The EBRD will use EU funds of up to €4 million to help small Belarusian companies adapt to the challenging environment of new markets, help them integrate into new supply chains and boost their digitalisation.
It is expected that the new initiative will reach at least 270 relocated SMEs and consultants, which will benefit from targeted advisory support, knowledge sharing, training courses tailored to their business needs, workshops, seminars and networking events. The EBRD’s Star Venture programme will also help extend this support to SME start-ups in partnership with local accelerators.
As SMEs frequently lack knowledge, market experience and the technology necessary to blend into new markets, they require external professional assistance to improve their sustainability. Managed by the EBRD and financed by the EU, the Advice for Small Businesses Programme (ASB) can equip SMEs with Belarusian capital with the necessary tools required for their growth and development. It offers 25 years of experience in successfully addressing similar matters in various economies.
EU Deputy Director-General for Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations Katariná Mathernová said: “I am proud that the European Union is supporting Belarusian SMEs which have relocated to neighbouring countries through the “Advice for Small Businesses in Belarus” project, which is implemented by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.”
EBRD Managing Director, Eastern Europe and the Caucasus Matteo Patrone said: “We view such companies as the future of Belarus both in terms of their integrity and business practices. It is our duty to help these grassroots businesses when the world is shaken by geopolitical adversities. I am sure this undertaking supported by the EU will help them become stronger in these turbulent times.”In April 2022, the EBRD’s Board of Governors decided to suspend Belarus and Russia’s access to the Bank’s resources, in response to the invasion of Ukraine. Nevertheless, companies with Belarusian shareholders, which have relocated their businesses outside Belarus and resided in one of the economies, where the Bank operates, can still rely on the EBRD’s help.