Leading banking institutions will support SMEs in post-Soviet countries

European banking institutions expressed willingness to support development of small and medium-sized enterprises.

Ameriabank CJSC and the Dutch Development Bank have signed a $30-million loan agreement to finance young SMEs in Armenia. Artak Hanesyan, CEO of Ameriabank stressed that he sees a great potential for the development of SMEs and retail businesses, so the allocated financial resources will be distributed successfully. A loan agreement will contribute to the creation of new jobs in the country and enhancement of SMEs’ competitiveness in local and international markets.

Restructuring of the state-owned enterprises can seriously affect their development. Belinvestbank JSC and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) are currently working on a pilot project to restructure one of the state-owned enterprises. It’s planned to apply the international experience of the EBRD to create a distressed debt market and to develop mechanisms and instruments to restructure state-run enterprises. An integrated document on cooperation has been adopted at the recent meeting of the Belinvestbank board and representatives of the EBRD. Chairman of the Board of the Belinvestbank Andrei Brishtelev mentioned that a project would be replicated in case of successful implementation. He also added that Belinvestbank plans to take part in this project as a manager.

It should be noted that the development of small and medium-sized enterprises is highly promoted by the European Union. In particular, the EU is ready to support the establishment of the Agency for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises in Azerbaijan. The head of Operations Section of the EU Delegation to Azerbaijan Jeroen Willems stressed that the creation of the Agency will greatly assist the development of SMEs. Along with it, he discussed related issues at the first meeting of the working group on the project aimed at the implementation and monitoring of the “Strategic Roadmap for the Production of Consumer Goods in Azerbaijan at the Level of Small and Medium Enterprises” on December 7.

Management board of the Agency will include both representatives of the state and private sectors. It is planned to create a SME House under the Agency, where a special center will operate to provide entrepreneurs with services on the principle of a “single window”, a representative office of the Azerbaijan Export and Investment Promotion Foundation (AZPROMO), a training center, employment services, departments of international organizations and other institutions. Jeroen Willems also added that a positive impact of the establishment of the Agency for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises has already been seen in other countries.

Entrepreneurship development policy is able to influence the entire national economy growth. Therefore, cooperation on joint projects could definitely fruitful in this regard.