EU issues € 10 mln to support small business in Eastern Partnership states

EU issues € 10 mln to support small business in Eastern Partnership states

European Union has allocated € 10 mln to support small business in EBRD’s Eastern Partnership States, bank’s press service reported. This allowance will be spent to financing of 60+ projects within Enterprises Growth Program (EGP) in Azerbaijan, Ukraine, Armenia, Georgia, Belarus and Moldova and 600+ projects within Business Advices Service (BAS).

The BAS Programme supports economic transition, by both achieving enterprise change in potentially viable micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) and also developing sustainable infrastructures of business advisory services in the EBRD countries of operation. BAS intervention is systemic in that it targets a market system by acting as a facilitator for the use of private-sector consultants by SMEs to obtain a diverse array of services.

BAS operates on both the demand side and on the supply side. On the one hand, it stimulates demand by raising the understanding of SMEs of the potential benefits of using external consultants. On the other hand, it directly increases the supply and quality of local advisory services. BAS activities include assisting individual enterprises to engage with local consultants on narrowly-based, specific projects with a rapid payback. BAS-supported projects typically last around one to maximum six months. Additionally, BAS carries out market development activities which aim strengthening and development of professional business support services and overall improvement of business enabling environment.
Examples of the latter include MSME and consultancy training courses, support to, and development of, existing relevant local institutions, visibility and dissemination, and informed contributions to EBRD policy dialogue.

The Enterprise Growth Programme helps small and medium to large sized enterprises transform themselves. EGP advisors enable enterprises to make structural changes and develop new business skills at senior management level, helping them to thrive and compete in market economies. EGP operates in conjunction with the EBRD’s Business Advisory Service (BAS).

The EGP’s advisory services are provided by experienced former CEOs and directors from economically-developed countries. Advisors transfer management and technical know-how to enterprises, conveying principles of responsible corporate governance and sharing commercial experience directly with senior managers.

The EGP is managed on a not-for-profit basis, utilising donor funds to support the projects. About 50% of funding is provided by the European Union. The remainder comes from individual donor countries or groups of donor countries. No funding is given to the enterprises directly. Since its inception in 1993, the EGP has carried out over 1,500 enterprise-restructuring projects using more than €97 million of donor funding.

85% of projects have been evaluated as “successful” or “highly successful”, based on overall results benchmarks such as improved management skills, increased productivity, turnover, security of employment, business planning, and greatly-improved understanding and capability of design and marketing.

The EGP utilises some of the world’s most experienced business leaders to advise companies modernise their management practices and improve turnover and productivity at no cost to the company itself. Each EGP team spends around 60 days with the enterprise over a period of 18-24 months. After the project is completed, the impact on the company’s business performance is independently evaluated.

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