24.11.2010 - Article
International award for microfinance fund in Southeast and Eastern Europe / Caucasus
The European Fund for Southeast Europe, which is co-financed by the SDC, has won the G-20’s “Small and Medium-Sized Enterprise Finance Challenge” at the G-20 Summit in Seoul. This funding model for financing small and medium-sized companies won through against no less than 344 other competitors from more than 75 countries.
The European Fund for Southeast Europe (EFSE) is the world’s largest fund for microfinance in Southeast Europe and a key financial player in the region (including Bosnia, Serbia, Kosovo,
Montenegro, Albania, Macedonia, Romania, Bulgaria and Moldavia). It is also expanding its activities in the Ukraine, Belarus, and the Caucasus (previously Georgia, Armenia).
Through a network of 62 financial institutions, funds are provided to small businesses such as that of master baker Miroslav Jakimovski in Belgrade. With two loans totalling 5,000 Euros, Jakimovski was able to diversify his product line. Today he operates a second retail outlet and delivers baked goods to 45 shops in the city.
The EFSE fills an important gap in Southeast Europe and its neighbouring regions, which are regarded as risky by private investors. The fund’s innovative public-private partnership structure has so far attracted 760 million Euros of investment capital, of which around half comes from private institutional investors. Since it was established, the fund has helped to create 215,000 new jobs. The SDC played an active role in setting up the fund in 2005, is one of the two original public shareholders, and has committed substantial funds and staff assistance to the Development Facility area of the fund.
|US President Barack Obama at the awards ceremony|
The G-20’s “Small and Medium-Sized Enterprise Finance Challenge” was launched at the annual meeting of the G-20 in 2009. The aim of the prize was to find the best global model for helping small and medium-sized companies obtain access to funding. The 14 winners were announced at the closing ceremony of the G-20 Summit on Friday 13 November 2010. The European Fund for Southeast Europe was selected by the online community as best project together with 14 other prize-winners. The prize-giving took place in the presence of US President Barack Obama.