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Small and medium-sized enterprises in the Slovak Republic will gain better access to finance following a €
5mn loan from the EBRD to UniBanka, the sixth largest bank in the country and a subsidiary of Unicredito Italiano. In addition to the EBRD loan, up to almost €
1.1mn is being provided by the European Union for the implementation of the project.

These amounts are extended under the EU/EBRD SME Finance Facility, a joint programme of the European Commission and the EBRD to support the development and growth of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) by facilitating their access to finance launched in 1999. Under this programme, the EBRD has committed €
850mn, of which €
650mn has been disbursed by local banks and leasing companies via 27,000 loans and leases. The EC has committed €
130mn in grant financing and for technical assistance since the facility’s launch in 1999.

Alexander Auboeck, EBRD director for the Slovak Republic, says that this loan is important for the country’s enterprise sector, since financing for entrepreneurs is still limited. “It will help giving access to capital to small businesses, which are the engines of growth and a key to economic development,” he says. “We also hope that this project will demonstrate to other banks the business opportunities that exist in this growing sector.”