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EBRD teams with NLB Prishtina for small business lending in Kosovo

By Svitlana  Pyrkalo


  • NLB Prishtina becomes EBRD partner bank for intermediated lending in Kosovo
  • €7 million for SMEs, €3 million under the EBRD Women in Business programme
  • Grant from Sweden for technical assistance and business advice for female entrepreneurs

NLB Banka Prishtina has become a partner bank of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) in Kosovo. The EBRD has extended two loans of €10 million in total to NLB Prishtina, which will on-lend the funds to its small business clients, including companies run or owned by women.

Of the total financing, €7 million of EBRD funds will be channelled to micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) across Kosovo. This package, part of the EBRD’s established framework for financial intermediaries (such as local partner banks), aims to support the competitiveness of both the borrowers and the lenders. MSMEs will be able to invest funds into company development, and the partner bank will expand its range of products for small business lending and its SME portfolio, including in the more remote regions of Kosovo.

The remaining €3 million will support female entrepreneurship, and will be provided as loans to companies either owned or managed by women. This financing is part of the EBRD’s Women in Business programme, an initiative that combines loans and business advisory services for female entrepreneurs. As part of the project, NLB Prishtina will test and introduce new financing products which will be more inclusive and gender-responsive. Business advice will be provided to female entrepreneurs under the EBRD’s Advice for Small Business programme.

The government of Sweden will support this part of the EBRD loan with donor funds that will pay for advisory services for business women and for capacity building at NLB Prishtina. Additional donor support in the form of risk-sharing will be funded by the EBRD Shareholder Special Fund.

NLB Banka Prishtina is a member of NLB Group, a leading banking and financial group with headquarters and an exclusive strategic interest in south-eastern Europe. NLB Prishtina has cooperated with the EBRD in the past under the Trade Facilitation Programme, but this project is the first cooperation on the debt side.

EBRD Head of Kosovo, Sergiy Maslichenko, said: “We are pleased to team up with NLB Prishtina on small business lending. Our main priority is supporting the private sector, which plays a crucial role in the country’s economic development. Supporting Kosovo’s MSMEs and female entrepreneurs also means supporting job creation and innovation, because small businesses account for most of the country’s employment. In many cases, lending to small businesses may ultimately turn out less risky than local banks’ existing models predict; but we are also offering our partner banks to share the risk, which enables them to grow their SME portfolio even more.”

Gazmend Kadriu, President of the Management Board at NLB Banka Prishtina, said: “We are extremely grateful to the EBRD for its trust and collaboration. This partnership exemplifies a strong dedication to stimulating economic growth and promoting entrepreneurship throughout Kosovo. We are confident that this alliance will deliver exceptional outcomes, allowing us to empower SMEs and female entrepreneurs, and forge a more promising future for everyone involved.”

To date, the EBRD has invested more than €600 million in Kosovo.

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