WBIF Steering Committee Adopts Western Balkan Enterprise Development and Innovation Facility

Posted in: News- Dec 07, 2011 Comments Off

Luxembourg, December 7, 2011 – The Western Balkans Investment Framework (WBIF) Steering Committee approved financing for the Western Balkan Enterprise Development and Innovation Facility (EDIF). Serbia was represented at the meeting by Božidar Đelić, Deputy Prime Minister for European Integration and Ljiljana Kundaković, Interim Managing Director of the Innovation Fund.

Western Balkan Enterprise Development and Innovation Facility (EDIF), a project proposed by Serbia on behalf of the beneficiaries and by European Investment Fund (EIF) and European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) on behalf of the financiers, is an ongoing effort of the Innovation Fund to improve access to finance for SMEs, especially access to venture capital funds.

During the meeting, Deputy Prime Minister Đelić presented, on behalf of Serbia and the region, the Western Balkan Enterprise Development and Innovation Facility. “Serbia will actively participate in the Facility, through the involvement of the national Innovation Fund. This Facility, which is worth a total of €141 million, is a great opportunity for the region to receive, for the first time, adequate support for the development of innovative small and medium enterprises”, said the Deputy Prime Minister.

The main goals of this Facility are to improve access to finance for SMEs, as well as, to establish four complementary mechanisms of support for SMEs – Enterprise Innovation Fund (ENIF) – venture capital fund financing innovative SMEs in the start-up phase, Enterprise Expansion Fund (ENEF) – private equity fund focusing on established SMEs with high growth potential, Guarantee Facility (GF) – which will significantly improve opportunities for SMEs to access funds from banks, as well as potentially reducing the costs of borrowing. One component of the Project is also Technical Assistance (TA Facility), which aims to improve the regulatory framework for supporting innovative SMEs with high growth potential, as well as to stimulate the venture capital market.

About the WBIF: The Western Balkans Investment Framework (WBIF) is an innovative financing mechanism designed to pool grants, loans and expertise from the countries of the Western Balkans, the European Commission, the international financial institutions and bilateral donors to prepare financing for a common pipeline of priority investment projects.www.wbif.eu

About the Innovation Fund (IF): The Innovation Fund was established by the Serbia Innovation Law in order to provide funding for innovation, particularly through cooperation with international financial institutions, organizations, donors and the private sector. The objective of the IF is to contribute to the overall development of innovation through various financial instruments, particularly by fostering the establishment of new and strengthening existing companies, by positioning them to access venture capital markets, and by promoting linkages between research, technology development and economy. www.innovationfund.rs