Serbia—Trade Ready

Client: European Bank for Reconstruction and Development

Duration: 2017-2020

Region: Eastern Europe and Central Asia

Country: Serbia

Solutions: Economic Growth

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are major drivers of trade, employment, and economic development in Serbia. However, these small businesses face barriers when expanding into international importing and exporting. In particular, they struggle with limited access to trade finance. Local financial institutions are reluctant to offer trade financing to smaller businesses, while SMEs often lack knowledge about trade finance instruments and how to conduct international commerce.

To help address these gaps, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development launched the Trade Ready initiative. The programme strengthened the capacity of small businesses to access trade finance that supports growth and creates jobs, and stimulated the local banking sector to offer tailored trade finance products and services to SMEs. Through Trade Ready technical assistance, SMEs took a more active role in expanding international and intra-regional trade and fostering local economic development.

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Sample Activities

  • Provide technical assistance to partner banks to introduce new trade finance products and services or optimise existing ones to better meet the needs of SMEs.
  • Build the capacity of SMEs and local consultants to assess businesses’ trade readiness and better understand trade financing products.
  • Facilitate policy dialogues on reforms to improve SME access to trade finance.

Select Results

  • Provided diagnostic services to more than 30 companies in clinics for SMEs.
  • Trained 12 SMEs and 19 local consultants in international trade and trade finance.
  • Organised 10 awareness seminars in different regions of the country targeted at SMEs involved in international trade.
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