The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the ministry of energy on Tuesday launched an Advice for Small Businesses Facility in Cyprus.
According to an EBRD press release, over the next three years, the ASB Facility in Cyprus will provide over 160 local enterprises with access to professional expertise to grow their businesses through advisory projects with local consultants and international advisers, alongside mentoring, coaching and training courses.
The facility is supported by €2.15m in funding from the European Regional Development Fund.
“Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) can help diversify the economy and put Cyprus back on a path of solid growth,” the bank said. “The island has a large number of vibrant SMEs that would benefit from better availability of long-term funding and working capital as well also from assistance in strengthening their efforts in marketing and product innovation.”
Energy Minister Giorgos Lakkotrypis said “this is the first time Cypriot authorities are helping SMEs in the country access advisory services benefiting from the EBRD’s know-how”.
The minister urged local SMEs to apply and “take advantage of this know-how in order for them to open up new markets, introduce new production lines, save energy and meet their overall targets”.
Libor Krkoska, head of the EBRD resident office, said that the bank is very pleased to be launching this programme with the government, adding that the facility will build on the successful experience so far in Cyprus, serving to strengthen the competitiveness of SMEs, enhance their export capacity, increase the use of – and improve the quality of – local business advisory services and promote inclusion.
“The SME sector in Cyprus has considerable potential and this is a significant step in introducing the right know-how to take those businesses further,” he said.
The EBRD has been helping SMEs access advisory services for more than 20 years, committing over €400m of donor funds to assist nearly 20,000 enterprises across all of its countries of operations.
Over 77 per cent of the companies that benefited have experienced an increase in their turnover and productivity; results for job creation and access to external finance have also been very positive, the press release concludes.