Big interest from small businesses for EU support in the Western Balkans News | WeBalkans


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Big interest from small businesses for EU support in the Western Balkans

“Made in the Western Balkans – supported by the EU” was the tagline of the first Open4Business event that took place in Skopje on 5 October 2023, gathering nearly 500 participants. Organised by the European Commission, in cooperation with the Economic Chamber of North Macedonia and Western Balkans 6 Chamber Investment Forum, the event was dedicated to helping micro, small, and medium-sized businesses learn more about the support offered to them through the Western Balkans Investment Framework (WBIF).


250 companies took part in Skopje, or followed online, and were impressed with the level of support on offer. Boosting the innovation and resilience of the private sector was the key message delivered in the opening session.  The panel discussions for the rest of the morning detailed the specific programmes offered by EIB, EBRD and KfW, giving the floor to small businesses to share how they have benefitted from the international financial institutions’ support.


The afternoon was dedicated to one-on-one sessions between businesses and local banks to discover what could interest them specifically. These meetings were held in each of the Western Balkan’s capitals, and over 80 conversations took place. Sashka Mamućevska, one of the attendees, is a founder of a female-led start-up. “This kind of event is rarely organised in our country,” she said, “although it is very important for us to get information on better access to financing for SMEs”.

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Photo credits: WBIF

Source: WBIF

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