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BUCHAREST (Romania), January 9 (SeeNews) - The European Investment Bank (EIB) said on Wednesday it is lending 22.3 million euro ($25.5 million) loan to Romania's Garanti Bank to support women-led small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the country.
This transaction is backed by the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), the financial pillar of the Investment Plan for Europe, EIB said in a press release.
This innovative loan tranche will give female entrepreneurs representing small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and mid-caps access to more favourable financing.
"This innovative project backed by the Investment Plan for Europe enables the EIB for the first time in the EU to provide a loan dedicated to supporting investments by female entrepreneurs. Women entrepreneurs are a powerful source of economic development and they can contribute even more to sustainable growth if they have better access to finance," EIB vice-president Andrew McDowell said.
To be able to access these loans, companies have to be more than 50% owned by one or more women, or 26% to 50% of the shares have to be owned by one or more women, with a woman acting as the company’s chief executive, operating or financial officer, the bank said.
"I am very glad that the Juncker Plan is lending a helping hand to women entrepreneurs in Romania, assisting them express their talents and turn their ideas into concrete projects. Empowering women and giving them the financial means to succeed will directly benefit Romania's economy. I welcome this new agreement and I hope to see many more like this in the future," European Commissioner for Regional Policy, Corina Cretu, said.
This operation, the first EIB intermediated loan in the EU specifically backing female entrepreneurs, will support women’s participation as key economic actors and is in line with the EIB’s Strategy on Gender Equality and Women’s Economic Empowerment.
"This new partnership with EIB encompasses continued assistance for women economic empowerment in Romania. We are glad to sign this new agreement and reinforce our long-term commitment to the Romanian business community," Garanti Bank CEO Ufuk Tandogan said.
($ = 0.8733 euro)