EBRD welcomes Albania’s EFA Solution to Blue Ribbon programme for leading SMEs

By Nigina Mirbabaeva

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  • EBRD President invites leading Albanian manufacturer of footwear and PPE to join prestigious programme
  • Enterprise to receive financing and advice as part of the programme
  • Blue Ribbon companies benefit from tailored EBRD support that enables growth and transformation

The EBRD is welcoming one of Albania’s leading manufacturers of footwear and personal protective equipment (PPE), EFA Solution, to the Bank’s exclusive Blue Ribbon programme for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

EBRD President Odile Renaud-Basso, who is on her first visit to Albania, met with EFA’s management and staff at their headquarters in Tirana and personally handed them the letter of invitation on behalf of the Bank.

EFA Solution is the fourth firm in Albania to be invited to join the selective programme, which is aimed at supporting the development ambitions of market-leading companies. The firm stands out thanks to its strong management team, high-quality products and special attention to innovation and efficiency.

“We are proud to support EFA Solution and other SMEs in Albania with financing and advisory services to enable their growth and transformation into digital, green and inclusive enterprises,” said the EBRD President.

The company will receive business advice and financing over the next five years to help it grow and to support the development of the SME ecosystem in Albania.

EFA Solution is a woman-led, well-known service provider and manufacturer on the Albanian footwear market, producing items for global brands. It has been an EBRD client since 2016 and has benefited from advisory services under the EBRD’s Advice for Small Businesses programme. With funding support from Italy and the European Union, the firm has successfully implemented two projects to optimise its operations and bring them in line with international best practice.

It has also benefited from €2.5 million of financing under the EBRD’s Risk Sharing Framework, through which the EBRD guarantees loans from partner banks to local enterprises, making businesses more competitive and more resilient for the future.

As a member of the Blue Ribbon programme, EFA Solution plans to improve its corporate governance practices and implement environmental, social and governance principles in its operations, continuing the company’s transformation from a simple manufacturer to a partner for international clients.

The EBRD’s Blue Ribbon programme provides business advice and finance for selected market leaders – many of which are at the centre of local supply chains – to support their growth and transformation. By helping these high-potential companies to become more competitive, greener, digitally enabled and inclusive, the programme contributes to the wider trade ecosystem in the Bank’s regions. The programme currently includes 68 companies from 27 countries and continues to grow.

The EBRD is a leading institutional investor in Albania. To date, the Bank has invested €1.77 billion in 124 projects in the country, and supported more than 900 local SMEs with advisory services.

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