EBRD launches SME advice bureau
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the Ministry of Energy, Commerce, Industry and Tourism launched the new Advice for Small Businesses Facility.
According to an EBRD announcement, the event brought together representatives of donors, government, civil society organisations, local banks, business associations, local enterprises and consultants.
Over the next three years, the ASB Facility in Cyprus will provide over 160 local enterprises with access to professional expertise to grow their businesses, through advisory projects with local consultants and international advisers, alongside mentoring, coaching and training courses. The Facility is supported by EUR 2.15 mln in funding from the European Regional Development Fund.
“Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) can help diversify the economy and put Cyprus back on a path of solid growth. The island has a large number of vibrant SMEs that would benefit from better availability of long-term funding and working capital as well also from assistance in strengthening their efforts in marketing and product innovation,” the EBRD said.
In a speech at the event, Energy and Trade Minister Yiorgos Lakkotrypis said “this is the first time Cypriot authorities are helping SMEs in the country access advisory services benefiting from the EBRD’s knowhow.” He invited local SMEs to apply for the facility and “take advantage of this knowhow in order for them to open up new markets, introduce new production lines, save energy, and meet their overall targets”.
Libor Krkoska, Head of the EBRD Resident Office, said that the Facility will build on the successful experience so far in Cyprus, serving to strengthen the competitiveness of SMEs, enhance their export capacity, increase the use of – and improve the quality of – local business advisory services and promote inclusion.
The EBRD has been helping SMEs to access advisory services for more than 20 years, committing over EUR 400 mln of donor funds to assist nearly 20,000 small and medium-sized enterprises across all of its countries of operations.
Over 77% of the companies that have benefited have experienced an increase in their turnover and productivity; results for job creation and access to external finance have also been very positive, the press release concludes.