Advice for Small Businesses

Start/end date: 
2010 - 2019
Implementing partner: 
European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD)
EU budget: 
€16 million, in two phases

The programme aims to promote good management in the small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) sector by providing technical assistance to individual enterprises, helping them to grow their businesses.

It supports SMEs to make structural changes and develop new business skills, helping them to thrive and compete in market economies.

The programme also seeks to enable SMEs to access local consulting services on a cost-sharing basis by providing grants of up to €10,000. Furthermore it aims to develop a sustainable infrastructure of business advisory services, ensuring improved services for SMEs.


  • Contribute to improved access to finance for SMEs and enhance competitiveness of assisted SMEs.
  • Support DCFTA-related activities
  • Strengthen and improve sustainability of local business advisory services infrastructure


  • SMEs 


  • Business advice through international advisers:Carries out teaching and mentoring activities as well as the dissemination of commercial and technical know-how to key managers across the main business functions.
  • Organises training visits to established market economies
  • Identifies key practical, technical changes and good practices which can be introduced by enterprises.
  • Business advice through local consultants:Provides support in the form of project development (e.g. enterprise diagnostics, matching enterprise needs with suitable advice, defining consultant assignments).
  • Monitors the project during its implementation.
  • Provides a contribution of 25-75% of the total net project cost
  • Provides on-the-job training to selected local consultants, in the framework of the projects developed for selected SMEs. 


Since 2010, across the region:

  • 1,919 SMEs have received advisory assistance
  • 72% of SMEs increased their turnover within a year of project completion
  • 60% of SMEs increased their number of employees
  • €194.8 million in financed was accessed by beneficiary SMEs from the EBRD and other financial institutions

Overall since 2010 EBRD supported 1,919 SMEs in the EaP countries with advisory assistance via 163 projects with international advisors and 1,756 projects with local consultants

Projects with international advisers

For 43 evaluated projects:

95 % of evaluated projects were rated as successful or highly successful

67 % of enterprises showed an increase in turnover by 46 % on average, for a total of EUR 209 million

64 % of the enterprises increased the number of employees by 39% on average, thus contributing to the creation of 1,365 jobs

46 % of the enterprises received external investment in exces of EUR 90.1 million (for evaluated projects)s with local consultants

79% of one year after evaluated projects were rated as successful or highly successful

76% of the assisted enterprises reported an increase in turnover, on average by 66% for a total of EUR 563 million

56% of assisted enterprises reported an increase in the number of employees on average by 41%, and contributed to the creation of 9,627 new jobs

17% of assisted enterprises received investments in the total amount of EUR 104,7 million (out of which EUR 35.8 mln of EBRD direct financing & equity financing)

46% of assisted enterprises declared to have engaged a consultant again after the project