The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is extending a EUR 10 million loan under its “Go Digital in BiH” program to UniCredit Bank d.d. for on-lending to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
In addition to loans, SMEs will benefit from grant incentives of up to 15 percent of the loan amount, funded by the European Union.
SMEs will be able to apply for funds to invest in new equipment and technologies that can help them increase their productivity, reduce operational costs and improve compliance with EU standards. These investments can relate to a wide range of equipment and software solutions, including those in the areas of digital transformation and energy efficiency.
“UniCredit Bank is a long-standing partner of ours and it has a large network of SME clients and a dedicated team working in that sector. We are glad that, together with the EU, we can provide additional financing for SMEs in the country and support their growth and digital transformation,” said Manuela Naessl, Head of EBRD Bosnia and Herzegovina.
“We are pleased to become a partner in the program that supports investments in the digitalization of SMEs, as they are the key to the development of our country’s economy. Empowering the development of communities is our priority, and by continuously investing in the SME sector and supporting their digitalization, these companies will increase their productivity, reduce costs and improve energy efficiency.
At the same time, they will have the opportunity to benefit from grant incentives paid upon successful completion of the project. I am sure that many companies will take advantage of this opportunity and strengthen their competitiveness both on the domestic and international markets, investing in innovative technologies, skills and services to grow on a sustainable basis,” said Amina Mahmutović, President of the Management Board of UniCredit Bank Mostar.
The credit line is extended under the EBRD and EU-funded Go Digital in BiH Program, part of the EU4SMEs Program.
The EBRD has secured EUR 40 million in loans, while the EU has secured grants of EUR 9 million for incentive payments, advisory services and technical assistance.
The program is accompanied by activities from Germany’s Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), which will work with the government and stakeholders to help build an ecosystem for digitalization, automation and innovation in Bosnia and Herzegovina, including digital innovation hubs, in line with EU best practice.
The program contributes directly to the European Commission’s Digital Agenda for the Western Balkans, which aims to support the private sector’s digital transition and help businesses fully enjoy the benefits of a digital economy, stated the EBRD.