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The EBRD gives loans to small women-owned businesses

The EBRD gives loans to small women-owned businesses

 March 20, 2019

The EBRD has given a €5mn loan to Intesa Sanpaolo Bank Albania (ISBA) for small businesses owned by women in Albania. This forms part of the EBRD's €1.3 billion investment in 86 projects in Albania.

Supporting women entrepreneurs

The five-year loan to ISBA is part of the EBRD’s Western Balkans Women in Business Programme. The EBRD has also set up a €2mn facility from 2015, which has been used by 147 women entrepreneurs.

The loan will contribute to greater economic inclusion by supporting women-led micro, small and medium-sized businesses’ (MSMEs) access to finance and business advisory services.

The Women in Business Programme in the Western Balkans is supported by Italy, Luxembourg and Sweden to train bankers on new financial products available to businesswomen as well as to help identify good financing opportunities.

Access to mentoring, training and networking

The EBRD’s Women in Business Programme promotes women’s involvement in business by helping small businesses led by women to access the finance and knowledge they need to expand.

The programme in the Western Balkans was launched in 2014 and since has provided over €30 million to partner financial institutions for on-lending to women-led SMEs across the region. The programme has also helped more than 2400 such firms gain access to business advice and provided mentoring, the online diagnostic tool Business Lens as well as training and networking opportunities.

The new loan to ISBA is part of the introduction of more inclusive and gender-responsive products by the EBRD. ISBA is a long-standing EBRD client and a fully-owned subsidiary of Intesa Sanpaolo Spa. It is the fourth largest bank in Albania, and has good regional outreach with 34 branches around the country.

"[The new loan will] support the introduction of even more inclusive, sustainable and gender-responsive products specifically designed for female entrepreneurs," says Silvio Pedrazzi, CEO of ISBA.

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