Sweden steps up support for EU4Business Women in Business programme in Moldova

Swedish ambassador Signe Burgstaller and Angela Sax, head of EBRD in Moldova

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) will step up its support for women-led businesses in Moldova with €2.5 million in new grant financing from the government of Sweden.

The funds will boost the Bank’s Women in Business programme, co-funded by the EU under its EU4Business initiative, which helps female entrepreneurs innovate through business advice, training, long-term coaching, mentoring and networking opportunities.

To help women transform, grow and make their businesses more competitive, the EBRD is drawing on its network of international advisers and local consultants in such areas as strategy, marketing, operations, quality management, energy efficiency, financial management and beyond. Swedish funds will partly cover the cost that firms incur for these advisory services.

In addition, the Bank is facilitating learning between businesswomen, uses mentoring and practical training sessions to help them improve their business skills and enhance confidence.

Since 2011, the Women in Business programme has helped over 160 Moldovan women entrepreneurs to grow their businesses. An overwhelming majority have registered an increase in turnover, by an average of 140 per cent, within a year of completing advisory projects. More than half have increased their numbers of employees, creating in total almost 500 new jobs.

The best economic results have been achieved by businesses which benefited from both business advice and capacity building activities.

Since 2011, the Swedish government has been funding the programme with Sk 9 million, equivalent to €960,000. In 2014 it expanded its support by providing Sk 47 million (approximately €5.2 million) for the implementation of the programme in in six Eastern Partnership countries.

Angela Sax, Head of EBRD in Moldova, said: “With generous assistance from the Swedish government, we have helped transform the performance of 160 small businesses run by talented, passionate Moldovan women. Our projects have achieved the best possible results.  We now intend not only to increase access to advice for women-run business but also to provide financing for them through local banks, once the modernisation of the banking sector is complete.”