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Advice for Small Businesses

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Finance alone often cannot meet the challenges that small and medium-sized enterprises face. Businesses also need access to know-how, networks and skills to help them innovate and succeed. We provide advice to SMEs in a wide range of areas, from strategy to operations, quality management, financial reporting, energy efficiency and more. Our network of local consultants and international experts introduce the latest best practice, helping small businesses become more competitive and grow. We also work to build strong, competitive markets for business advice that will thrive, long into the future. This means developing competent, qualified consultants and building local institutions.

We also build strong, competitive markets for business advice that will thrive independently, well into the future. We’ve been doing this successfully for over twenty five years.  When it comes to creating healthier, more prosperous and more durable small businesses, we know how.

Our results

We have transformed the performance of thousands of small businesses and laid the foundations or smart, sustainable and inclusive growth in markets across our region. Results matter to us. Focusing on the right objectives, our projects achieve the best possible outcomes and we are confident that the results speak for themselves.

One year after completing each project, we return to measure changes in the client’s business performance.

Across the past three years, within a year of a project:

  • 61,800 new jobs were created
  • 77 per cent of our clients increased their turnover
  • 30 per cent secure external financing to continue their growth.

Market development

We also know that a competitive market for business advice requires a wide variety of advisory services and qualified, competent consultants to deliver them. Over the years we have:

  • We have over 10,000 local consultants ready to help small businesses, with wide coverage across all our regions
  • Trained the next generation of consultants in core consulting skills
  • Introduced new and more sophisticated services, including advice on energy and resource efficiency, change management, information and communications technologies, and others.

Our professional development programmes help consultants to build their competencies to better serve their clients. We offer a variety of opportunities, from introductory courses to help new consultants establish their business and learn essential consulting skills, to training for more experienced consultants to improve their marketing, business diagnostics and project management.

We also enable consultants to expand their services with specialised training in technical areas such as energy efficiency and export promotion. By creating a strong pool of local expertise, we know that the benefits of our work will be sustained into the future. 63 per cent of our clients have never worked with a consultant before starting their project, but when we come to evaluate their projects one year after project completion, 95 per cent of our clients say they would hire a consultant again, and almost over half have already done so.

Business Advice in your country

By connecting our clients to local consultants and international advisers, we help access invaluable business advice. From the smallest companies looking to grow, to those going global, our expert network of advisers helps our clients step up and start thinking big, from the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean to Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia. Select a country below to learn about our operations there.

Eligibility criteria

To qualify, an enterprise should meet the following criteria:

  • Size: Up to €50 million in annual turnover or with a balance sheet total of less than €43 million. Typically, we work with enterprises with fewer than 250 employees.
  • Ownership: We work with private businesses owned by local nationals
  • Maturity: Almost all of our work is with businesses that have been in operation for more than two years.
  • Sector: We work with businesses from almost every sector and industry. We CANNOT work with enterprises engaged in military activities or production, tobacco or gambling.
  • Integrity: We expect the companies we work with to abide by high standards of integrity. We do not work with businesses that have ongoing or previous legal proceedings in place that might affect the implementation of the project.
Albania Armenia
Azerbaijan Belarus
Bosnia and Herzegovina Bulgaria
Croatia Cyprus
Egypt Georgia
Greece Jordan
Kazakhstan Kosovo
Kyrgyz Republic Lebanon
Moldova Mongolia
Montenegro Morocco
North Macedonia Romania
Serbia Tajikistan
Tunisia Turkmenistan
Türkiye Ukraine
Uzbekistan West Bank and Gaza


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