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EBRD support has reached over 4,800 female entrepreneurs

EBRD support has reached over 4,800 female entrepreneurs

 August 02, 2022

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is committed to promoting gender equality, equality of opportunities, and women’s economic empowerment through its investments and policy dialogue.

Since the launch of the Women in Business programme in the Western Balkans in 2014, the Bank has reached more than 4,800 female entrepreneurs.

Now, a new financing package microfinance institution, Agency for Finance, will support women entrepreneurs and small businesses in Kosovo. The financing aims to improve access to finance for micro- and women-led enterprises outside Pristina in Kosovo, and to support investments by small businesses and female entrepreneurs, along with donor support from Sweden.

Providing access to finance and know-how

EBRD supporting women-led businesses

Some €2 million of the loan package will be allocated to supporting investments by women-led businesses. The funding is secured under the EBRD's Women in Business programme, that promotes women’s entrepreneurship and their participation in business by providing access to finance and know-how.

The Women in Business programme is supported by the government of Sweden and, since its launch in the Western Balkans in 2014, has reached more than 4,800 female entrepreneurs. The facility will build on the success of the first Women in Business loan extended to AFK back in 2019, that saw investments in production facilities, equipment and improved services.

In addition, €2 million will be on-lent to micro-, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) in an effort to expand access to finance for private firms across the country. AFK aims to reach businesses outside the capital city of Pristina, in particular, and offer financing to new clients.

Employer addressing inclusion challenges

The EBRD Women in Business programme

“The gender gaps remain far too high and limit the country’s economic potential. With support from Sweden, we are pleased to partner again with AFK to reach more women-led businesses, helping them to grow and change the status quo. Supporting MSMEs and addressing inclusion challenges are key priorities for us here," says Neil Taylor, EBRD Head of Kosovo.

“AFK is privileged to continue its cooperation with the EBRD with these funds dedicated to the development of small business and women entrepreneurs, segments that are in vital need of sustainable financial support and technical assistance. Together with the EBRD, AFK is able to fulfil its core mission of nurturing Kosovo’s micro-enterprises,” comments Vahdet Anadolli, Executive Director of AFK.

AFK is the fourth-largest microfinance institution in Kosovo. Headquartered in Peja and operating since 2000, it currently serves more than 22,000 customers, the majority in rural areas of the country, through a network of 25 branches and 233 employees.

The EBRD has invested €623 million in Kosovo since it began operating there in 2012. The Bank’s strategic priorities in the country are to promote the green economy, support the competitive development of the private sector and foster regional integration.

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Disclosure: Where Women Work researches and publishes insightful evidence about how its paid member organizations support women's equality.

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