New funding to boost competitiveness and support digital transformation of small businesses in Bosnia and Herzegovina
Promoting SME investments in technology and automation
EU subsidies to make investments more affordable
Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Bosnia and Herzegovina will have more opportunities to invest in digital transformation thanks to new financing made available to Sparkasse Bank, provided by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the European Union (EU). .
The EBRD has granted an 8 million euro loan that Sparkasse Bank will on-lend to local SME clients. Proceeds will be used to help small businesses invest in the automation and digitalization of business processes to improve productivity, operational efficiency and resilience.
SMEs will be able to apply for funds to invest in hardware and software for various digital transformation projects in the areas of production, internal processes and services. The aim is to boost the digital transformation of SMEs as well as make them more competitive in EU markets and compliant with the standards required by EU directives.
In addition to loans, SMEs will benefit from EU-funded grants of up to 15 percent of the total loan amount.
Manuela Naessl, EBRD Director for Bosnia and Herzegovina, said: “Digital tools bring many benefits to businesses; they reduce costs, facilitate communication, help small businesses integrate into global markets, etc. However, despite the many benefits and opportunities that digital technologies bring, many SMEs – and small businesses in particular – continue to lag behind in their adoption. This is why we are working with the EU and our partner banks in Bosnia and Herzegovina to provide well-structured financing and encourage SMEs to invest in digitalization.”
The credit line is provided under the joint EBRD-EU Go Digital program in Bosnia and Herzegovina, for which the EBRD obtained 40 million euros in loans, while the EU obtained grants of 9 million euros euros for incentive payments, consulting services and technical assistance. .
Amir Softić, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Sparkasse Bank BiH, expressed satisfaction with the ongoing successful cooperation with the EBRD and the provision of another advantageous financing model to the bank’s clients.
“Through this credit line, we achieve two strategic objectives that are integrated into Sparkasse Bank’s business model: actively strengthening the economy of Bosnia and Herzegovina, mainly by supporting the sustainable development of SMEs, which generate almost 70 percent of business activity and jobs. , and encourage partnerships on positive solutions for the economic and social development of communities,” commented Softić. “No single institution can make a big difference, but many can do it together. Such credit lines are an example of how these partnerships can directly benefit the country’s economy. Digitalization can be a powerful driver of sustainable development, both for individual companies and for the country as a whole, because digital solutions ultimately contribute to the preservation of the environment.
The program is accompanied by activities Germany Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ). GIZ works with the government and stakeholders to help create an enabling environment for digitalization and innovation in Bosnia and Herzegovina, including digital innovation hubs, in line with EU best practices.
The program contributes directly to the European Commission program Digital Agenda for the Western Balkanswhich aims to support the transition of the private sector and help businesses fully benefit from the benefits of the digital transformation of the economy.
Since its inception in Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1996, the EBRD has invested more than €3 billion in 216 projects in the country.