On 24th of November, in Tirana was launched the SME Competitiveness Programme, which offers new financing opportunities for local businesses. The program combines EBRD loans and EU-funded grant incentives, which will be lent to small businesses in partnership with local commercial banks. Specialised credit lines are currently available to OTP Bank Albania, to which the EBRD has extended a total of €8 million in loans.
SMEs will be able to apply for funds to invest in new equipment and upgrades that can help them boost their productivity, cut operational costs, increase energy efficiency and improve their alignment with EU standards. In addition to loans, SMEs will benefit from grant incentives worth up to 15 per cent of the total loan amount, funded by the EU. The aim is to help SMEs to go beyond their usual operations and invest in becoming more competitive in local and EU markets.
Ekaterina Solovova, EBRD Head of Albania, said: “Helping the private sector, particularly SMEs, in Albania to become more competitive and energy efficient is one of our key priorities here. We look forward to expanding this and similar programmes and reaching many more local businesses in partnership with commercial banks.”
Hubert Perr, Head of Cooperation with the EU Delegation to Albania, said: “This is a great opportunity for local SMEs to grow and bring their distinctive mark in a more regional market, particularly in the context of the global economic situation. Let’s ensure that these incentives reach those companies that demonstrate core European values in respecting their workers’ safety, quality standards, and the environment. The EU is here to support you.”
Mr. Bledar Shella, the Executive Director of OTP Bank Albania, said: “We are pleased to note a serious effort by the entire Western Balkan region to move towards commercial integration in the European Union. The programme made possible by the EBRD with the help of the European Union and the cooperation of Albanian commercial banks comes at a key moment in the development of our country. This financial programme aims to increase the competitiveness of small and medium-sized Albanian enterprises by enabling the improvement and provision of European standards in the line of values that this giant market represents, specifically the improvement of environmental impacts, safety at work, the quality of the environment in enterprises, the improvement of processes, as well as the quality and safety of products. In our bank OTP Albania, we have given and will give maximum attention to this programme. We wish that the funds made available will be spent in a short time and the program will succeed in the country so that it can grow even more in the future”.
OTP Bank Albania is always in support of programs that aim to increase the integration and financial strengthening of the country in the region and beyond.