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EBRD, EU and Sweden support SMEs and female entrepreneurs in Montenegro

By Bojana Vlajcic

  • Financial package to support small and women-led enterprises in Montenegro
  • Boosting access to finance and know-how for women entrepreneurs and small businesses
  • Donor support from the European Union and Sweden

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is supporting women entrepreneurs and small businesses in Montenegro with a new financing package to Crnogorska Komercijalna Banka AD Podgorica (CKB), a member of the OTP group and the country’s largest bank.

Some €3 million of the loan package will be allocated to supporting investments by women-led businesses. The funding will be provided through the EBRD’s Women in Business programme, which promotes women’s entrepreneurship and their participation in business. Women entrepreneurs will also have a chance to benefit from tailor-made business advisory services under the Bank’s Advice for Small Businesses programme.

The Women in Business programme is co-funded by the government of Sweden, which has been supporting it in the Western Balkans since 2014.

A further €3 million will be on-lent to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in an effort to expand access to finance for private firms across the country under the Western Balkans SME Competitiveness Support Programme.

The loan will give SMEs in Montenegro access to finance, enabling them to go beyond their day-to-day operations and invest in upgrades with a view to reaching EU standards. SMEs can use the funds to upgrade technology, processes or services, particularly those related to product quality, health and safety and EU environmental requirements.

SMEs will also benefit from grant incentives of 15 per cent of the total loan amount, funded by the European Union.

Remon Zakaria, EBRD Head of Montenegro, said: “We are delighted to join forces with CKB in Montenegro and to work together on boosting small and women-led businesses in the country. With its strong presence in the market, CKB will be our key partner in advancing economic transition by promoting competitiveness and gender inclusion in Montenegrin firms.”

“The signing of today's contracts is a continuation of the successful cooperation between CKB and the EBRD. All the capacities that CKB possesses are in the service of the further development of the Montenegrin economy and the promotion of quality business practices and principles. Credit lines related to Women in Business and SME competitiveness program are in the accordance with mentioned principles and I am more than convinced that this opportunity will be recognized among CKB clients.” said Tamás Kamarási, Chairperson of Management Board.

The EBRD has invested €711 million in Montenegro since it began operating there in 2006. The Bank’s strategic priorities in the country are to promote the green economy, support the competitive development of the private sector and foster regional integration.

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