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European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations (DG NEAR)
News article20 September 2023Directorate-General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations2 min read

EU, EBRD and Sweden boost female entrepreneurship in Georgia

EU, EBRD and Sweden boost female entrepreneurship in Georgia
  • Funding boost for women-led firms in Georgia
  • Focus on financing businesses in regions outside the capital city
  • Advisory services, mentoring and trainings will further support women-led firms

The European Union, together with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and Sweden, is unlocking fresh funds via TBC Bank for Georgian women-led micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs).

A US$20 million EBRD loan to one of Georgia’s largest banks will further expand TBC’s lending to women-led firms, with a focus on financing companies outside the capital city. Borrowers will be able to access funds in Georgian laris or US dollars.

This loan is part of the EBRD’s Women in Business (WiB) programme, supported by the EU and Sweden. WiB aims to boost women’s access to finance and entrepreneurship through loans and business advice. As part of the programme, female entrepreneurs will also benefit from advisory services, mentoring, and training series.

TBC Bank successfully joined the WiB back in 2017 with a US$20 million loan, which is now fully utilised.

The European Union is further supporting the loan for women-led firms under its European Fund for Sustainable Development Plus (EFSD+) guarantee programme. The EFSD+ Financial Inclusion programme is designed to empower micro, small and medium-sized businesses, fostering their competitiveness and growth. By offering strong financial tools and expertise, this programme aims to encourage intermediaries to direct new lending towards those businesses who need it the most.

Francis Malige, EBRD Managing Director for Financial Institutions said: “Inclusive and sustainable economy remains one of the EBRD’s priorities, and women entrepreneurs are an important driver of growth for Georgia’s economy. With today’s signing, we look forward to seeing more women leaders bringing their business ideas to life, and would like to thank TBC Bank, the European Union, Sweden, for their continuous partnership.’’

Lawrence Meredith, EU Director for Eastern Neighbourhood and Institution Building said: “For the very first time, a synergy of EU financial instruments and technical assistance - through our EFSD+ guarantees and the Women in Business program - will play a pivotal role in boosting lending to women-led micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in Georgia. This unique operation consolidates the existing EU support to female entrepreneurship and gender equality in the Eastern Partnership region and allows us to further deliver on our Economic and Investment Plan in Georgia.”

Giorgi Megrelishvili, CFO of TBC Bank, commented: “We are proud to continue our strategic partnership with the EBRD, spanning more than two decades. Throughout this period, TBC has achieved remarkable results in gender financing and this new transaction will be another significant milestone in our successful cooperation. The loan will allow TBC to accelerate financing of women-led businesses, with a special focus on regions, thereby strengthening their competitiveness and contributing to the creation of an inclusive business environment in Georgia. We would like to express our gratitude to the EBRD, the European Union and Sweden for extending this much-needed financing to TBC.”