The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and Romania have signed a Memorandum of Understanding, pledging to expand support for small and medium-sized enterprises in the country, which is considered a key sector of the domestic economy.
The Memorandum was signed by Andrei Gerea,Minister for Energy, Small and Medium Enterprises and the Business Environment, and James Hyslop, EBRD Director for Romania on March 12, 2015 in Bucharest and provides a framework for future cooperation between the international financial institution and the Romanian Government to implement a five-year programme designed to support SMEs' development, according to a press release of the EBRD.
“As minister responsible for the business environment and the SME sector I feel that Romania today – a member state of the European Union – has enormous potential for long-term economic and social development, and that potential must be realized. Our goal is therefore to help and encourage entrepreneurs and SMEs to capitalize on business opportunities. Our policy targets improved access to finance, to markets, to innovation and to specialized consultancy services, so that companies can increase their competitiveness,” stated Andrei Gerea.
The programme, which is funded by Austria as a core donor as well as Korea, the Taiwan Business-EBRD Technical Cooperation Fund and the EBRD Shareholder Special Fund, is aimed at improving the competitiveness of Romanian SMEs by enabling them to access know-how of local consultants and international advisers on a cost-sharing basis.
“It aims to help SMEs improve the quality, marketing, operations, energy efficiency and many other aspects of their activities as well as develop their strategies or financial reporting,” explains the release.
To date, EBRD advisory services have supported more than 550 SMEs in Romania. Almost 74 per cent of these firms have seen increases in turnover within one year, 57 per cent have increased their productivity, while more than half of them have increased their headcount, leading to 3,000 new jobs.
The EBRD is the leading institutional investor in Romania. In 2014 alone, the bank invested 600 million euro in the country, the total investments coming to nearly 7 billion euro across 370 projects. Also, over 14 billion euro have been mobilized from other sources of financing.