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News / Over 200 firms in North Macedonia improve competitiveness with EU and EBRD support
More than 200 small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in North Macedonia have successfully implemented investment projects and become more competitive thanks to the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) SME Competitiveness and the European Union (EU)-supported SME Competitiveness Programme.
The programme, which started in 2019, combines EBRD loans and EU-funded grant incentives which are on-lent to small businesses in partnership with local commercial banks. A total of €51 million in loans was extended to small businesses in North Macedonia for 316 investment projects. The majority of these investments were in manufacturing, transport, retail and services, and food industries, and more than 60 per cent of them were for SMEs located outside the capital city.
SMEs were able to apply for funds to invest in new equipment and upgrades to help them boost their productivity, cut operational costs, increase energy efficiency and improve their alignment with EU standards. In addition to loans, SMEs benefited from grant incentives funded by the EU and worth up to 15 per cent of the total loan amount.
Improved access to finance has helped SMEs to go beyond their usual operations and invest in becoming more competitive in local and EU markets.
The EBRD’s SME Competitiveness Programme has been implemented in all Western Balkans countries, with the aim of helping them improve access to finance for local SMEs. So far, more than 850 businesses have benefited from the regional programme.
Photo credits: EBRD
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