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Sparkasse Bank, first bank in FYROM to finance start-up businesses under the EU’s EaSI programme

    Date: 10 October 2018

Skopje, October 10, 2018 - Sparkasse Bank Maкedoniјa has launched the first "Step by Step" programme aimed at supporting and developing start-up businesses in FYROM following a deal signed with the European Investment Fund under the EU programme for Employment and Social Innovation (EaSI). Around EUR 1.5 million in funding from guarantees under the EU programme for Employment and Social Innovation (EaSI), funded by the European Union will be made available for start-up businesses.

Sparkasse Bank will support the development of young and ambitious entrepreneurs who have the idea of ​​creating their own business and are also in need of financial resources for further development. "Step by Step" is the first full accelerator program of its kind, which aims to provide economic and social support to companies which are in the initial phase of establishing their own business, with a possibility of lending an amount of up to EUR 25,000 and receiving various packages of educational, financial and mentoring support.

Commenting on the transaction, Marianne Thyssen, EU Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility, said: Young entrepreneurs often face difficulties in accessing credit from traditional banking sources. With the help of financial guarantees from the EU's Employment and Social Innovation Programme, Sparkasse will offer start-up businesses loans at a reduced interest rate and less collateral requirements. This is a concrete example of how the European Commission boosts employment and social inclusion.

EIF Chief Executive, Pier Luigi Gilibert, said: “I am delighted to see the EIF collaborating so closely with Sparkasse to expand its activity under EaSI. The EIF is committed to supporting disadvantaged social groups experiencing financial and social exclusion. I am confident that the EU support will help Sparkasse to reach out to micro-entrepreneurs whose risk profile would otherwise prevent them from accessing traditional bank financing.”

Gligor Bishev, CEO of Sparkasse Bank Maкedoniјa, stated: "As part of the celebration of our 10-years presence as Sparkasse Bank in Macedonia, we decided to offer credit support for dynamic and innovative small businesses. That way we want to provide access to financial resources for the young generation entrepreneurs who will move the Macedonian economy in the future. The funds are provided by the European Commission, through the EU's program of employment and innovation, who will take part of the risk for these loans. This program, besides lending, offers entrepreneurs also free training, advice and mentors for starting and running a business.”

Sparkasse Bank Maкedoniјa will implement the "Step by Step" program in cooperation with Social Impact Lab and Start-up Academy, through the implementation of 8 different educational modules, which will enable start-ups to develop the business plan, and with the financial means to continue the investment activity or obtain the necessary fixed working capital. The programme target companies that are registered less than 24 months and need financial and educational support, is in the start-up phase or in a development phase and employ one or less than 10 employees. More details about the program and terms of lending can be found on the website www.sparkasse.mk.

About the Programme for Employment and Social Innovation

The European Commission’s Programme for Employment and Social Innovation (EaSI) aims at supporting the EU's objective of high level employment, adequate social protection, fighting against social exclusion and poverty and improving working conditions. The EaSI guarantee scheme was launched in June 2015 and is funded by the European Commission and managed by the European Investment Fund.

It provides support to financial intermediaries that offer microloans to entrepreneurs or finance to social enterprises. The objective is to increase access to microfinance for vulnerable groups who want to set up or develop their business and micro-enterprises, through notably loans of up to EUR 25 000. In addition, for the first time, the European Commission is helping social enterprises through investments of up to EUR 500 000. The microfinance and social entrepreneurship support is currently being implemented through the EaSI guarantee, which enables financial intermediaries to reach out to micro-entrepreneurs and social enterprises that would not have been able to gain finance otherwise due to risk considerations.

About EIF

The European Investment Fund (EIF) is part of the European Investment Bank Group. Its central mission is to support Europe's micro, small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) by helping them to access finance. EIF designs and develops venture and growth capital, guarantees and microfinance instruments which specifically target this market segment. In this role, EIF fosters EU objectives in support of innovation, research and development, entrepreneurship, growth, and employment.

More information on EU microfinance and social entrepreneurship support is available under:

EaSI Programme

EU support to social entrepreneurship 

About Sparkasse

Sparkasse Bank Macedonia AD Skopje is part of the Erste and Sparkasse Group, which consists of 49 savings banks and which has been in existence for almost 2 centuries on the financial market in the Republic of Austria. At the same time, it is one of the strongest banking groups in Europe, which with its long-term strategic orientation towards the Western Balkan region contributes to Sparkasse Bank Makedonija to be a reliable partner for its clients. Along with other daughter banks in Austria, Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Slovenia and Montenegro, it is part of the most comprehensive banking networks in the region of Steiermärkische Bank und Sparkassen AG, with its balance sheet of 15 billion euros, 2,751 employees and 233 branch offices and regional centers, serves around 702,414 clients in these countries from the region of Southeast Europe.

Press contacts:

David Yormesor
Tel.: + 352 24 85 81 346
E-Mail: d.yormesor@eif.org

Todorka Sajkova
Tel.: + 389 71 395 459
E-Mail: todorka.sajkova@sparkasse.mk

European Commission: Sara Soumillion
Tel.: + 32 (0)2 29 67 094
E-Mail: sara.soumillion@ec.europa.eu


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