Women in Business

Start/end date: 
2016 - 2022
Implementing partner: 
European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD)
EU budget: 
€5.035 million

The Women in Business programme helps women-led small and medium-sized enterprises to access the finance and the know-how they need to grow. The EBRD provides access to finance through credit lines to local banks dedicated to develop women-led SMEs, alongside business advice to help businesses become more competitive. The programme also offers training, mentoring and other support to enable women entrepreneurs to share experiences and learn from each other.


  • To promote women's entrepreneurship and access to finance, and more broadly women's participation in business, by facilitating access to finance and advice for women-led SMEs.


  • Eligible women-led SMEs across all sectors (defined as SMEs where a woman holds overall operational management responsibility for the company, who may also partially or wholly own the business).


The Programme is active in two main areas:

Access to finance

  • Dedicated credit lines to Participating Financial Institutions (PFIs) for on-lending to eligible women-led SMEs
  • Risk-sharing component
  • Technical assistance to Participating Financial Institutions (PFIs)
  1. Internal capacity building
  2. Product development
  3. Marketing and outreach to female clients

Access to know-how

  • Business advisory and coaching
  • Training in key entrepreneurial skills
  • Online business diagnostic tool Business Lens
  • Mentoring
  • Networking seminars


From 2015 till mid-2017, more than €36.3 million has been provided to six partner banks in the region. More than 576 women have also benefited from access to know-how, including through 246 advisory projects in the region.