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€5 million loan and advisory support to encourage investments by women led businesse

Women-led businesses are to benefit from new financing opportunities provided by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and Banca Intesa Belgrade in Serbia. A credit line of €5 million, which Sweden is backing with grants for technical assistance and advisory support, will boost investments by women entrepreneurs.

Under the new credit line, women entrepreneurs will benefit from risk-sharing, which the EBRD will cover in the amount of up to 8 per cent of the loan amount. This will allow more women entrepreneurs, who would not otherwise be able to provide hard collateral, to apply for and obtain financing.

Aleksandra Vukosavljevic, EBRD Director, Financial Institutions, Western Balkans and Eastern Europe, said: “Creating equal opportunities for women in business is not only a gender issue, but is also critical for any country to progress towards its full economic potential. It is especially pertinent in the economies where the EBRD invests, where access to finance is often holding women back from running or growing their businesses.”

The financing for businesses run or owned by women is being provided by the EBRD’s Women in Business programme, which promotes women’s entrepreneurship and their participation in business more broadly by providing them with access to finance and know-how.

Banca Intesa, as a long-standing partner of the EBRD, joined the "Women in Business" program in 2015 in order to facilitate easier access to financial resources for women entrepreneurs.

“I am immensely pleased that, as the first bank on the Serbian market that joined the EBRD’s programme Women in Business, we are able to offer additional support to our clients in the next round as well, in the form of favourable financing conditions, in order to help them improve their business and boost their competitiveness on the market. So far, we have granted EUR 33 million in loans to women entrepreneurs within this programme, who make up over a quarter of our business community, helping boost this important segment and supporting the economic prosperity of the country as a whole. Using these funds, we have successfully supported more than 3,000 women-owned SMEs, as reflected by the Outstanding Women in Business Award, which was presented to our client, Dragana Milanović, owner of the Roberto Baressi brand, by the EBRD,” said Darko Popović, President of the Executive Board of Banca Intesa.