The FINANCIAL — Trade Ready, a new EBRD trade support initiative, was introduced in Georgia to benefit the country’s small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) working to improve their competitiveness to succeed in international markets.
Supported by donor funding from the European Union under its EU4Business initiative, Trade Ready has been designed to facilitate access to finance and business advice provided by the EBRD to SMEs engaged in import and export activities.
Growing integration in international trade flows represents both an opportunity and a challenge to SMEs in many countries where the EBRD invests. For Georgian companies, improving their competitiveness is key to win a permanent presence in international markets.
Trade Ready aims to address this and many other related issues. The initiative offers trade finance training and trade-related business advice for SMEs, networking opportunities with local banks, as well as policy dialogue to facilitate improvements in the regulatory environment. While banks can expect to attract new clients with the introduction of new trade finance products, businesses will benefit from better access to finance and the chance to expand to international markets.
Trade Ready will extend the outreach of the EBRD’s pioneering Trade Facilitation Programme (TFP) and dedicated business advice through the Bank’s Small Business Initiative. Trade Ready is also available in Serbia and will be rolled out in other countries where the EBRD invests in the coming months.
The TFP was developed to promote and facilitate international trade to, from and within the EBRD regions and has been operating since 1999. In Georgia alone, more than 2,000 foreign trade transactions totalling more than €1.2 billion have been completed to date.
Through its Small Business Initiative, the EBRD provides business advice to help SMEs grow, succeed and become genuine catalysts for local economies and regions. For over 15 years, the programme has provided more than €12.5 million of donor funds which have assisted over 1,100 SMEs in Georgia.
The EBRD is one of the leading institutional investors in Georgia. Since the start of its operations in the country, the Bank has invested over €3.1 billion in 223 projects in the financial, corporate, infrastructure and energy sectors, with 91 per cent of investments supporting private sector development.