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The EBRD has opened a new advisory service in Russia’s Baltic enclave Kaliningrad as part of a drive to develop the economy by stimulating the growth of local small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

Thanks to technical cooperation funding totalling €500,000 from the governments of Finland, Luxembourg and Sweden, the programme, known as Business Advisory Services (BAS), will be able to work with about 75 Kaliningrad entrepreneurs on self-improvement projects.

Using local consultants and working directly with individual SMEs, the programme provides practical business advice on how to remove barriers to growth and development, as well as on how to make firms more efficient and competitive.

BAS assistance typically focuses on short-term projects such as upgrading IT systems to improve financial controls, carrying out market research and the introduction of systems for quality management and enterprise reorganisation.

This donor-funded programme offers local consultants a chance to prove their worth, further develop their skills, and thus position themselves to meet the future needs of Kaliningrad’s business community, says Natalia Makova, who will be heading the office.

The opening of the Kaliningrad office the 17th of the bank’s BAS programme represents an additional step in the implementation of the EBRD’s strategy for this enclave of 1mn people, and further demonstrates its commitment to the region’s SMEs.
BAS was launched by the EBRD and the Nordic Council of Ministers in 1995 in the Baltic States and has since been successfully expanded by the EBRD to 15 of the bank’s 27 countries of operation, including St Petersburg and Samara in Russia.
A wide variety of donors have provided €34.51mn in funding for more than 2,500 projects under the programme so far.