EBRD finances Kazakhstan’s small businesses and female entrepreneurs

ASTANA (TCA) — The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development is deepening its outreach to small businesses and women-led enterprises in Kazakhstan, the Bank said on June 23.

The EBRD is providing Kazakhstan’s Kassa Nova Bank with a financial package for the equivalent of US$ 11 million.

The first part will be a senior loan in KZT equivalent to up to US$ 6.6 million for on-lending to micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs).The EBRD’s funding will support local companies’ access to finance, which is vital for their growth. Special focus will be put on the distribution of funds outside the main cities of Astana and Almaty.

In addition, the EBRD will provide the equivalent of up to US$ 4.4 million in KZT to Kassa Nova for on-lending to women-led MSMEs under the Kazakhstan Women in Business framework. Under this facility the EBRD promotes and supports women’s entrepreneurship and participation in business by facilitating access to finance as well as business development services.

The transaction is the first project between the EBRD and Kassa Nova, a bank established in 2009 and specialised in services for retail and MSME clients. It focuses on modern IT technologies in order to ensure comfortable and fast service for clients and a quick decision-making process.

The loans will be fully guaranteed by Kazakhstan’s entrepreneurship development fund Damu, which specialises in working with local businesses, public organisations and local authorities. The EBRD and Damu signed a Memorandum of Understanding recently to establish a framework for partnership and the development of long-term, effective and mutually beneficial cooperation aimed at developing the MSME sector. This will include training of employees, knowledge sharing and skills improvement according to a fully developed business support programme.

The loan agreements between the EBRD and Kassa Nova were signed last week by EBRD President Sir Suma Chakrabarti and the Chairman of the Management Board of Kassa Nova, Sholpan Nurumbetova.

The EBRD has also joined forces again with its long-standing partner KMF, the largest private microfinance organisation in Kazakhstan, to support small businesses and women-led enterprises in the country.

The Bank will extend a financial package of US$ 11 million which comprises a US$ 4.4 million loan for local micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) and a US$ 6.6 million loan under the local Women in Business programme.

KMF will on-lend the EBRD funds to vibrant economic players whose growth potential is vital for the sustainable development of Kazakhstan’s economy. Reaching out to the remote parts of the country and supporting the diversification of the economy is part of the EBRD’s strategy for Kazakhstan.

The loan for women-led enterprises is the second transaction under the Women in Business programme between the EBRD and KMF. The microfinance organisation was established in 2009 and today is one of the leaders in the microfinance market in Central Asia, the Caucasus and eastern Europe.

The loan agreement was signed by EBRD President Suma Chakrabarti and the Chairman of the Management Board of KMF, Shalkar Zhussupov.

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Times of Central Asia