The ProCredit group brought together SMEs from South East and Eastern Europe for a B2B event in Thessaloniki. The event was occasioned by the start of ProCredit Bank Bulgaria’s operations in Greece, where the bank opened a branch in Thessaloniki in November 2015. The Thessaloniki branch complements the strong regional presence of the ProCredit group in the Balkan countries. The ProCredit group of banks, which focuses on SMEs, is also present in the region in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Kosovo, Macedonia and Romania, as well as in the CIS countries Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine. The bank is also represented in Germany. “We at ProCredit are convinced that there is huge potential for business synergies across the region, and we are committed to creating opportunities for you to build and strengthen your international business relationships. We very much hope that you will come away from this event feeling inspired and optimistic, with new ideas to put into practice, and new partners to help you achieve your goals.” With these words, Borislav Kostadinov,Member of the Management Board of ProCredit Holding, opened the event.
A positive signal for the Greek economy was the signing of the new agreement between the EIF and ProCredit. Under the agreement, the ProCredit group will provide EUR 20 million in loans to small and medium-sized innovative enterprises (SMEs) and small mid-caps in Greece over the next two years. The Final Recipient Transaction is supported by the InnovFin SME Guarantee Facility, with the financial backing of the European Union under Horizon 2020 Financial Instruments and the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), set up under the Investment Plan for Europe.
Speaking at the signing event, European Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos, responsible for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship, said: “I am honoured to be here in Thessaloniki to witness the signing of the first EFSI deal in Greece. Small companies in Greece are in great need of financing to grow their businesses and create jobs. The agreement signed today by the EIF and ProCredit will help Greek SMEs access new financing with the support of the Investment Plan.
At the event, 92 companies, clients of ProCredit Bank Bulgaria, and another 90 companies invited by the branch in Greece, had the opportunity to introduce themselves, make connections with other companies, share their experiences and obtain a better overview of the possibilities for establishing international business relationships. “Thank you for the invitation and the excellent event held in Thessaloniki. The approach and organisation of ProCredit Bank was really a pleasant surprise for me. Of the six meetings planned, four took place with companies from Albania, Greece, Georgia and Macedonia. During the afternoon meetings, I had the opportunity to meet representatives of several Bulgarian commercial companies who areinterested in our services. I also met our long-standing client and partner who was pleasantly surprised to see me at this forum,” said Nikolay Karaivanov, manager of the company ESALOG Bulgaria OOD and representative of one of the 500 companies from Eastern and South Eastern Europe. The meetings held by all the companies in attendance totaled 3,500.
During the second part of the event, ProCredit’s modern approach to banking was presented. Besides the notion of “green finance” at ProCredit, the other aspects presented were the basic principles in the policy and personnel management, as well as the programmes offered for employees aimed at their professional development. The participants were offered the possibility to visit the newly-opened modern Thessaloniki Branch with its 24/7 self-service zone, equipped with the latest banking machines. “I am impressed by the ProCredit Bank business approach, which entails involving and entering new markets. The meetings at the event were arranged between companies invited by the bank that had been carefully analysed in advance. This means that future collaborations which will need financing are realistic,” Ivan Popov, manager of Digital Transmission Systems OOD, stated at the end of the event.