The American Chamber of Commerce in collaboration with the Gender Alliance for Development Center (GADC) organized an informative session with a versatile panel on the opportunities for women entrepreneurs to access funds granted by various financial institutions an donors.

The meeting focused mostly on funds that EBRD has for start-ups or small businesses that meet the set conditions and have in place business plans suitable for funding. Mr. Neritan Mullaj, the Business Advisor to Small Business at EBRD explained that EBRD has created products, both consultancy and funding related, that clearly target businesses managed by women entrepreneurs and that from the 650 SMEs funded over the last 12 years, 25% of them are run by women. A considerable part of these businesses, have turned out profitable, with an increased business volume and increased number of employees.

By focusing in more details on the criteria that a business should meet to benefit EBRD fundraising, Elena Balliu, Small Business Manager at Sales Department of Intesa Sanpaolo Bank Albania, spoke on “Business Lens” and the level of credit that can be earned within this program. Businesses run by women who have up to 250 employees and a promising business plan can become part of this funding scheme.

The forms of financing small business projects and the consultancy they need to develop were also covered by Jetona Mythell from IDEA-Pro SEED-GIZ Project and Andi Gjokutaj, Operations Manager of OFICINA funded by Soros Foundation.

Despite the extensive information sessions that EBRD holds, this was the first one triggered by a business organization as yet. We wish to thank the esteemed panel and GADC, headed by Mrs. Mirela Arqimandriti, who is also the Chair of AmChams’ WoBAC, who initiated the idea.

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