EU, EBRD and Sweden boost female entrepreneurship in Georgia

EU, EBRD and Sweden boost female entrepreneurship in Georgia

The European Union together with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and Sweden, is unlocking fresh funds via TBC Bank for Georgian women-led micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs).

A US$20 million EBRD loan to one of Georgia’s largest banks will further expand TBC’s lending to women-led firms, with a focus on financing companies outside the capital city. Borrowers will be able to access funds in Georgian laris or US dollars.

This loan is part of the EBRD’s Women in Business (WiB) programme, supported by the EU and Sweden. WiB aims to boost women’s access to finance and entrepreneurship through loans and business advice. As part of the programme, female entrepreneurs will also benefit from advisory services, mentoring, and training series.

TBC Bank successfully joined the WiB back in 2017 with a US$20 million loan, which is now fully utilised.

In 2016-2021, approximately 2,500 women-owned businesses in Georgia received loans from two local partner banks through the WiB program. One out of every four loans has gone to first-time borrowers and start-ups, who typically struggle more to secure their initial funding.

During the same timeframe, among clients who received support through WiB's Advisory Assistance Project, 54% witnessed increased employment, 68% reported higher sales, and 59% observed improved productivity.

The European Union is further supporting the loan for women-led firms under its European Fund for Sustainable Development Plus (EFSD+) guarantee programme. The EFSD+ Financial Inclusion programme is designed to empower micro, small and medium-sized businesses, fostering their competitiveness and growth. By offering strong financial tools and expertise, this programme aims to encourage intermediaries to direct new lending towards those businesses who need it the most.

Francis Malige, EBRD Managing Director for Financial Institutions said: Inclusive and sustainable economy remains one of the EBRD’s priorities, and women entrepreneurs are an important driver of growth for Georgia’s economy. With today’s signing, we look forward to seeing more women leaders bringing their business ideas to life, and would like to thank TBC Bank, the European Union, Sweden, for their continuous partnership.’’

Lawrence Meredith, EU Director for Eastern Neighbourhood and Institution Building said: “For the very first time, a synergy of EU financial instruments and technical assistance - through our EFSD+ guarantees and the Women in Business program - will play a pivotal role in boosting lending to women-led micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in Georgia. This unique operation consolidates the existing EU support to female entrepreneurship and gender equality in the Eastern Partnership region and allows us to further deliver on our Economic and Investment Plan in Georgia.”

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