The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the European Union are extending their support to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine to a total of almost EUR 1.1 billion in credit lines and trade finance and EUR 58.3 million in EU grants.

Through the EU4Business-EBRD Credit line – a joint EBRD-EU programme supported by the EU4Business initiative and active since September 2016 – over 100 Georgian companies have received EUR 60 million in financing so far, the EBRD said in a statement on its website.

The EU4Business-EBRD Credit Line is also available in Moldova and will soon be launched in Ukraine.

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It will assist local SMEs in reaping the benefits associated with their countries' free trade agreements with the EU, the world's largest trading block.

"We are delighted to see the first real results of our financing supporting Georgian companies. From hazelnut processing to road construction, from promoting local produce to succeeding in foreign markets – companies financed by the programme have decided to invest in the European standards, and we are happy to be part of their success," EBRD Director for the Caucasus, Moldova and Belarus, Bruno Balvanera said.

Deputy Director-General for Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations of the European Commission Katarina Mathernova, in turn, said: "The EU4Business-EBRD Credit line has allowed SMEs in sectors such as manufacturing, retail, agriculture and food processing, transport, services and health care to improve their products, strengthen their export potential and adopt EU standards and technical norms. The combination of EBRD finance and EU grants has proven to be a perfect match to the needs of Georgian companies."

The EBRD supports businesses with much-needed finance through local partner banks, which allows them to invest in efficient and modern equipment and technologies. EU funds complement investments with technical expertise and provide incentive payments to companies for successful completion.

Access to knowledge and know-how is yet another dimension of the EBRD-EU cooperation, with EU funding of EUR 18 million, while the EBRD SME Finance and Development Group fosters advisory services for enhanced performance and growth in all EU Eastern Partnership countries.