Joint outreach with EU4Business Initiative to support local businesses
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has opened a new regional office in Ukraine’s second-largest municipality Kharkiv to expand its outreach in the eastern parts of the country.
The Kharkiv office is the EBRD’s third branch in Ukraine after Kiev and Lviv and is supported by the EU through the EU4Business Initiative. It will serve as the Bank’s regional hub in the east of the country, Ukraine’s industrial powerhouse.
The new office will add depth and strength to the EBRD’s business in Ukraine and will offer access to expert advice for local small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
The EBRD is the largest international financial investor in Ukraine. To date, the Bank has made a cumulative commitment of almost €12 billion through 369 projects since the start of its operations in the country in 1993.
Francis Malige, EBRD Managing Director, Eastern Europe and Caucasus, said: “Since the opening of our first office in Kiev in 1993, the EBRD has always been committed to Ukraine. We expanded our presence to the west of the country in 2014 with an office in Lviv and we are now opening a regional office in Kharkiv in the east of the country. Eastern Ukraine is important for the economy and also has strong SMEs. The proximity of our new office to businesses in the region will help unlock their potential. I am confident that the local EBRD team will fly the Bank’s flag high in the region and will deliver services of the highest quality to firms across Ukraine.”
At the office opening the EBRD and the EU announced the appointment of so-called partners, who will manage business support centres across Ukraine under the EU4Business Initiative. The centres will become operational in the first half of 2017 at 15 cities around the country, including Kharkiv. They will aim to raise awareness among local SMEs about the opportunities available under the Initiative and will serve as main contact points for small businesses throughout Ukraine. The EBRD will help the selected partners develop capacity to process business requests and provide SMEs with adequate information support.
The selected partners for each city are as follows.
- Chernihiv – Chernihiv Chamber of Commerce and Industry
- Dnipro – Dnipro Chamber of Commerce and Industry
- Kramatorsk – Donetsk Chamber of Commerce and Industry
- Ivano-Frankivsk – Business Community Club NGO
- Kharkiv – Kharkiv Chamber of Commerce and Industry
- Khmelnytsky – Civil Movement New Economic Policy NGO
- Kropyvnytsky – Kirovograd Chamber of Commerce and Industry
- Kiev – Kiev Chamber of Commerce and Industry
- Lviv – PPV Knowledge Networks
- Mykolaiv – Mykolaiv Regional Business Support Centre
- Odessa – Odessa Chamber of Commerce and Industry
- Rivne – Smart People (PE Komarenko)
- Vinnytsya – Vinnytsya Business People’s Club
- Zaporizhzhya – Zaporizhzhya Chamber of Commerce and Industry
- Poltava – partner to be announced.
Ambassador Hugues Mingarelli, Head of the EU Delegation to Ukraine, commented: “The EU strongly supports the efforts of the Ukrainian government to improve the business environment. In particular, we introduce new initiatives to support SMEs that create jobs across Ukraine, offer exciting new products for local and EU customers and are important taxpayers. Our EU4Business initiative is focused on the development of such companies by increasing their entrepreneurial skills and financial literacy, their ability to adjust to markets inside and outside Ukraine and to use opportunities for innovation and energy efficiency.
The opening of the regional office of the EBRD and the selection of partners who will manage the business support centres across Ukraine will further contribute to the transfer of industry-specific know-how to SMEs and will improve their access to finance. I invite all small and medium-sized companies to take advantage of a dedicated website, www.eu4business.eu, which from now on will serve as single entry point for everyone wishing to learn about EU-funded support for SMEs.”
The EU4Business initiative aims to support private sector development in Ukraine by equipping SMEs with new skills and supporting their ambitions to export to the largest neighbouring market, as well as providing financing for SMEs. In parallel to that, the EU-funded initiative supports the government in the deregulation process in order to improve the business climate.
On 20 May, 2016 an agreement worth €40 million was signed by the EU and the EBRD under the EU4Business Initiative to provide up to €28 million for business advice, information, training and other support to SMEs in Ukraine. The assistance includes the creation of a network of business support centres across Ukraine and also envisages that up to €12 million of EU4Business funds will be used to support the EBRD’s direct financing of smaller enterprises.
The EBRD is the largest institutional investor in Ukraine. The development of the private sector is a strategic priority for the Bank in its engagement with Ukraine, including strong support to SMEs through the EBRD’s Small Business Initiative. In addition to finance, the Bank has provided expert advice to more than 650 local SMEs since 2010, thanks to funding from the EU and other donors, increasing competitiveness, stimulating growth, and supporting the creation of over 2,500 jobs countrywide.