The EBRD launches the WB Youth in Business programme, which combines financing and advice
First 4.5 million euros to the Kosovar Banka për Biznes to be passed on to young entrepreneurs
Sweden will provide donor support for the regional roll-out of the programme
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is launching its new Western Balkans Youth in Business program with a project in Kosovo, becoming the first country to benefit from this special credit line for young entrepreneurs under the age of 35.
A EUR 4.5 million loan will be granted to Banka për Biznes in Kosovo, which will on-lend the funds to local businesses owned or managed by young entrepreneurs, likely to be start-ups, micro-enterprises and corporations the second generation acts .
Banka për Biznes already offers other types of financing for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) in cooperation with the EBRD.
The EBRD’s Western Balkans Youth in Business program will provide a total of €100 million to local banks in the region’s six countries. In addition to financing, the EBRD will provide advisory services in the form of consultants, e-learning and training, all aimed at promoting youth entrepreneurship and financial inclusion in the region.
The Swedish government is supporting the program with a €3.5 million grant to help local partner banks increase their capacity and develop new financial products for young entrepreneurs, and to help eligible small businesses grow their businesses Empower and take their businesses to the next level.
The EBRD loan will be supplemented by €450,000 of first-loss risk coverage from the shareholders’ special fund, the EBRD’s multi-donor fund.
The loan was signed in Prishtina by Mark Bowman, EBRD Vice-President for Policy and Partnerships: “We are delighted to once again work with our long-term partner Banka për Biznes, this time supporting Kosovo’s dynamic young entrepreneurs. Kosovo needs to create more domestic opportunities for its well-educated young workforce. Better access to finance and advice for young entrepreneurs will help retain talent and boost the economy.”
Artan Sadiku, Acting CEO of Banka për Biznes said: “BPB is privileged to have reached an exclusivity agreement with the EBRD to launch the Youth in Business program in Kosovo. Our long-term partnership with the EBRD has resulted in another project, this time aimed at promoting entrepreneurship in Kosovo while supporting young micro and small business owners. The program is in line with BPB’s strategy, specifically our commitment to provide non-financial services to the MSME sector. We believe that our holistic approach to this sector – meaning offering not only financing but also training and other non-financial services – will ensure long and trusted relationships with our clients.”
Banka për Biznes, the seventh largest bank in Kosovo, was established in 2001 and offers a wide range of commercial banking products with a focus on micro-enterprises and SMEs. The EBRD holds a 10 per cent stake in BPB.
The EBRD has so far invested more than €625 million in Kosovo. The bank’s strategic priorities in the country are to promote the green economy, support competitive private sector development and promote regional integration.
Previously, the bank’s Youth in Business program in North Africa was launched with a US$140 million earmarked package in Egypt and a €100 million package in Morocco, also combining loans and advice.