Erste Bank has approved over five million euros for more than 500 business starters

Over 70 per cent of business starters have succeeded in preserving their jobs, and even 48 per cent have created new ones, according to the latest research by Erste Bank and Erste Group, based on the Social Banking Impact Assessment Report. Thanks to the efforts of Erste Bank’s Social Banking Department from 2017 to the end of 2023, over 500 business starters in Serbia received support amounting to 5.2 million euros.

During 2023, Erste Bank’s social banking provided financial support to business starters in the form of 87 loans totalling nearly 900,000 EUR. Significant steps were taken to improve products and services for business starters. Foundations were laid for further improvements, both in financial and non-financial support, through the education of 450 clients on topics of financial literacy, business sustainability, sales improvement, and marketing.

“Erste Bank, as a leader in supporting business starters, through its engagement in social banking, has contributed to the development of sustainable business models and strengthening the entrepreneurial climate in this region. The results we have obtained through internal research show that our support results in a significant increase in the number of preserved jobs and the creation of new business opportunities. Of course, we continue in the same direction – to continuously develop new product lines and services, to respond more effectively to the needs of our clients and the community, thereby continuing to provide sustainable support for economic development,” said Ivan Radojevic, Head of the Social Banking Department at Erste Bank.

Erste Bank’s commitment to supporting business starters is also confirmed by good results from a telephone survey conducted on a representative sample of 67 financed clients. Over 81 per cent of surveyed business starters stated that their economic situation improved thanks to cooperation with the bank. Nearly a third of the business starters would not have been able to start or expand their business without such support, and as many as 86 per cent of business starters confirmed that they made the right decision when they started their business.

During 2024, Erste Bank plans to support business starters by organizing over 120 mentoring sessions and five business trainings and aims to provide financial support to at least 100 clients.

In the past year, Erste Group provided 125.5 million for financing and supported approximately 6400 business starters, micro-enterprises, and non-profit organizations in Austria and Central and Eastern Europe. Since its launch in 2016, Erste Group’s social banking has provided financial support in the form of loans totalling about 600 million euros to nearly 50,000 clients.

Since 2016, Erste Group’s social banking has helped preserve existing jobs and create new jobs for 100,000 people. Nearly two-thirds of these jobs are held by women, while 30 per cent of the total number of jobs are for marginalized social groups. Through its social banking programs, Erste Group aims to support the creation and retention of 200,000 jobs and provide support of up to one billion euros by 2030.

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