EBRD launches SME ad­vice bureau

Financial Mirror (Cyprus) - - FRONT PAGE -

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.

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