widening the scope for SME finance
boosting the participation of private sector actors
addressing the needs of the Western Balkans SME market
providing crucial technical assistance and support to policy makers and SMEs alike
increasing available funding and financial instruments
building up a local venture capital market
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.
WB EDIF Partners
The Enlargement policy of the EU has seen its membership grow and expand since the 1958 Treaty of Rome and is considered as a cornerstone of EU integration. Over the years the EU has shown its continued commitment to the Western Balkans Region, whereby a key element for continued growth, expansion and success of its accession countries is investment. Under the Regional Economic Area, access to finance is a crucial step in sustaining and boosting the regional economy via its small and medium business owners which form the backbone of the economy.
The mission of the Western Balkans Enterprise Development & Innovation Facility (WB EDIF) is to support and enhance the private sector development of the region by providing both improved access to finance and access to support measures aimed at both SMEs as well as policy makers in the region. WB EDIF aims to adapt to market changes and condense the insight and expertise of its members to offer beneficial, comprehensive and complementary measures to the Western Balkans market.
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
WB EDIF offers two equity funds aimed at early stage innovation companies (the Enterprise Innovation Fund) and later stage companies in their expansion phase (Enterprise Expansion Fund)
|138m €||97.3m €||45|
|Facility size||deployed as of December 2020||SMEs supported|
2nd Pillar: SME Loan Guarantee
WB EDIF offers also a guarantee instrument whereby a portion of the risk incurred by banks is covered (by EIF) when extending loans to SMEs – this risk coverage enables the banks therefore to provide financing at beneficial terms, such as via lower collateral and interest rates.
|490m €||369m €||3,995|
|Facility size||deployed as of December 31, 2020||SMEs supported|
3rd Pillar: SME Lending
Through EDIF, EUR 15m is provided by the EU for the grant component of the Programme in support of up to EUR 140m from the EBRD for lending to local commercial banks and credit institutions in the countries of the Western Balkans for on-lending to local SMEs. The action complements and adds a regional dimension to the ongoing national SME competitiveness support programmes in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo*, and North Macedonia.
|155m €||51m €|
|Facility size||signed as of 30 September 2020|
4th Pillar: Support Services
In order to offer a holistic approach to private sector development, WB EDIF also houses a wide range of support mechanisms which work together with the financial instruments to enhance the emergence and growth of innovative and high-potential SMEs in the region.
Support Services projects deployed by the EIB, EBRD, World Bank and OECD tackle various areas in need of assistance, in order to create a favourable investment climate and sustainable market conditions to really allow SMEs to thrive.
WB EDIF partners
WB EDIF is a joint initiative of the EU, International Financial Institutions (IFIs), bilateral partners and the public institutions of the Western Balkans economies. Via this structure, WB EDIF leverages upon the expertise of 27 international, regional and local market players. These include the EIB, EIF, EBRD, World Bank, OECD, KfW, DEG, OeEB and the Italian Republic.
The WB EDIF Governance
Originally, WB EDIF was established by a Western Balkans Investment Framework (WBIF) decision as a dedicated platform for private sector development, with separate governance structure and coordination. In December 2019, at the 21st WBIF SC meeting, WB EDIF was reintegrated under the governance and coordination structure of WBIF, preserving its own decision-making.
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.