Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the EU’s Eastern Partnership region have the potential to create jobs and drive economic growth. Obstacles such as limited access to finance, burdensome legislation and difficulties entering new markets are hindering their progress. The European Union’s EU4Business breaks down these barriers with finance, support and training to help small businesses realise their full potential. EU4Business support is delivered together with other organisations such as the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the European Investment Bank.
Helping SMEs grow
- direct or indirecting financing, such as loans or guarantees, often via third parties such as banks or partner organisations;
- training, coaching and mentoring;
- networking opportunities at fairs and on trade missions.
SMEs are given better access to finance, quality coaching, often from international experts, and the opportunity to improve their knowledge in fields such as exporting to the EU. Businesses run by women get targeted help in a bid to boost female entrepreneurship across the six Eastern Partnership (EaP) countries – Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine.
SMEs in countries which have signed an Agreement on a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area with the EU get additional support from the DCFTA Facility for SMEs. These funds help SMEs in Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine adapt their processes and procedures to comply with EU rules and so make the most of a new more open EU export market.
Working with Business Support Organisations
EU4Business also helps organisations that advise SMEs. Intervention focuses on:
- improving the dialogue between government and business to create a better regulatory and business environment;
- creating networking opportunities between SMEs and BSOs in EU and EaP countries to open up new markets.
EU4Business programmes are co-funded by the EU but implemented by partner organisations. These include:
- European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD)
- European Investment Bank (EIB)
- Kreditanstalt fur Wiederaufbau (KfW)
- The World Bank
- The International Trade Center
EU4Business and the Eastern Partnership
The Eastern Partnership (EaP) is a joint initiative between the EU, its member countries and its six Eastern neighbours: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine. It was launched in May 2009 to encourage political and economic reforms within the six Eastern neighbours as well as cooperation as they move closer to the EU and build sustainable economic development.
All EU activities that support SMEs in the Eastern Partnership countries are part of EU4Business.