Entrepreneurs across Bulgaria will gain more access to finance following a €
10mn loan from the EBRD to the Bulgarian American Credit Bank (BACB), a US-owned bank dedicated to supporting private-sector growth in the country.


The loan is being complemented with €
250,000 from the EU to support staff training and ensure successful implementation of the loan. These amounts are part of the EU/EBRD SME Finance Facility, a programme to promote SME growth and development in the new EU member states, plus Bulgaria and Romania.


John Chomel Doe, EBRD director for Bulgaria, says this loan will help meet the growing demands of entrepreneurs for access to finance to build or expand their businesses. A thriving SME sector will help drive Bulgaria’s economic growth, and by working with Bank’s like BACB we will continue to support this important sector, Chomel Doe adds.


The BACB was set up in 1996 by the Bulgarian American Enterprise Fund, a US government-funded facility to support Bulgaria’s transition to a market economy.


Already a strong supporter of SMEs, the bank will use the loan to finance more entrepreneurs through branches in the cities of Plovdiv, Burgas, Varna and Stara Zagora, as well as through its mobile lending group covering 10 additional towns across the country. Through BACB, entrepreneurs can obtain loans of up to €


The SME Facility was launched in 1999 under the Phare Programme – the main channel for the EU’s financial and technical cooperation with the EU accession countries – with the EBRD, to encourage the growth and development of SMEs by providing access to loans, leasing and equity finance from local financial intermediaries. The budget earmarked for the Phare Programme as a whole is about €
1.5bn a year.


The EBRD is the largest investor in Bulgaria, having committed more than €
941mn, in 50 projects. The bank has mobilised a total of around €
3.7bn for projects in the country by working with its many partners, including the private sector.