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Belarusky Narodny Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development concluded an agreement under the Women in Busine
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Belarusky Narodny Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development concluded an agreement under the Women in Business programme

Belarusky Narodny Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development officially signed the loan agreement under the Women in Business programme on 14 July 2016 in Minsk. Belarusky Narodny Bank has become the first bank to join the Women in Business programme in the country. The agreement contemplates the extension to Belarusky Narodny Bank of USD 3 million.

Received funds will be provided by Belarusky Narodny Bank for the development of lending to private woman-led businesses.

The Women in Business program contemplates the expansion of access to financial resources for small and medium-sized woman-led enterprises, which can also obtain financial and consulting support. The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, European Union and Sweden have been at the forefront of this project.

At the press conference, held before the solemn execution of the agreement, participated the Head of the Delegation of the European Union in the Republic of Belarus Andrea Victorin, Principal Banker of the Financial Institutions Department of the EBRD Jahan Shamsiev, Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassador of Sweden in the Republic of Belarus Martin Aberg and Chief Executive Officer of BNB-Bank Constantine Tsereteli.

- Belarusky Narodny Bank consistently and systematically provides support to medium-sized and small business and defined that direction as primary and strategic. We see potential for the development of private sector in Belarus, among other things through more active involvement of woman in entrepreneurial activity. The programme which is worked out by our respectable partners from EBRD allows women entrepreneurs to solve such concerns as fund raising and technical support. The extension of women’s possibilities provides buildup of sound society, which is key to stable growth of the country. We are glad to be the first Belarusian bank to be included in the Women in Business programme, - said Chief Executive Officer of Belarusky Narodny Bank Constantine Tsereteli.

Kseniya Kosacheva, Head of SME Lending Department of BNB-Bank added: “In Belarus women have the possibility to receive good education and embark upon a career, but sometimes they are hesitant to compete with successful businessman and promote own business. We want address to all women entrepreneurs: Dear Ladies, we have faith in you! Yes, we grant loans to women-led businesses! Yes, we support women in business! Yes, we understand specifics of your operations and we are prepared to become your reliable partner! As a first step we have worked out the loan product “SMArt Lady”, under which we will provide lending resources.

Francis Delaey, the EBRD’s Head of Office in Belarus, said: “This is just the beginning of an exciting programme, which will allow Belarusian businesswomen to access finance and know-how to help them realise their potential. The importance of small businesses in the country is growing and we see local women entrepreneurs playing a greater role in the process. We are particularly pleased that our long-term partner BNB bank, an established force in SME lending in Belarus, are with us in this important undertaking.”

Young and successful businesswomen participated in the event and told their stories about starting and developing of a new business, introduced their projects and plans.

Belarusky Narodny Bank intends to embrace broad spectrum of potentially interested companies to this program, which will be introduced in other regions of Belarus by the end of this summer.

About Women in Business programme:

The EBRD implements the Women in Business programme in the countries of the Eastern Partnership, which include Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine. The programme promotes women’s entrepreneurship and supports small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) led by women through access to finance and know-how solutions necessary for business growth. The Women in Business programme in the Eastern Partnership countries is funded by the EBRD, the European Union, Sweden and the Early Transition Countries Fund.

EBRD provides access to finance through credit lines to local banks dedicated to women-led SMEs, alongside business advice to help businesses become more competitive. It also offers training, mentoring and other support to enable women entrepreneurs to share experiences and learn from each other as peers.

Additional information is available at http://www.ebrd.com/womeninbusiness

About European Bank for Reconstruction and Development:

The EBRD was established in 1991. It invests into projects committed to the development of market-oriented economies and the promotion of private and entrepreneurial initiative. The Bank acts for the interest of all its shareholders - 65 countries, the EU and the EIB.

The EBRD seeks to develop a sound investment climate based on an effective legal and regulatory framework which promotes corporate governance, including sound management practices, a firm stance against corrupt practices, disclosure of information, and clear and consistent accounting and auditing practices. All its operations are guided by the need to promote environmentally sound and sustainable development as well as appropriate procurement practices.

The EBRD values gender equality as an integral part of its commitment to promoting sustainable and environmentally sound development across its investment and donor-funded activities. Gender equality is a principal element in the promotion of sound business management and the advancement of sustainable growth in the countries where the EBRD invests.

Additional information is available at http://www.ebrd.com

About BNB-Bank:

Belarusky Narodny Bank (BNB-Bank) was established in 1992. Its head office is located in Minsk, Nezavisimosti ave., 87а. Fifteen service centers of BNB-Bank are located in 5 cities of Belarus (Minsk, Gomel, Brest, Vitebsk, Mogilov). The major shareholders are Bank of Georgia (79,99%) and IFC (19,99%). BNB-Bank provides wide range of services to legal entities and individuals. Support of SMEs is the major strategic goal of the bank.

Belarusky Narodny Bank was named the most dynamic bank of Belarus. By the end of 2015 Belarusky Narodny Bank was the forth in the Rating of the most effective Belarusian banks. Also by the end of 2015 Belarusky Narodny Bank moved to the 12th position among 26 Belarusian banks by three key indicators: assets, gross loan portfolio and volume of client deposits. In 2015, the financial literacy project of the bank was recognized as the best project in the area of corporate social responsibility.

In 2014 Belarusky Narodny Bank launched “SMArt Business” program for support of SMEs in Belarus with the motto “Art of running business” which comprehends a combination of different financial and non-financial services in the single package. Main aims of the program are:

1) to provide and broaden access of SMEs to financing;

2) to improve and raise standards of service quality;

3) to create and develop the platform of experience exchange between entrepreneurs.

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