Source: eKapija | Thursday, 24.11.2016.| 15:52
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Micro financing in Serbia underway - December 5 Erste bank in cooperation with European Investment Fund to start support for start up and social companies

(Signing of the agreement), the European Investment Fund (EIF) and Erste Bank Serbia signed an agreement on guarantees for microfinance in order to support start-up companies and social enterprises in Serbia under the EU Program for Employment and Social Innovation (EASI). The contract will cover a loan portfolio of 4.7 million euros for more than 800 Serbian micro-enterprises will be able to apply for loans under favorable conditions, with a minimum guarantee or collateral.

For start-ups and social enterprises in Serbia within social banking "Step by Step" program two types of loans - for permanent working capital (with repayment period of up to three years) and for investment (repayment period of up to five years), with a grace period of up to 12 months will be available. Maximum amount of each loan will be EUR 25,000, and interest rates will be known December 5, when the application for micro-loans starts and will depend on type of loan and types of enterprises.

On the same day, online platform of the project will be launched which contain a program of education all those interested in loans will have to attend. It will consist of nine modules and it will practically be a preparation to write a business plan.

This is the first step in the implementation of the program, which Erste Group launched in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) and Austria, to support customers who traditionally are not covered enough with banking services: startups or new businesses and start-ups, social enterprises, civil society, as well as persons at risk of poverty.
1.000 new vacancies underway

Within this program, Erste Bank in Serbia cooperates with organizations Smart kolektiv, Eneca, Business Development Center Kragujevac and Business Innovation Programs on education, pre-selection and mentoring start-ups and social enterprises.

Next year, in our country within the framework of the "Step by Step"program services for civil society organizations will be developed and during 2018 for individuals at risk of poverty. The program aims to create over 1,000 new jobs, set up of more than 40 social enterprises and better financial situation for at least 500 people.

Innovations and educational system reform are key in entrepreneurial development

Slavko Caric
Within the panel which was held at the signing ceremony, President of the Executive Board of Erste Bank Slavko Caric pointed out that guarantee of the European Union allows Erste Bank Serbia to implement its strategy of supporting small businesses, start-ups and social enterprises, which will be at the forefront of change and country development.

Collocutors agreed that innovations are key for further development and growth of economy as well as that educational system reform is essential which would mean that high school students would develop entrepreneurial culture and adopt first knowledge on entrepreneurship.

With no access to funding for 30.000 companies in Serbia

As stated in Erste Bank, in Serbia (with incomes lower than 121 EUR) neraly 350,000 unemployed citizens lives at risk from poverty, about 180,000 employees and nearly 160,000 retirees. In addition, in our country, 30,000 companies does not have an access to financing, and the youth unemployment rate in the first quarter of 2016 amounted to 44%.

M.A.

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