By Olga Aristeidou
The EBRD is strengthening its outreach in Greece with the opening of an office in Thessaloniki, the country’s second largest city, which will focus on the support of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
Located in northern Greece on the Aegean Sea, Thessaloniki is the second most important economic, commercial and political centre of the country. It is also a major transportation hub for Greece and the Balkans, notably through the port of Thessaloniki.
The EBRD Thessaloniki team will be working primarily on support for small businesses, building on the success of its Advice for Small Business programme, funded by the European Union through the European Investment Advisory Hub of the EIB and the government of Greece, which has already delivered over 40 advisory projects for Greek SMEs.
The new EBRD office in Greece was opened today, September 10, by EBRD President Sir Suma Chakrabarti in the presence of the Mayor of Thessaloniki, Konstantinos Zervas, the Vice Governor of Central Macedonia, Voula Patoulidou, the President of the Federation of Industries of Greece, Athanasios Savvakis, the EIB Senior Advisor, Eleni Gioti, the EBRD Managing Director, for Central and South Eastern Europe, Charlotte Ruhe, the EBRD Managing Director for SME Finance and Development, Claudio Viezzoli, and the EBRD Regional Director, Head of Greece and Cyprus, Sabina Dziurman.
EBRD President Chakrabarti said: “The opening of our new office in Thessaloniki confirms our commitment to Greece. This step will help the EBRD scale up its delivery of expertise and knowledge. From this strategic location, we will be able to support even more small and medium-sized enterprises that are so crucial for the Greek economy.”
EIB Senior Advisor, Eleni Gioti, said: “In the EBRD we found a partner with a proven track record and well-established delivery framework. We wish EBRD and the new office to continue with successful operations in supporting small business. It is clear that SMEs are key to promoting growth and jobs in the European economy.”
The EBRD has been investing in Greece since 2015 and has funded 49 projects, all in the private sector, for a total of over €2.8 billion(US$3.09billion).