EBRD: EUR 77 million set aside for support to enterprise development in Serbia and the region

The Enterprise Expansion Fund (ENEF) has started operating in Serbia and the Western Balkans with a budget of EUR 77 million, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).
EBRD Country Director for Serbia Matteo Patrone said at the presentation of ENEF that the Fund would be managed by the EBRD and that it would be investing in the capital of small and medium-sized enterprises and securing additional funds through bond sales and other forms of financing.
– The Fund is created to invest in enterprises with a high potential for growth in all fields, and agricultural companies in Serbia are particularly interesting – said Patrone.
As it was announced at the presentation of ENEF, by investing in the capital of an enterprise, the Fund will acquire a stake of between 20 and 35 percent in that company, start co-managing it, and sell its stake three to seven years later.
Patrone noted that the initial budget for ENEF of EUR 38.5 million was provided by the EBRD, the European Investment Bank and Germany’s DEG fund, adding that the EBRD had agreed to double that amount.
Patrone voiced his expectation that the initial budget would be increased to EUR 55 million over the next year, so that EUR 110 million would be placed at the disposal of small and medium-sized enterprises in the Western Balkans for capital boost and funding.
Head of the EU Delegation to Serbia Michael Davenport said that ENEF was the Western Balkans Enterprise Development & Innovation Facility – WB EDIF, co-financed by the EU.
– SME’s represent the backbone of Serbian economy, and support to their development makes it possible for that sector to become a driver of economic growth. The European Commission has provided EUR 11 million – said Davenport.
The plan is to secure EUR 145 million in initial capital through the new support program, which will create a pool of up to EUR 300 million to be used by small and medium-sized enterprises, it was said at the event.

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