The Western Balkans Enterprise Development & Innovation Facility (WB EDIF), funded by the EU, aims at improving access to finance for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the Western Balkans.
WB EDIF focuses on:
- Boosting the participation of private sector actors
- Addressing the needs of the Western Balkans SME market
- Building up a local venture capital market
- Widening the scope for SME finance,
- Increasing available funding and financial instruments
SMEs in the Western Balkans represent the backbone of the local economy. At the same time, they are very exposed to market developments and volatilities and are faced with challenges to obtain loans or investments .The Western Balkans Enterprise Development & Innovation Facility addresses these needs by providing enhanced access to finance.
In addition, WB EDIF also aims to create a more favourable financing environment for SMEs and a sustainable equity market on the long-term. This includes the promotion of policy reforms to create the necessary political framework which supports SME financing.
Download the 2017 January WB EDIF Platform general presentation.
Under WB EDIF, SMEs in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia,*, former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia can obtain enhanced access to finance.
The European Commission, international financial institutions (IFIs), governments of beneficiary economies and bilateral donors pulled together EUR 145 million of initial capital that may translate into around EUR 300 million of direct financing available for SMEs in the region.
Financial Instruments under WB EDIF
WB EDIF has been designed to offer complementary financial engineering instruments addressing the entire range of SME financing needs in the Western Balkans. The Facility consists of four different pillars:
1st Pillar: SME Equity Financing
■ Enterprise Innovation Fund (ENIF): This Fund supports innovative SMEs in the Western Balkans from the early up to the development stage of the businesses by providing equity finance.
■ Enterprise Expansion Fund (ENEF): This Fund supports established SMEs with a high potential to grow in the Western Balkans to support their further expansion.
2nd Pillar: SME Loan Guarantees
■ Western Balkans EDIF Guarantee Facility: Under this instrument, guarantees are provided to financial intermediaries to incentivise them to build up new SME loan portfolios and thereby improving SMEs’ access to bank lending.
3rd Pillar: SME Lending
WBEDIF has more recently added a lending pillar to enable new instruments to be brought online soon, more information on SME lending instruments shall be made available shortly.
4th Pillar: Support Services
■ Support Services Facility: Under this pillar, governments of beneficiary economies can obtain support in implementing policy reforms to create a favourable regulatory environment to benefit innovative and high-growth SMEs in the region. The Support Services projects act on various levels, in support of both policy measures, financial instruments, as well as in direct support for the SMEs themselves.
WB EDIF partners
WB EDIF is a joint initiative of the EU, International Financial Institutions (IFIs), bilateral donors and the governments of the Western Balkans.
The overall initiative is coordinated by the European Investment Fund (EIF); the EIF also manages the WB EDIF Guarantee Facility. The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has the lead in implementing the Enterprise Expansion Fund. The Enterprise Innovation Fund will be managed by an experienced fund manager who is currently being selected. The Technical Assistance Facility will be set up soon with involvement of the European Commission, the European Investment Bank (EIB), the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the World Bank.
The WB EDIF Platform Advisory Group (PAG)
The general governance of the WB EDIF is entrusted to the WB EDIF Platform Advisory Group (PAG) consisting of members from the relevant International Financial Institutions, bilateral donors and Governments of the Western Balkans states, in capacities of both voting members as well as observers.
The PAG convenes at least twice per calendar year in order to discuss relevant key matters of the WBEDIF, to give strategic direction and to decide on certain matters in relation to the management of the WBEDIF. To access a list of the current PAG members of the WB EDIF please click here.
WB EDIF and the Western Balkans Investment Framework (WBIF)
WB EDIF is the first regional initiative focusing on SMEs which is channeled through the Western Balkan Investment Framework (WBIF).
WBIF supports socio-economic development and EU accession across the Western Balkans by providing finance and technical assistance for strategic investments, particularly in infrastructure, energy efficiency and private sector development.
*this designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSCR 1244 and the ICJ Opinion on theDeclaration of Independence