested more than €210 million in 50 projects in the country. The Bank is active in many sectors of the economy, and its strategic priorities in Kosovo aim to promote inclusion, a green economy, resilience and regional integration.