New line of credit makes financing for women entrepreneurs more accessible
Additional advisory support for women-led SMEs funded by Sweden
Women’s empowerment and inclusion drives economic growth
Women-led businesses will benefit from new financing opportunities offered by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and Intesa Bank Belgrade In Serbia. A credit line of 5 million euros, which Sweden supports with grants for technical assistance and advisory support, will stimulate investments by women entrepreneurs.
In the economies where the EBRD invests, including Serbia, women-led small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are generally considered a riskier segment due to their small size and the fact that they tend to have fewer material guarantees.
Under the new line of credit, women entrepreneurs will benefit from risk sharing, which the EBRD will cover up to 8% of the loan amount. This will enable more women entrepreneurs, who otherwise would not be able to provide material collateral, to apply for and obtain financing.
Aleksandra Vukosavljevic, EBRD Financial Institutions Director for Western Balkans and Eastern Europe, said: “Creating equal opportunities for women in business is not just a gender issue. , but is also essential for any country to progress towards its full economic potential. This is particularly relevant in the economies where the EBRD invests, where access to finance often prevents women from running or growing their businesses.
Banca Intesa Belgrade is a long-standing partner of the EBRD and its work to improve access to finance for women entrepreneurs. The bank joined the EBRD’s Women in Business program in 2015 and has so far granted more than €33 million to finance more than 3,000 investments by women-led businesses, largely located outside from Belgrade.
Darko Popović, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Banca Intesa Belgrade, said: “As the first bank in Serbia to join the EBRD’s Women in Business programme, I am delighted that Banca Intesa Belgrade continues to support women entrepreneurs in Serbia, who make up more than a quarter of our business community. To date, we have disbursed €33 million in loans to women entrepreneurs under this program and offered favorable financing terms, helping to energize this critical segment and supporting the economic prosperity of the country as a whole. Thanks to these funds, we have successfully helped more than 3,000 women-owned SMEs, as evidenced by the Outstanding Women in Business award, which was awarded to our client, Dragana Milanović, owner of the Roberto Baressi brand, by the EBRD.
Funding for businesses run or owned by women is provided by the women in business program, which promotes women’s entrepreneurship and participation in business more broadly by giving them access to finance and know-how.
The EBRD rolled out the program in the Western Balkans in 2014 and has since supported more than 5,000 women-led businesses. The program will hold its regional conference in Podgorica on June 21-21, 2023, where participating financial institutions will also be rewarded for their work and contribution to women’s empowerment in the region.