The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is continuing its support for female entrepreneurs in Croatia. The programme provides access to finance, business advice, training, mentoring and networking opportunities – e.g. at a recent conference in Zagreb.
As part of their “Women in Business programme”, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) hosted a conference entitled “Women in Business: Opportunities for Growth”. The event was attended by more than 100 participants who had the opportunity to follow two panel discussions. One panel looked at designing financing products to suit the needs of women-led SMEs and another one discussed the opportunities presented by the collaboration of Croatian and Taiwanese companies.
Opening the event, Vedrana Jelušić Kašić, the EBRD’s Regional Director for Croatia, Slovenia, Hungary and the Slovak Republic, said: “Women in Business is a flagship programme for us and since its launch in Croatia in 2015 we have seen great progress.” Other opening remarks were provided by Ambassador David Yung-Lo Lin from the Taipei Representative Office in the United Kingdom, and Saša Drezgić, Croatia’s Deputy Minister of Finance.
International support for female entrepreneurs locally
The first phase of the “Women in Business” programme in Croatia was launched in March 2015. To date, a total of €15 million has been provided to the two current partner financial institutions, Privredna Banka Zagreb d.d. and Raiffeisenbank Austria d.d. Zagreb, for on-lending to women-led SMEs, with another partner bank expected to join the programme by the end of this year. To date, almost 300 women entrepreneurs have been supported by the programme.
The EBRD’s Women in Business programme in Croatia is funded by the EBRD, the TaiwanBusiness-EBRD Technical Cooperation Fund, and the EBRD Shareholder Special Fund. It helps women-led small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to access finance through local partner financial institutions, and to benefit from business advice from local consultants, training, mentoring and networking opportunities.
Taiwanese funds also provide support for business matching opportunities between Croatian and Taiwanese businesses. The next business matching trip for Croatian female entrepreneurs, planned for 2017, will comprise up to 20 Croatian businesswomen from various sectors who will have the chance to meet Taiwanese counterparts, build networks, and attend specialised training sessions.
Croatia plus 15 other countries covered
The EBRD’s Women in Business programmes are currently active in the 16 countries mentioned below and have so far committed over €500 million of financing to women-led SMEs, supported by over €60 million of donor funding to enable more than 10,000 women to access finance and advice to grow their businesses.
Current list of countries covered:
Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Cyprus, Egypt, FYR Macedonia, Georgia, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Kyrgyz Republic, Moldova, Mongolia, Montenegro, Morocco, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Tajikistan, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan and Ukraine