The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the European Union (EU) are opening the EU4Business-EBRD credit line with the limit of EUR 60 million to finance projects of small- and medium-sized enterprises (SME) in Ukraine, EBRD Managing Director, Eastern Europe and Caucasus Matteo Patrone said at a presentation of the project in Kyiv on Friday.
He said the credit line with a limit of around EUR 60 million is intended for SME for using opportunities opened in relation with the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA) Agreement signed by the EU and Ukraine.
Patrone said that borrowers using this credit line will be able to receive long-term loans in the amount of up to EUR 3 million. The loans will be issued in hryvnias.
The credit line is integration from the point of geography and economy, he said. After the establishment of the DCFTA between the EU and Ukraine, local companies obtained many opportunities. The launch of the EU4Business-EBRD credit line allows local SME, which provide almost 80% of jobs in Ukraine, but generate only around 40% of GDP, to have an additional access to financing to develop, become more competitive and meet EU standards, Patrone said.
For projects within the EU4Business-EBRD credit line that will meet certain requirements, incentive grants are also provided to cover up to 15% of the cost of projects.
Patrone said that the funds under this credit line will be provided through state-owned Ukreximbank, which received the equivalent of EUR 22 million for this program, and OTP Leasing, which received EUR 10 million in equivalent. Additional credit resources of around EUR 28 million will be available for other local financial institutions to join this program.
Head of the EU Delegation to Ukraine Hugues Mingarelli said during the presentation of the project that similar credit lines are opened to Georgia and Moldova.
The EU is trying to ensure that these credit lines benefit Ukrainian SME, as well as promote economic growth in Ukraine and strengthen economic relations between the country and the EU. In 2018, exports of Ukrainian goods to the EU grew by 15%, while imports of goods from EU by 11.5%, he said. The EU believes that the DCFTA credit lines contribute to the preservation of these positive trends, Mingarelli said.
Small and Medium Entrepreneurship (SME) School is a project of Vasyl Khmelnytsky’s K.Fund, which is aimed at promoting entrepreneurship in the cities and towns of Ukraine by delivering high-quality and relevant knowledge, as well as allowing entrepreneurs with different backgrounds to master effective practical skills. During the training, students will be able to get answers to the questions they are interested in and receive professional advice from experts.
SME School’s curriculum includes an intensive course on major aspects of business organization and entrepreneurship. After that, students have three weeks to develop their business plans, while receiving advisory support from the School’s teachers.
“Entrepreneurs are proactive citizens; they create jobs, increase competitiveness of municipalities and Ukraine at whole. In this connection it is crucially important to develop the local business environment within particular municipalities. Usually entrepreneurs are in need for new knowledge to develop their own businesses, search for new markets but they lack time for education. We are glad that our initiative of intensive business education received a significant interest from the side of experienced lecturers and practitioners who are keen to help beginners avoid unnecessary mistakes.”
Lidia Pashchuk, Head of SME School
The courses at the School are delivered by entrepreneurs, representatives of the leading Ukrainian business schools, people that have expertise in the area of organization, restructuring, consulting of small and medium enterprises, training of specialists in different businesses.
During 2016-2018, SME School’s team conducted 14 courses in Kyiv, Kharkiv, Cherkasy, and Bila Tserkva in Kyiv region; nearly 450 entrepreneurs successfully completed their course.
In 2019, SME School plans to develop existing and create new programs in other regions of Ukraine. The project aims to create a community of like-minded entrepreneurs who can solve problems through interaction or create joint business projects.
SME School is the largest progressive community of educated members of small- and medium-sized businesses created by Ukrainians for Ukrainians. The goal of the project is to develop entrepreneurship through high-quality and relevant knowledge and effective practical skills for entrepreneurs with different levels of experience in all regions of Ukraine.