Bosnian SMEs to receive new funds from EBRD and EU

By Bojana Vlajcic

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  • Loan to boost SME competitiveness and foster upgrades to EU standards
  • New financing to promote SME investment in more advanced digital technologies
  • EU grants to help make investments more affordable

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is extending a €9 million loan to Raiffeisen Bank in Bosnia and Herzegovina, backed by grants from the European Union (EU), for on-lending to local small businesses.

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) will be able to apply for funds to invest in new equipment and upgrades that can help them boost their productivity, cut operational costs and improve their alignment with EU standards. These investments can be for a range of equipment and software solutions, including in areas of digital transformation and energy efficiency.

The aim is to support SMEs to go beyond their usual operations and invest in becoming more competitive in local and EU markets.

In addition to loans, SMEs will benefit from grant incentives worth up to 15 per cent of the total loan amount. These incentives are funded by the EU.

Manuela Naessl, EBRD Head of Office for Bosnia and Herzegovina, said: “We are happy to partner with Raiffeisen Bank, who has strong network of SME clients, and to extend this additional financing for local SMEs. We are happy to see growing interest among local SMEs for this type of financing that can help them modernise their operations and become more competitive”.

James Stewart, Chairman of the Management Board of Raiffeisen Bank, said: “According to its strategic commitment, Raiffeisen bank is dedicated to responsible banking for a sustainable future. Over the last several years, Raiffeisen Bank has striven to offer clients sustainable financial products and services and support them in their transition towards a more sustainable business environment in order to make a positive contribution to our community and society. I am glad to announce that due to this Facility our Bank together with the EBRD will contribute to improving the competitiveness of small and medium-sized enterprises in our country through favourable project financing conditions. These are extremely contemporary projects, such as automation, digitalization and green investments. Particularly attractive are the financial benefits that are paid to the client upon successful project verification and it generates significant market interest."

The credit line is extended under the EBRD and EU funded Go Digital in Bosnia and Herzegovina Programme, part of ‘EU4SMEs’ Programme. EBRD has secured €40 million in loans, while the EU has secured grants of €9 million for incentive payments, advisory services and programme technical assistance. The programme is accompanied by activities from Germany’s Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), which will work with the government and stakeholders to help build an ecosystem for digitalisation, automation and innovation in Bosnia and Herzegovina, including digital innovation hubs, in line with EU best practice.

The programme contributes directly to the European Commission’s Digital Agenda for the Western Balkans, which aims to support the transition of the private sector and help businesses fully secure the benefits of the digital transformation of the economy.

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