EUR 5 million loan to boost competitiveness of small businesses in Serbia
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is extending a EUR 5 million loan to Erste Bank Serbia to support the competitiveness of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the country. The funding is aimed at supporting local small businesses to reach best industry standards and implement European Union (EU) directives. The goal is to encourage SMEs to invest in upgrades in three key areas: environmental protection, health and safety and product quality.
Participating SMEs will also be granted access to tailor-made advice and know-how for introducing and implementing standards and directives to make them more competitive in EU markets. They will also benefit from grant incentives worth up to 15% of the total loan amount on successful project completion. Advisory support and grants are both funded by the European Union.
The credit line is part of a wider EBRD-EU initiative, which encourages SMEs across the Western Balkans to invest in projects that improve their competitiveness in local and external markets. The programme is implemented in cooperation with the Ministry of Economy of Serbia. In close coordination with the Ministry of Economy, the European Union has approved an additional EUR 10 million in Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA) funding for the EBRD’s SME Competitiveness Programme in the country.
“We are very pleased to step up our support for SMEs in Serbia together with our long-standing partner Erste Bank Serbia. The new funding will facilitate access to well-structured finance for small businesses, helping them to become more competitive and allow them to integrate better into regional and European value chains,” said Aleksandra Vukosavljevic, EBRD Director, Financial Institutions, Western Balkans and Eastern Europe.
“Small and medium-sized enterprises are the growth engine of economic development and therefore we are very glad that, thanks to the partnership with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, we will be able to provide them with easier access to finance in order to improve their business. Funds from this credit line are intended for existing and potential clients who want to harmonize their products and services with the standards of the European Union and implement EU directives, which will enable them to be competitive in that market as well,” stated Slavko Caric, Chairman of the Executive Board of Erste Bank Serbia.
LATEST issue 4/2023