The FINANCIAL — The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), in partnership with the European Union, on October 1 launched its Small Business Initiative in Turkmenistan. The Small Business Initiative provides a comprehensive set of tools to promote the growth of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), including financing businesses both directly and through financial institutions, providing business advice and supporting policy dialogue.
The EBRD and European Union have now extended their SME activities in Turkmenistan with a three-year programme providing business advice. The European Union has provided €2.5 million to fund the programme through the EU Investment Facility for Central Asia (IFCA).
Over 100 SMEs in Turkmenistan will receive support through advisory projects that draw on the expertise of international advisers and local consultants on a cost-sharing basis. This know-how, covering areas from quality management to strategy, marketing, human resource management and beyond, will strengthen SMEs’ competitiveness, capacity for innovation and ability to attract investment, according to EBRD.
This cooperation builds on the existing EU-EBRD SME Finance Facility for Central Asia, which enables SMEs in Turkmenistan and elsewhere in the region to access finance.
Masaru Honma, EBRD Director for Central Asia, said: “This programme is part of an ongoing commitment from the EBRD and the European Union to support SME development in Turkmenistan. Providing small businesses with the tools they need to become more competitive, innovate and grow is important for the sustainable development of the private sector in the country.”
Jobst Von Kirchmann, Head of Unit for Central Asia at the Directorate for International Development and Cooperation of the European Commission, said: “I am delighted that the European Commission and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development have joined forces to support Turkmen SMEs through a mix of easily accessible loans and business advice.”
The programme was launched with an event in Ashgabat hosted by the EBRD. The event was attended by more than 70 representatives of the local business community, local consultants, government officials and stakeholders in private sector development.
Since starting operations in Turkmenistan, the EBRD has invested over €206 million through projects in a range of sectors and enabled more than 130 SMEs to access business advice.