1 This guide was developed through the project Women on Board of Local Development, Grant Agreement No. VS/2006/0426, with the support of the European Community, Programme relating to the Community Framework Strategy on gender equality. The information contained in this guide does not necessarily reflect the position or opinion of the European Commission.
2 Contents 1. INTRODUCTION 1.1 The Overall Framework 1.2 Specific Framework Working Group 3- Access to Finance 2. ACCESS TO FINANCE 2.1 THE ISSUE OF ACCESS TO FINANCE Importance of Access to Finance Main Obstacles Faced by Female Entrepreneurs Sources of Finance and Advice Sought 2.2 AVAILABLE SCHEMES IN PARTNERS COUNTRIES Bulgaria I. Financing from Commercial Banks II. Institutional and Project Financing of Companies in Bulgaria A. Project for Creating Competitive Start-up Enterprises (Project 100) B. Opportunities through Business Support Project (JOBS) C. National Innovation Fund D. The Union of Popular Funds Cooperative E. Micro-fund JSC F. Nachala Cooperative G. USTOI Joint Stock Company H. The society FEDERATION of CMAACAPO I. Best Young Entrepreneur Award CYPRUS I. Cyprus Women s Co-operative Bank (Co-operative Organisation Cyprus Women Initiative Ltd) II. Female Entrepreneurship Scheme III.Youth Entrepreneurship Scheme GREECE I. Female Entrepreneurship Scheme II. Youth Entrepreneurship Scheme III. Credit Guarantee Fund for Small and Very Small Enterprises IV. Development of Female Employment and Entrepreneurship Latvia I. ALTUM Financing Program for Business Start-ups II. Credit Program for Business Start-ups III. FEM INTERREG IIIB Micro Credit Program for Female Entrepreneurs of Rural Area IV. Latvian Guarantee Agency ROME I. Convenzione Della Camera Di Commercio Di Roma II. Legge 215/92 Imprenditoria Femminile III. Legge 95/95 (ex. 44/86) Imprenditoria Giovanile Tuscany I. Let s Grant Credit to Women Project II. Protocol of Understanding signed by the Tuscan Regional Government and the Banks for the Development of the Tuscan Economic System III.Law no. 215/ Zlin Region of the Czech Republic I. Programme START II.Programme GUARANTEE III.Programme PROGRESS 2.3 NEW SERVICE BULGARIAN CHAMBER OF COMMERCE & INDUSTRY (BCCI) CYPRUS CHAMBER OF COMMERCE & INDUSTRY (CCCI) AND UNION OF HELLENIC CHAMBERS OF COMMERCE & INDUSTRY (UHCCI) LATVIAN CHAMBER OF COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY ROME CHAMBER OF COMMERCE, INDUSTRY AND AGRICULTURE (ITALY) UNIONCAMERE TOSCANA (ITALY) ZLIN COMMERCIAL AND ECONOMIC CHAMBER (CZECH REPUBLIC)
3 3. CONCLUSIONS AND POLICY RECOMMENDATIONS Annexes I. English Version of the Business Plan Guide prepared by the CCCI & UHCCI II. Greek Version of the Business Plan Guide prepared by the CCCI & UHCCI III. Women On Board Portal Sample Pages by Unioncamere Toscana IV. English Version of the Business Plan Guide prepared by the Zlin Commercial & Economic Chamber V. Czech Version of the Business Plan Guide prepared by the Zlin Commercial & Economic Chamber VI. English Version of the Guide on Available Microcredits for Entrepreneurs in Zlin VII. Czech Version of the Guide on Available Microcredits for Entrepreneurs in Zlin
4 1. INTRODUCTION 1.1. THE OVERALL FRAMEWORK Women make up over half of the European population, yet their participation in the local economic development remains limited, and is far from being equal to that of men. Nevertheless, a higher participation of women is necessary to contribute to the Lisbon targets of sustainable economic growth and more and better jobs. Women constitute an important economic potential, and as long as this potential is not tapped, Europe will not achieve its goals, and the theory of gender equality will not translate into reality. Women on Board of Local Development, in short On Board, was a project funded by the European Commission, DG Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities, which was comprised of 17 partners, all being Chambers of Commerce and Industry. The aim of the On Board project was the promotion of gender equality and the encouragement of a balanced participation of men and women in the local economic development, (i.e. equal participation and representation). In order to reach this goal, the objectives of the project were categorised into short and long term. The short term objectives were: 1. To analyse the reasons for the under- representation of women on Chamber boards and develop strategies to remedy the situation 2. To establish links between Chambers and other local stakeholders that would lead to a better understanding and handling of the reconciliation question 3. To improve the capacities of the Chamber network for delivering services to female entrepreneurs 4. To increase awareness among the Chambers about the positive effects that the full inclusion of women in the local economic environment has. 5. To increase awareness within the female business community concerning the possibilities they have for accessing economic decision making posts. 6. To improve the conditions at local level for female entrepreneurs-to-be. The long term objectives were: 1. To increase the economic participation of women in society and foster a better integration in all spheres of economic life, finally leading to a situation of equal participation. 2. To achieve a closer cooperation between local stakeholders with the aim of developing a common vision and coordinating efforts for the implementation of projects relating to gender equality, in effect leading to a higher level of awareness among stakeholders concerned, and a better and more efficient implementation. 3. To continuously increase the number of Chambers dealing with gender equality questions and offering services to female business members. 4. To create a more women-friendly business environment that enables women to successfully tackle work and family questions and leads to an improved quality of life. The specific project sought to address 3 areas of concern which hinder the equal participation of women in the economic environment and which were tackled by 3 working groups in the frame of the project. These areas and corresponding working groups were: ü Women on Chamber boards
5 ü Linking local actors ü Access to finance for female entrepreneurs - Working Group 1 Women on Chamber Boards. Dealt with the underrepresentation of women in economic decision making. This working group was comprised of the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber, Milan Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Central Finnish Chamber of Commerce, the Slovenian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Chamber of Commerce and Industry Schwerin (Denmark). Throughout the 15 months of the project, this working group analysed the reason for the under- representation of women on boards of Chambers. Furthermore the partners developed basic guidelines in increasing female participation on such boards. The main tasks and results of this first working group were to: - Carry out a survey that pointed out the reasons why there are so few women on Chamber boards - Raise awareness among society in general and among female entrepreneurs and managing directors in particular concerning the low percentage of women in elected Chamber boards - Organise the Vienna Conference to present the results of the working group survey and to develop the guidelines on how to improve the situation training, role models, encouragement etc. - Develop and disseminate guidelines on how to enhance the presence of women on Chamber boards, in order to increase the motivation of female entrepreneurs and managing directors to run for elections in Chamber bodies. - Working Group 2 Linking Local Actors. Dealt with the reconciliation of work and family life for female entrepreneurs and employees. This working group worked on improving the conditions for tackling the work/life balance question by linking different local stakeholders and addressing the gaps in existing measures. Partners in this working group were Retecamere Scrl, Unioncamere (Brussels Office), the Romanian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Chambers Ireland and Alands Chamber of Commerce (Finland). Throughout the project the members captured the knowledge gained from work carried out in the member states and provided the forum for this learning to be shared. The trans-national dimension of the project avoided duplication of work and maximised the information sharing and networking aspect of the project. The main tasks and results of the second working group were to: - Develop a guide on best practices, including suggestions as to how to link local actors in relation to work and life balance in the EU. - Identify key success factors in the formulation and implementation of reconciliation policies in the member states. - Identify gaps in current work life balance agreements and propose innovative and workable solutions to address these gaps. - Working Group 3 Access to Finance for Female Entrepreneurs. Dealt with the provision of assistance on access to finance, specifically targeted towards women entrepreneurs and employees.
6 1.2. SPECIFIC FRAMEWORK - Working Group 3- Access to Finance The third working group (which is also responsible for the development of the present e-guide) sought to provide women with assistance on access to finance, as this appears to be a key issue for female entrepreneurs. Access to finance is the biggest obstacle at the time of start-up for female entrepreneurs, while liquidity and financial questions also remain the biggest problem for women in the day-to-day running of their business. Although there is a large array of access to finance measures and relevant schemes in different European countries, some specifically targeted towards women, others of a more general nature, yet the degree of awareness and usage of these measures by the target group was quite low. The members of this working group were the: Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) Cyprus Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) Latvian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) Rome Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture (Italy) Unioncamere Toscana (Italy) Union of Hellenic Chambers of Commerce and Industry (UHCCI) Zlin Commercial and Economic Chamber (Czech Republic) The Cyprus CCI led this group by coordinating the activities of all working group members and the necessary reporting. o MAIN TASKS - Survey The working group members carried out an independent survey in their regions and each prepared a report highlighting the local situation and the main problems of access to finance for women in each region. - Cyprus Workshop Upon completion of the individual reports, a workshop was organised in Cyprus by the relevant Chamber (CCCI), whereby all members of the 3 rd working group were represented. At the workshop the findings of the local reports were compiled, while the basis for the present e- guide was set. - New services/products During the Cyprus workshop, it was confirmed that each working group member based on the findings of their report would develop a new service or product within their Chamber in the field of access to finance in order to broaden their existing range of services/products offered, as this was stipulated in the project proposal. Such services/products could include the assistance in the preparation of documentation requested from banks when applying for a loan, the development of mentoring schemes, the development of guides as to how to prepare a business plan, etc. These new services/products are included in the present e-guide and can be found under section 2.3 entitled New service/product developed by Chamber partners. - E-guide Final task of the third working group was the preparation of the present electronic guide whose aim is to provide guidance to both existing entrepreneurs and aspiring entrepreneurs on the possibilities of access to finance and the various schemes offered in the working group member countries that are specifically targeted towards the female business and business-tobe community.
7 The results and outputs of the Access to Finance working group were: - Assistance to women who wish to become entrepreneurs - Increase in knowledge/ awareness on the availability of access to finance measures for female entrepreneurs - Development and enrichment of Chambers services/products in the field of financial services for female entrepreneurs and start-ups in general. The guide that follows will first outline the importance of the access to finance issue for female start-up entrepreneurs as well as existing entrepreneurs, highlighting the local situation and the main problems of access to finance faced by the female business community in each of the partners countries. It will then proceed to describe the various schemes available in the working group partner countries which are addressed to female entrepreneurs and concern access to finance. A description of the new services/products which the Chamber partners have developed in the frame of the On Board project for easing access to finance for female entrepreneurs is then included, while the final part of the guide comprises the overall conclusions and policy recommendations that have derived from the surveys and the work carried out by the Access to Finance working group of the On Board project. Important Disclaimer This guide is not intended to replace legal, accounting or other professional services or advice. The authors of this guide accept no liability even in the unlikely event that damage is directly or indirectly caused to any person or property as a result of using or relying on this guide.
8 2. ACCESS TO FINANCE 2.1. THE ISSUE OF ACCESS TO FINANCE The following statistical data was compiled from the findings of the surveys that took place during February and March 2007 in the 3 rd working group partner countries. Purpose of the surveys was to analyse and highlight the local situation and the main problems which female entrepreneurs face in relation to access to finance in each country. The analytical surveys of all partners can be found here, while a powerpoint presentation of the overall results can be found here. (Internet access necessary) IMPORTANCE OF ACCESS TO FINANCE Approximately 70% of the female entrepreneurs that took part in the survey stated that access to finance was important for their business at start up. Cypriot start ups had the highest percentage where 87.5% of the entrepreneurs either found the issue of access to finance important or very important at start up. Greece, the Czech Republic and Latvia followed with percentages between 70 and 80% (77.64%, 75% and 70% respectively). The Italian partners Rome and Tuscany survey results stood at 66.7% and 65.9% respectively. Finally Bulgaria had the lowest percentage where just below half the entrepreneurs - 48% - stated that the issue of finance was either important or very important for the start up of their enterprise. Importance of Access to Finance for Entrepreneurs at Start Up (important and very important) 100,00% 80,00% 60,00% 40,00% 20,00% 0,00% 87,50% 77,64% 65,90% 66,70% 75,00% 70,00% 48,00% Cyprus Greece Tuscany Rome Zlin Latvia Bulgaria Similarly access to finance is considered crucial at later stages of development of the female enterprises as the survey results have shown. The average score is approximately 76% with the percentages for Rome, Cyprus, Bulgaria, Greece and Latvia approaching or even exceeding 80%. Importance of Access to Finance for Entrepreneurs at Current Stage of Enterprise's Development (important and very important) 100% 80% 60% 80,00% 78,86% 64,80% 81,00% 72,00% 78,57% 80,00% 40% 20% 0% Cyprus Greece Tuscany Rome Zlin Latvia Bulgaria
9 For employees who are considering or would consider entrepreneurship, the issue of access to finance is important or very important in their final decision. On average approximately 88% of the women employees in the partner countries consider the issue of access to finance as important or very important in their final decision. Importance of Access to Finance for Employees who Consider Entrepreneurship (important and very important) Bulgaria Latvia Zlin Rome Tuscany Greece Cyprus 65,90% 77,30% 92,00% 93,75% 93,00% 95,56% 96,66% 0,00% 20,00% 40,00% 60,00% 80,00% 100,00% For the Cypriot, Greek, Latvian, Czech and Bulgarian employees who are considering entrepreneurship, the percentages were above 90%. For the Cypriots the percentages were staggering at just below 97% followed by the Greek employees at just below 96% and the Latvian and Czech respondents with approximately 94% and 93% respectively. For the Italian partners, Tuscany and Rome, the percentage of employees who consider the issue of access to finance as vital in their decision to become entrepreneurs was 65.9% and 77.3% respectively. Access to finance was also rated as a significant reason in their decision by the majority of female em0ployees who do not consider entrepreneurship as an option for them, with the average score standing at approximately 75% as the chart below demonstrates. Particularly high scores (over 90%) were recorded in Bulgaria, the Czech Republic and Cyprus. Importance of Access to Finance in Employee's Decision not to Follow Entrepreneurship (important and very important) Bulgaria Latvia Zlin Rome Tuscany Greece Cyprus 30,80% 44,11% 95,00% 93,00% 80,00% 88,88% 91,30% 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100%
10 MAIN OBSTACLES FACED BY FEMALE ENTREPRENEURS The most common obstacle faced by the female entrepreneurs is evidently raising capital. This has proved to be the case for all partners of the working group excluding the Czech Republic. The entrepreneurs from Cyprus (52%), Greece (55.69%), Tuscany (44.3%), Latvia (34.31%), Bulgaria (69%) and Rome (29%) stated that their main problem at start up was raising capital. Main Problems at Start Up 80% 70% 60% 50% 40% 30% 20% 10% 0% 69,00% 55,69% 52,00% 44,30% 34,31% 29,00% 26,00% Cyprus Greece Tuscany Latvia Bulgaria Rome Zlin Financial Questions (raising capital ) Finding the Right Contacts Most popular answer for the entrepreneurs from the Zlin region of the Czech Republic was that finding the right contacts for the business -26%- was the main obstacle at start up. The financial issue was the second most important obstacle at 23%. It was further established by the survey that the majority of access to finance problems are banking system related with Greece, Tuscany, Cyprus and Bulgaria recording scores around 70%. Nature of Access to Finance Problem 80% 70% 60% 50% 40% 30% 20% 10% 0% 69,23% 73,72% 70,60% 68,00% 48,00% 42,00% 38,89% Cyprus Greece Tuscany Rome Zlin Bulgaria Latvia Banking System Related Non- Availability of Public Funds
11 Finally, the survey has demonstrated that the nature of the banking system related problems was primarily the high cost of finance and the complicated / long winded procedures associated with securing finance from the banking system. The high cost of finance was particularly highly rated by Cyprus (68.18%), Greece (57.84%) and Bulgaria (47%) while the complicated / long winded procedures were particularly highly rated by Bulgaria (76%), Tuscany (41.7%), Greece (41.18%) and Latvia (39.29%). Nature of Banking System Related Problems 80% 60% 40% 20% 0% 68,18% 57,84% 47,00% 45,45% 33,30% 26,00% 15,00% High Cost of Finance Lack of Know ledge on how to Negotiate w ith Bank 51,96% 31,82% 17,86% Non-availability of Business Plan 76,00% 41,18% 41,70% 39,29% 29,00% 19,00% Complicated/ Longw inded Procedures 33,30% 32,14% 32,00% 25,00% 19,00% Lack of Guarantees Cyprus Greece Tuscany Rome Zlin Latvia Bulgaria SOURCES OF FINANCE AND ADVICE SOUGHT Averaging at approximately 61%, the female respondents amongst the six countries (7 regions) claimed Own Resources as the predominant source of finance at start-up. The highest results were evident in the case of the Bulgarian and Tuscan female entrepreneurs at 71%. Predominant Source of Finance at Start-up 80,00% 70,00% 60,00% 50,00% 40,00% 30,00% 20,00% 10,00% 0,00% 70,50% 71,00% 66,67% 61,79% 57,14% 49,00% 52,00% Cyprus Greece Tuscany Rome Zlin Latvia Bulgaria Own Resources High results were also evident in the Cyprus (66.67%), Greece (61.79%) and Latvia (57.14%) surveys. The Zlin region scored 52% and Rome 49%. The predominant source of advice for female start ups differs among the countries that took part in the survey. The Cypriot (42.22%) and Latvian (34.21%) new entrepreneurs relied primarily on advice from commercial banks. The Italian partners relied on the advice offered by consultants (Tuscany 34.1% and Rome 33%) whereas existing entrepreneurs was the Zlin start ups main source of advice (28%). Finally the Bulgarians relied on family and friends for
12 advice (52%) whereas the most frequent reply of the surveyed Greek women entrepreneurs to this question was nowhere with a percentage of 28.86%. Predominant Source of Advice at Start Up 60% 50% 40% 30% 20% 10% 0% 52,00% 42,22% 34,21% 34,10% 33,00% 28,00% 28,86% Cyprus Latvia Tuscany Rome Zlin Bulgaria Greece Commercial Banks Consultants Existing Entrepreneurs Friends and Family Now here 2.2 AVAILABLE SCHEMES IN PARTNERS COUNTRIES Schemes that facilitate access to finance for female entrepreneurs do exist, yet awareness and utilisation is minimal; this was one of the main results of the survey. To this extent, the present guide compiles a number of available schemes in the partner countries that female entrepreneurs can use in order to guide them in the field of access to finance. There are two categories of schemes in this guide; schemes that are tailor made- targeted exclusively to female entrepreneurs- and general schemes open to both male and female entrepreneurs. In order to distinguish between the two categories of available schemes, the exclusively female schemes are in blue colour BULGARIA I. Financing from commercial banks Almost all Bulgarian commercial banks offer loan facilities tailored to SMEs needs. Overall, loans are flexible and the approach is individual. Commercial banks lending is characterized according to the following criteria: Type of loan Business history Interest rate Terms and conditions Collateral/mortgage Repayment schedule Business plan
13 Type of loan. Banks provide a wide variety of loans depending on borrowers needs. In effect all banks provide the two main types of loans: operating loans (a.k.a. circulation credit) and investment loans. These two terms are widely used, but sometimes such loans are called advanced, operational, renewable, refinancing, servicing, etc. Business history. It is rather difficult to finance start-up enterprises with bank loans. The main reason is in the high share of small enterprises going bankrupt and in banks unwillingness to take high risks. Most banks require documents evidencing at least three months of business activity. Customers having no business history and economic activity are rarely financed. In such case, as well as in any other, detailed analysis is made of the business prospects and efficiency, of projected cash flows, and of collateral s value and liquidity, whereupon the loan s conditions and interest are carefully detailed depending on the level of risk. Interest rate. The interest rate represents the price of credit. It depends on a number of factors, the basic ones being customer s credit history with the bank, the purpose of financing, the term, the amount, the collateral options, the management skills, the business and sector prospects, as well as the currency of the loan. The interest is also influenced by whether the borrower makes use of other services provided by the bank, of services provided by other banks and, overall, whether the borrower is a wanted customer. Interest rates for customers with sound credit history of over 5 years are substantially lower because of the perceived lower risk of the customer. Terms and conditions. Terms and conditions involve a number of details some of which are very important. Loans from commercial banks go with many fees and commissions. They involve a single application fee. A loan-generation fee is payable upon loan s approval. Loan service fees are payable upon disbursement. Besides, additional penalty interest is charged for early repayment. Additional fees and/or commissions are charged for collateral assessment, which is made by either bank internal experts or by licensed external experts. Collateral. Collateral is an important element of loan s preconditions, which has substantial influence on the rate of interest. Banks vary in their collateral coverage requirements, but two basic rules dominate: the collateral should exceed 130 per cent of the loan amount and the loan amount is no more than 80 per cent of the collateral. A number of other factors may lower or increase collateral coverage requirements. Entrepreneur s collateral value projections and the expert assessment often differ substantially. The pledged collateral is entered in the Central Special Pledges Register. In addition, the collateralized property has to be insured in favor of the bank at the expense of the borrower and that has also to be accounted for, because it increases further the cost of credit. Repayment schedule. Almost all financial institutions offer flexible repayment plans. It should be noted, however, that flexibility is offered mainly to businesses with high cyclic recurrence of income like hotels and restaurants, and to the agricultural sector in the event of pronounced peak and trough seasons. Most banks follow the rule of double the cash flow to loan repayment installments. One should also differentiate between natural business seasonality and temporary financial problems, so that it is made clear in advance how flexible the repayment plan could be in the event of temporary financial problems. Business plan. The practice of requiring as necessary a developed business plan has become less frequent. It is compensated by the appointment of a business consultant who helps the company to prepare the necessary documents. The consultant also draws up in cooperation with the client a protocol of the actual condition of the business based on available
14 assets and profit prospects. Special attention is devoted to the business growth over time: growth guarantees that the business is really income-generating and profitable. A clear business strategy rather than a business plan is required for the financing of long-term assets. Special focus is placed on adapting the business to European requirements, on making the entrepreneur aware of the regulatory impact of accession on his or her business. II. Institutional and project financing of companies in Bulgaria A. Project for Creating Competitive Start-up Enterprises (Project 100) Creating Competitive Start-up Enterprises (Project 100) is an initiative of the Ministry of Economy and Energy launched in 2004 in cooperation with and assistance from United Nations Development Program (UNDP), and implemented through the network of business centers and business incubators of the JOBS project. Authority handling the scheme: Ministry of Economy and Energy, Directorate Enterprise Policy Contact details: Telephone number: , , Fax number ; ; Address Website: B. Opportunities through Business Support Project (JOBS). The project aims to foster a sustainable and competitive private sector by providing comprehensive and targeted assistance for the start up and development of micro and small enterprises in Bulgaria, in the sectors Production or Services, by enabling people with viable and promising business ideas to start up their own business. Priority is given to innovative ideas involving use of information technologies, electronic communications, development of new products and technologies, and projects with ecological focus. The project had an overall budget of BGN 2.1 m for 2004 and 2005 provided by the Ministry of Economy and Energy. Project-provided grant assistance is in the range of BGN BGN , including minimum 20 % cost-sharing input by the applicant. The project does not finance ideas in the area of trade and distribution; agriculture; finance and brokerage, gambling; insurance and advertising; transport; education and healthcare services; production of strong alcoholic beverages, tobacco goods and weapons; environmental polluting productions. Authority handling the scheme: Ministry of Economy and Energy, Directorate Enterprise Policy Contact details: Telephone number: , , Fax number ; ; Address Website:
15 C. National Innovation Fund Having in place a consistent policy encouraging innovation and implementation of incentives for private entrepreneurs to take higher risk and invest in market-oriented new products is a key factor for improving the competitiveness of Bulgarian enterprises. The Bulgarian industry can gain competitive advantage by creating, implementing and disseminating innovations. A competitive environment implies having in place flexible enterprises, easily adapting to market conditions and open to new products, with more efficient organization of production and new technologies. A National Innovation Fund is in place since It is an operational mechanism for generating entrepreneurial activity by supporting enterprises in the phases of designing, testing and development (or considerable improvement) of new products and technologies. The fundamental principles underpinning the developed financial scheme for support of innovative enterprises from the National Innovative Fund include: - Supporting enterprises through grant aid (subsidy); - Eligible to apply for subsidy shall be persons registered under the Commerce Act and implementing projects alone or in cooperation with other persons registered under the Commerce Act, higher education schools, BAS 1, scientific organizations or teams; - Eligible for subsidy shall be applied science research projects and feasibility-study type projects; - The maximum subsidy amount shall be up to BGN for applied science research projects with implementation period up to 3 years. Subsidized shall be 50 per cent of eligible costs of research and development activities under such projects, and 25 per cent of eligible costs of product development activities (i.e. activities which are closer to the market). Additional 10 per cent of subsidy shall be provided to project teams involving small and medium-sized enterprises. Additional 10 per cent of subsidy is also envisaged for scientific organizations; For feasibility-study type projects, eligible for subsidy are 25 per cent of actual costs, the maximum subsidy being up to BGN for projects with implementation period up to 1 year. The 2005 budget is BGN provided by the Ministry of Economy and Energy. The Executive Agency for Promotion of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (EAPSME) is responsible for the overall administration of the National Innovation Fund. Authority handling the scheme: Ministry of Economy and Energy, Directorate Enterprise Policy Bulgarian SME Promotion Agency Contact details: Telephone number: , Fax number Address: Website: and 1 BAS Bulgarian Academy of Sciences
16 D. The Union of Popular Funds Cooperative The Union of Popular Funds Cooperative was established in It comprises 22 credit cooperatives with total members across the country. Only cooperative members the owners of cooperative financial institutions that have invested in the organization, are allowed to make use of the services it provides, namely facilitated-access loans. The cooperatives have extended so far over loans. Organisation handling the scheme: The Union of Popular Funds Cooperative Contact details: Telephone number ( ) Fax number( ) Address: Website: E. Micro-fund JSC Micro- fund JSC supports enterprising Bulgarians by providing alternative financial and other services to micro- and small companies which have difficulties in raising funds for their business projects. The fund operates 10 branches and 7 offices in 215 municipalities. To date it has extended 3100 loans amounting to a total of over BGN 26 m. 40 per cent of its customers are women developing their own business; support has been provided to over 350 start-up companies. Organisation handling the scheme: Micro-fund JSC Contact details: Telephone number: , Fax number: Website: F. Nachala Cooperative Nachala Cooperative was registered in It has an operational mutual-aid fund supporting the business of its members by paying small short-term loans. Nachala s mission is to support small entrepreneurs, poor and unemployed Bulgarians towards improving their standard of living. Cooperative s strategic focus is on improving the opportunities for quality services to small entrepreneurs. To date, Nachala Cooperative has 11 regional offices, which span 88 per cent of Bulgaria s territory, targeting over 95 per cent in By end of March 2005 Nachala has extended loans amounting to over BGN 41 m; 43 per cent of loans have been extended to women.
17 Organisation handling the scheme: Nachala Cooperative Contact details:: Telephone number: , Fax number: Website: G. USTOI Joint-Stock Company USTOI Joint- Stock Company is a successor of the program with the same name started 7 years ago by the US development organization Catholic Relief Service. Since 1999 its activity is supported by USAID. To date, USTOI Program has extended over loans totaling over BGN 30 m to 4860 small Bulgarian entrepreneurs. The company has 15 offices in Bulgaria providing small entrepreneurs in urban and rural regions with quality financial. Organisation handling the scheme: USTOI Joint-Stock Company Contact details: Telephone number: (+359 2) , Fax number: (+359 2) Address: Website: H. The society FEDERATION of CMAACAPO The society FEDERATION of CMMACAPO is an organization for coordination and cooperation of the cooperatives of mutual-aid agricultural credit associations of private owners. The society provides all-round support as well as organizational, technical and financial services to its members, duly encouraging their development and organizing control over their compliance with the standards for their activity by including them in the Bulgarian and international system of financial institutions. The society is supported from MAF s Agricultural Capital Fund Scheme Project and from the EU. Its advisors are Credit Agricole, France, and the German Cooperative and Reiffeisen Union. Organisation handling the scheme: FEDERATION of CMAACAPO Contact details: Telephone number: , 2166; 2022, 2068; Address: Website:
18 I. Best young entrepreneur award The Bulgarian American Enterprise Fund to encourage the Bulgarians in the age between 18 and 29 years to develop their own business, created the award in In 2006 the awards were: - One first place - USD Two second places - USD each - Three third places - USD each In the last ten years more than young entrepreneurs took part in the seminars, organized in the whole country and about 1000 business plans had been discussed and evaluated. Each ear 6 7 cash awards are awarded and they amount to USD Till the present moment more than 2/3 of the awarded young entrepreneurs continue their business successfully. An international jury comprised of representatives of the business circles awards the young entrepreneurs in Bulgaria. Organisation handling the scheme: Bulgarian-American Enterprise Fund Contact details: Telephone number: (+359 2) Fax number: (+359 2) Address: Website: CYPRUS I. Cyprus Women s Co-operative Bank (Co-operative Organisation Cyprus Women Initiative Ltd) The world s first but also the world s only initiative of its kind, the Cyprus Women s Cooperative Bank has been operating in the Cypriot financial market since The Bank is a non-profit organisation founded by 350 women, the majority of whom are members of the Cyprus Federation of Business and Professional Women. The Bank is literally a unique organisation in the world of finance. It is the first and only institution of its kind to have been granted a full banking licence under the Co-operative regulations and this enables it to offer full financial services to its clientelle which is composed of both men and women. Even though there is not a single woman in the Boards of Cypriot banks or the Co-operative Movement, the Board of the Cyprus Women s Co-operative Bank is made up entirely of women. These women come from all sectors of economic activity and the academia and represent all the districts of Cyprus. The Bank has proved to be a success story all along. It started its operations with a share capital of CY (appr ) and in 2007 its share capital and reserves has reached CY (appr ). At the end of 2001 (after one year of operation) it had deposits valued at CY (appr ) and at the beginning of 2007 it boasted deposits of CY (appr ). Until the beginning of 2007 it had given out
19 loans totalling CY (appr ). The bank became profitable after two years of operation only! The main objective of the Bank is to support female entrepreneurship and particularly start up female businesses by providing easier access to finance. In this direction it offers loans with favourable terms: - lower interest than the market average - grace and longer periods for repayments than the market average - tailor made loan construction to meet the specific needs of the female entrepreneur and her start-up business - minimum guarantees - quick approval / issuance of the loan The Bank does not however restrict itself to the provision of start-up loans and the support, upgrade and development of female businesses. As already mentioned, it offers a full range of financial services to both men and women fully respecting the principle of equal opportunities. Furthermore it is involved in research, it provides financial advice and counselling, it cooperates with the government as well as with local and foreign financial institutions and participates in European programmes for the promotion of female entrepreneurship. It would of course be an omission if the Bank s involvement in the Female Entrepreneurship Scheme operated by the State was not mentioned. Under the Scheme, female start ups are provided with a state grant of up to 50% of the initial capital with a maximum of CY ( ). Founded in the town of Larnaca, the Bank has established in 2005 a representative office in the capital of Cyprus, Nicosia. All the transactions are made by a computerised system that is connected with the Central Co-op Bank of Cyprus. The Cyprus Women s Co-operative Bank is undoubtedly making a significant contribution to female entrepreneurship, particularly through easier access to finance and sets new strategic targets for the future. The vision is to expand beyond the boundaries of Cyprus when as from 2008 it will be allowed by E.U. Law (European Passport) to offer its services outside Cyprus as a qualifying co-operative credit institution. The intention is to find partners, primarily in other E.U. countries. Organisation handling the Scheme: Cyprus Women s Co-operative Bank Contact details: Mrs Artemis Toumazi, President and Chief Executive Officer Cyprus Women s Co-operative Bank 30, Pavlou Valdaseride Str., Shops Larnaka, Cyprus P.O.Box 42251, 6530 Larnaka, Cyprus Tel: /1/2 Fax: Website:
20 II. Female Entrepreneurship Scheme The Scheme which is operated by the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism and is cofinanced by the Structural Funds aims at the strengthening (development, support and promotion) of female entrepreneurship through the provision of a grant to female start up businesses. It addresses women between the ages of who want to engage in business activities in the sectors of manufacturing, commerce and tourism. The eligible women should not have been exercising any business activity before the submission of their application or in other words should have been either unemployed or employees or freelancers. The grant that is provided covers 50% of the cost of eligible expenditure (purchase of machinery/ equipment, set-up of premises, promotion) and the maximum amount is (CY ). More analytically, the activities that are covered are the manufacturing activities (with a maximum grant of ), e-commerce activities, selected service activities, agrotourism and provision of tourist services in traditional / listed buildings (with a maximum grant of ). Interested female would-be entrepreneurs can submit an application to the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism after the publication of a relevant call for proposals by the Ministry. The applications are then examined, evaluated and graded and the successful applicants are thus selected and provided with the grant in three instalments. The successful applicants are required to follow a series of training seminars on various business issues that are organised on an annual basis by the Human Resources Development Authority of Cyprus. The cost of these seminars is fully subsidised. Successful applicants need to furnish the remainder amount (i.e. the amount beyond the grant) through other sources, including bank loans. Any expenditure that is made before the pre-approval of the application is not considered eligible. Only one application per person is allowed to be submitted for each call for proposals, while successful applicants are not allowed to submit another application in subsequent calls for proposals. The budget that has been allocated to the Female Entrepreneurship Scheme for the period comes to 5 mln. Authority handling the Scheme: Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism Contact details: Mr Yiannis Kontos, Senior Commercial and Industrial Officer Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism 6, Andrea Araouzou Str., 1421 Nicosia, Cyprus Tel Fax website:
21 III. Youth Entrepreneurship Scheme The Scheme which is operated by the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism and is cofinanced by the Structural Funds aims at the strengthening (development, support and promotion) of entrepreneurship among young people (men and women) through the provision of a grant to them to start a new and viable SME. It addresses young people between the ages of who want to engage in business activities in the sectors of manufacturing, commerce and tourism. The eligible persons should not have been exercising any business activity before the submission of their application or in other words should have been either unemployed or employees or freelancers. The grant that is provided covers 50% of the cost of eligible expenditure (purchase of machinery / equipment, set-up of premises, promotion) and the maximum amount is (CY ). More analytically, the activities that are covered are the manufacturing activities (with a maximum grant of ), e-commerce activities, selected service activities, agrotourism and provision of tourist services in traditional / listed buildings (with a maximum grant of ). Interested young would be entrepreneurs can submit an application to the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism after the publication of a relevant call for proposals by the Ministry. The applications are then examined, evaluated and graded and the successful applicants are thus selected and provided with the grant in three instalments. The successful applicants are required to follow a series of training seminars on various business issues that are organised on an annual basis by the Human Resources Development Authority of Cyprus. The cost of these seminars is fully subsidised. Successful applicants need to finish the remainder amount (i.e. the amount beyond the grant) through other sources, including bank loans. Any expenditure that is made before the pre-approval of the application is not considered eligible. Only one application per person is allowed to be submitted for each call for proposals, while successful applicants are not allowed to submit another application in subsequent calls for proposals. The budget that has been allocated to the Youth Entrepreneurship Scheme for the period comes to 6 mln. Authority handling the Scheme: Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism Contact details: Mr Yiannis Kontos, Senior Commercial and Industrial Officer Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism 6, Andrea Araouzou Str., 1421 Nicosia, Cyprus Tel Fax website:
22 2.2.3 GREECE I. Female Entrepreneurship scheme The initiative falls within the Measure 2.8 of the Competitiveness Operational Program. The initiative s public expenditure is covered at 65% by the European Regional Development Fund (E.R.D.F.) and at 35% by the Greek Public Administration. The scheme aims at the development, support and promotion of the female entrepreneurship through financial support, for the creation of new and viable small and medium size businesses in the fields of manufacturing and rest eligible economic activities (e.g. services) with emphasis placed on the prefecture development and the local economy. There is special emphasis placed on the promotion of modern business activities, with the aim to create new dynamics, competitive businesses that can evolve. The funding of the approved proposals comes up to 50% of the total budget that has been approved. The total budget of the proposals cannot exceed the amount of EURO for manufacturing and 100,000 EURO for the rest of the chosen activities, having as the least amount for all the cases, the amount of EURO. De minimis rule is applied for this scheme meaning that funding under this rule should not exceed cumulatively the amount of EURO during the last three years per beneficiary. Organisation handling the scheme: Hellenic Organization of Small Medium Sized Enterprises & Handicraft S.A. Contact details: Address: 16, Xenias str., Athens Greece Name: Mr. Andrikopoulos Ioannis Tel.: , Fax: URL: II. Youth Entrepreneurship scheme The initiative falls within the Measure 2.8 of the Competitiveness Operational Program Third Community Support Framework. The initiative s public expenditure is covered at 65% by the European Regional Development Fund (E.R.D.F.) and at 35% by the Greek Public Administration. The scheme aims at the development, support and promotion of Entrepreneurship on behalf of young people (men or women) through financial support, for the creation of new and viable small and medium size businesses in the fields of manufacturing and the rest eligible economic activities (e.g. services) with emphasis placed on the prefecture development and the local economy.there is special emphasis placed on the promotion of modern business activities, with the aim to create new dynamics, competitive businesses that can evolve. The funding of the approved proposals comes up to 50% of the total budget that has been approved. The total budget of the proposals cannot exceed the amount of EURO for manufacturing and 100,000 EURO for the rest eligible economic activities, having as the least amount for all the cases, the amount of EURO.
23 De minimis rule is applied for this scheme meaning that funding under this rule should not exceed cumulatively the amount of EURO during the last three years per beneficiary. Organisation handling the scheme: Hellenic Organization of Small Medium Sized Enterprises & Handicraft S.A. Contact details: Address: 16, Xenias str., Athens Greece Name: Mr. Kotsis Panayiotis Tel.: , Tel.: Fax: URL: III. Credit Guarantee Fund for Small and Very Small Enterprises TEMPME has created 5 programs regarding short-term and/or medium-long term loans of operating or under establishment enterprises of any legal form (e.g. SA, Ltd, Individual). The guaranteed loans vary depending on the program from , whereas the guarantee rate varies from 45%-70% and the annual guarantee fee approximates on average 1% of the outstanding loan. ΤΕΜPΜΕ 1: Guarantee funds for the establishment or the development of new small-sized enterprises ΤΕΜPΜΕ 2: Guarantee funds for very small enterprises ΤΕΜPΜΕ 3: Guarantee funds for small enterprises ΤΕΜPΜΕ 4: Micro loans guarantee funds for very small-sized enterprises ΤΕΜPΜΕ 5: Guarantee funds for mergers, acquisitions or transfers of small enterprise Medium-long term loans of a minimum maturity of 3 years for Programs 1, 2, 3 and a minimum maturity of 1,5 years for Program 4, benefit from a counter-guarantee issued by the European Investment Fund under the European Community's Multiannual Programme for Enterprise and Entrepreneurship and, in particular, for Small and Medium sized Enterprises (SMEs) ( ). Organisation handling the scheme: Credit Guarantee Fund for Small and Very Small Enterprises (TEMPME S.A.) Contact details: Address: 26 Amalias Ave. 3rd floor, Athens Greece Directorate of Credit Guarantee and Risk Fund Tel.: Fax: URL:
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1 Avon is one of the world's largest direct sellers 2 Avon s History In 1886, David H. McConnell, a door to door salesman discovered that people were more interested in his incentive free samples of perfumes
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