Irwin Grayson Associates
Policy: South east Europe

Financing entrepreneurship at the regional and local level in south east Europe

The OECD LEED programme held a seminar in Bulgaria in 2005 to review ways of financing small and medium enterprises. This was one of a series of seminars intended to review a range of activities intended to promote entrepreneurship in south east Europe. The results of the seminars were published in 2007 in "Promoting Entrepreneurship in South East Europe: Policies and tools".

David Irwin was asked both to make a presentation at the seminar on financing entrepreneurship and to act as rapporteur. The eventual result was this paper, originally written in 2005, which reviews chanisms for financing entrepreneurship and new, emerging businesses at the regional and local level and assesses the current position in SEE countries. Transitional economies have acknowledged that SMEs are crucial for industrial restructuring and have formulated national SME development policies and programmes. The growth of SMEs in the region suggests that there is significant potential for further expansion. This can only happen if it becomes easier for entrepreneurs to raise the finance that they need. The chapter highlights the need for work in three key areas: firstly, on the demand side, by building the capacity of entrepreneurs to manage their businesses effectively so that they can secure credit more easily; secondly, on the supply side, by combining new instruments and more enlightened banks; and, thirdly, through mediation, by matching supply and demand with good business support agencies, business angel networks and regional stock exchanges, for example.