EBRD, EU and UniCredit finance SMEs in BiH with 10 million euros
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and UniCredit Bank d.d., Mostar signed an agreement on a new credit line of 10 million euros for financing small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
An additional benefit of the credit line is non-refundable financial incentives in the amount of up to 15 percent of the total loan amount, for which the funds were provided by the European Union.
SMEs will be able to apply for funds to invest in new equipment and technologies that can help them increase their productivity, reduce operating costs and improve compliance with EU standards. These investments can relate to a wide range of equipment and software solutions, including the areas of digital transformation and energy efficiency.
Manuela Naessl, director of the EBRD office for Bosnia and Herzegovina, said: “UniCredit bank is our long-term partner and we are extremely glad that we will deepen our cooperation in this way. UniCredit has a large network of SME clients and a dedicated team working in that sector. We are glad that, together with the EU, we can provide additional financing for SMEs and support their development”.
Amina Mahmutović, President of the Management Board of UniCredit Bank d.d., Mostar, said: “We are pleased to become a partner in the project of financing the digitization of small and medium-sized companies, because they are the key to the development of our country’s economy. Empowering the development of communities is our priority, and by continuously investing in this sector through digitization processes, these companies will improve their productivity, reduce costs and improve energy efficiency. At the same time, they will have the opportunity to realize a financial benefit that is paid upon successful verification of the project. I am sure that many companies will take advantage of this opportunity and strengthen their competitiveness both on the domestic and international markets, investing in innovative technologies, skills and services, in order to grow on a sustainable basis”.
The credit line was approved as part of the “Go Digital in BiH” program financed by the EBRD and the EU, which is part of the “EU4SMEs” program. The EBRD provided 40 million euros in loans, while the EU provided grant funds in the amount of 9 million euros for incentives, advisory services and technical assistance. The program is accompanied by the activities of the German Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), which will work with the government and other stakeholders to help build an ecosystem for digitization, automation and innovation in Bosnia and Herzegovina, including digital innovation centers, in line with EU best practices .
The program contributes directly to the Digital Agenda of the European Commission for the Western Balkans, which aims to support the transition of the private sector and help businesses to fully secure the benefits of the digital transformation of the economy.