EBRD Youth in Business Programme

The Youth in Business programme of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development helps SMEs owned or managed by youth in the economies of operations of the programme access know-how, business expertise, financing and other critical resources to surmount their challenges and unleash their full potential.

EBRD understands that engaging youth in entrepreneurship is key to shaping more sustainable, inclusive and robust economies. Young entrepreneurs have significant potential for creating jobs and stimulating economic development through innovation, competitiveness and more forward-looking business practices. Despite their potential, young entrepreneurs continue to face a variety of barriers to accessing the resources they need to grow their business and thrive.

The Youth in Business programme is currently active in Egypt, Morocco and the Western Balkans. The programme is supported by the European UnionSweden and Italy through the Central European Initiative.

What the programme offers

The Youth in Business programme recognises the unique needs of young entrepreneurs, which are underserved in the marketplace. The programme engages with young business leaders or managers of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) and supports them with access to tailored advisory and financing that aims to help them develop new competencies, improve business performance and unlock new growth opportunities.

Access to finance

For young entrepreneurs, obtaining access to financing is essential to investing in their business and reaching their business goals. Yet, this need is severely underserved by financial markets that often require young people to have collateral or a strong financial track record to back their loan. Under the Youth in Business Programme, the EBRD provides credit lines to local, partner financial institutions for on-lending to youth SMEs. This lending is supported with technical assistance to help banks better respond to the needs of their younger market segment.

Access to business advice

Youth SMEs also benefit from a variety of non-financial services that aim to support their growth trajectory and help them develop entrepreneurial skills and know-how. Eligible companies can access tailored advisory projects delivered by expert consultants who specialise in a broad range of areas, from strategy and marketing to ICT, to energy efficiency and engineering solutions. These usually involve working with qualified local consultants, while reimbursement is provided for a portion of the net costs.

Entrepreneurs can also build their leadership skills through access to other non-financial opportunities such as training, e-learning, mentoring and networking, all designed to boost their knowledge and confidence, and make young businesses fit for the future.

Who is eligible?

In order to qualify for the programme, you have to be under the age of 35 and hold overall management responsibility and/or a majority of all the equality of a privately and locally owned company.

The programme works with ambitious, young leaders of MSMEs with fewer than 250 employees and an annual turnover and balance sheet less than €50 million and €43 million, respectively.  

Youth-led businesses in a broad range of sectors and industries are eligible. However, businesses in banking or financial services, military products or services, gambling or tobacco cannot be considered by the programme.

To learn more about the programme, contact EBRD´s local offices.

Geographical focus
  • Albania
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Kosovo*
  • Montenegro
  • Serbia
  • Western Balkans
Scientifc field / Thematic focus
  • Cross-thematic/Interdisciplinary

Entry created by Admin WBC-RTI.info on August 17, 2023
Modified on August 17, 2023