• Empowering Entrepreneurs

The Development Facility: maximising EFSE's impact

The EFSE Development Facility provides customised technical assistance, training, and other support to institutions, organisations, and individuals across the financial sector and the wider ecosystem. By expanding capacities, opening up access to resources, promoting best practices for sustainable finance, and more, the Development Facility multiplies the impact and outreach of the fund, creating the conditions for sustainable entrepreneurship to thrive.

Facts & Figures

Key figures since the inception of the Development Facility in 2006


number of projects


total project volume


institutions served


direct beneficiaries of technical assistance

A group of young entrepreneurs sit around a table and talk animatedly
Strengthening economic infrastructure

How The Development Facility Works

Whether by developing training workshops, holding awareness-raising events, or conducting impact studies, the EFSE Development Facility is active across the financial ecosystem.

Through our Entrepreneurship Academy, we support startups from conception all the way to the growth stage. Moreover, we foster sustainable and responsible financing for micro and small enterprises with projects covering a wide range of relevant topics.

The Development Facility works closely with the fund’s investees to proactively identify their capacity building needs and develop a customized technical assistance package together. We also conduct impact studies to assess the market and measure the fund’s progress toward our impact goals. And we hold high-level forums to bring together key sector players to discuss best practices in, for example, local currency financing.

The EFSE Entrepreneurship Academy

Strengthening the financial and business infrastructure for micro and small enterprises and entrepreneurs across the EFSE region

The EFSE Entrepreneurship Academy is an initiative of the Development Facility that provides direct support to small businesses throughout Southeast Europe and the EU Eastern Neighbourhood Region. We work together with on-the-ground organisations, such as local incubators and accelerators, to supply entrepreneurs with training, resources, mentoring, networking opportunities, the chance to receive financial backing, and more. In this way, the EFSE Entrepreneurship Academy provides the self-employed with essential tools for success – in the spirit of EFSE as “The Entrepreneurship Fund”.

Facts & Figures

Key figures since the inception of the Entrepreneurship Academy in 2016


hours of mentorship support


partnerships with ecosystem players established


financial sector and ecosystem staff trained


micro and small enterprises that received non-financial support through central banks and partner lending institutions

Entrepreneurship Academy project examples

  • Startups graduate from acceleration program, pitch ideas to raise seed capital

    Supported by the EFSE Entrepreneurship Academy under the EU4Business initiative, the Armenia Startup Academy held an online demo day for 15 startups who had completed its 12-week pre-acceleration program. The program prepares local tech startups to raise pre-seed capital and enter leading regional and global accelerators. The cohort includes a range of fledgling companies from diverse industries; nearly 40% are led by female founders.

  • Creating a financial education programme for entrepreneurs in Georgia

    As part of the country’s “Year of Financial Literacy,” the National Bank of Georgia partnered with the EFSE Entrepreneurship Academy to develop a financial education program for micro and small enterprises. Participants gained essential knowledge and skills for making sound financial decisions based on their own business needs and capacities. They also learned about the sources of business finance, relevant financial services, and approaches and indicators used for business assessment.

  • Training academy for entrepreneurs in Bosnia and Herzegovina

    The EFSE Entrepreneurship Academy and NLB Banka Sarajevo partnered on an entrepreneur training academy that aimed to boost business growth and job security in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The program was geared toward established micro and small enterprises in need of professional business development and consulting services. Workshops were also offered to the bank’s relationship managers to hone their ability to meet the specific needs of MSEs.

  • Piloting recoverable grants to provide entrepreneurs with access to capital

    The EFSE Entrepreneurship Academy worked together with Mozaik, an incubation and acceleration organisation, to introduce recoverable grants as a risk-tolerant and inexpensive instrument for providing early-stage funding for impact business growth. Ten social enterprises affected by the COVID-19 crisis received support to adapt their business models. Recoverable grants are paid back without interest as a means to support future generations of entrepreneurs.

Two young men and two young women sitting in a row and laughing
Multiplying outreach

Fintech & Digitalisation

The EFSE DF contributes to inclusive finance by supporting its partner lending institutions in their digitalisation journey and in the integration of digital technologies to increase their competitiveness, operational efficiency, and capacity to serve clients, while ensuring responsible data management.
The EFSE DF cooperates with regulators to develop innovation hubs and test innovative approaches, such as regulatory sandboxes to foster the advancement of financial technology.
Moreover, the EFSE DF supports ecosystem development to foster fintech startups that have the potential to expand access to finance for underserved groups. Fintechs are integral to the rise of exciting innovations within the financial sector.

The EFSE Development Facility supports these fintechs with:

  • Gaining visibility and contacts among investors
  • Networking with business partners and financial institutions
  •  Accessing valuable training

The EFSE Development Facility offers financial support for trainings, exposure visits, or consultancy to help improve business operations, build capacities, and access business opportunities whilst continuing to focus on financial inclusion within underserved markets.

Sustainable and responsible finance for micro and small enterprises

Building an ecosystem where entrepreneurs can thrive means fostering practices and innovations that address their needs. It also means helping local financial institutions stay abreast of market developments and fine-tune their operations. The EFSE Development Facility’s approach therefore encompasses the following topics:


  • Capacity building of MSEs and Partner Lending Institutions

    The EFSE DF supports access to finance and financial literacy for micro and small enterprises through the fund’s partner lending institutions. For instance, dedicated projects on digitalisation and automation of lending processesimprove operational efficiency, transparency, information sharing, and stronger networking. This results in inclusive, cost-effective services. Moreover, the EFSE DF, in partnership with central banks, continuously supports financial literacy and fintech trainings for entrepreneurs.

  • Advancing agricultural finance and lending

    The EFSE Development Facility assisted a partner bank in conducting a market potential analysis for agricultural sub-sectors, focussing on value chain analysis, business concept, and tailored demand for finance. The project included implementing micro and small enterprise lending processes and developing credit products for micro and small enterprises in the agricultural sector.

  • Agricultural know-how for clients and loan officers

    The EFSE Development Facility supported a partner bank in increasing financial literacy, agricultural know-how, and productivity among agricultural producers and farmers. Bank clients learned about topics such as productivity in cattle breeding, feeding techniques, dairy production, crop selection, and soil type, as well as legal matters in farming. The bank’s loan officers participated in webinars on the agricultural sector to better understand the market and the needs of its agricultural clients.

  • Power of Local Currency campaign

    EFSE officially launched its “Power of Local Currency” campaign with an event drawing representatives of financial institutions, regulating bodies, investors, and other key financial sector players to discuss challenges, exchange experiences, and share best practices in providing financing in local currency. The Power of Local Currency campaign aims to increase the availability of local currency financing in the Eastern Neighbourhood region and spread awareness of this practice as a key element of sustainable economic growth. The campaign brings together international stakeholders to exchange on expanding capacities and partnerships to drive local currency lending in their financial markets.


The EFSE Development Facility is supported by generous contributions from donors committed to the fund’s impact objective as well as by income from EFSE itself. Institutions receiving technical assistance are required to contribute a cost share for the projects, and other partners often also share a portion of the costs, thereby leveraging the capacity of the Development Facility.


Get in touch

Interested in learning more about how the fund works, or seeking partnership opportunities? Contact an EFSE representative today.


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