An EU-funded programme to boost SME competitiveness in Albania

BusinessSouth-East European INDUSTRIAL Мarket - issue 3/2015

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), the European Union and the Ministry of Economic Development, Trade, Tourism and Entrepreneurship in Albania launched a new EU-funded support programme for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the country.

”The enlargement process requires Albania to be a well-prepared country, with a strong economy and business able to compete with those of EU member states. The strengthening of SMEs through support in innovation and entrepreneurship is an investment in Albania as a future competitive EU member able to benefit from the enlarged internal market,” the head of the European Union delegation to Albanian Ambassador Romana Vlahutin, stated.

”We welcome this on-going commitment from the EU and the EBRD to supporting SME development in Albania. SMEs form the majority of businesses in Albania and programmes like this which focus on knowledge-transfer and competitiveness, are very relevant”, Arben Ahmetaj, Minister of Economic Development, Trade, Tourism and Entrepreneurship in Albania, added.

The EBRD is currently offering unique support to small and medium-sized enterprises, by helping them access a combined range of advisory services and finance. This programme is part of an on-going commitment from the EBRD and the EU to supporting SME development in Albania.

The new SME advisory programme follows on the previous 1 million euro EU-funded EBRD advisory programme in 2008 and will aid small and medium-sized enterprises in Albania to tackle the internal challenges impeding their growth. Since the start of its operations in Albania, the EBRD has invested almost 1 billion euro in some 70 projects in various sectors of the country’s economy, the Bank reported.

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