Supporting small business and innovative entrepreneurs

Supporting small business and innovative entrepreneurs

Lili Dopidze

Lili Dopidze

Chevening Alumna

I spent 4 months with SME Finance and Development Team at EBRD and was working on the Star Venture Programme that supports innovative entrepreneurs on their work to create social and economic change.

Small Business as the heart of the EBRD’s mandate

As an International Financial Institution, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is committed to supporting progress towards’ market-oriented economies and promoting the private and entrepreneurial initiatives.

With the belief that a vibrant small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) sector is crucial for the strong market economy, the EBRD provides loans and investment through financial institutions and risk-sharing facilities, as well as, direct finance to small businesses.

Lili Dopidze in the City of London

Besides, it promotes the favourable business environment for SMEs with specific policy actions and provides advisory, mentoring activities to create know-how.

The EBRD is active in nearly 40 countries from central Europe to central Asia and the southern and eastern Mediterranean, plus the West Bank and Gaza.

Creating a vibrant start-up ecosystem and providing opportunities for innovative enterprises

Over 25 years of working experience with SMEs has been implicated to boost the start-up ecosystem across the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean (SEMED) and Western Balkans regions through the EBRD Start Venture Programme. The programme supports start-ups, scale-ups, accelerators in a range of different ways helping them achieve their full potential, whether that’s becoming the leading gamechanger or changemaker in a sustainable way.

The programme provides advisory services and industry best practices to start-ups with technical assistance and access to finance through the network of investors. As well as, delivers capacity building for the local actors to ensure proper entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Being part of the team was the chance to share the EBRD’s culture and values, improve my understanding of business development from the global perspectives and utilise the knowledge to contribute to these developments.

As a part of the multicultural team, I was supporting the coordination of the programme to the targeted regions, working on the new initiatives, contributing research, bench-marking analysis and Business Development and Matching (BDM) activities.

It has been a tremendous experience to work with a diverse team of professionals who are so passionate about their work. As well as, to practise how collaboration creates opportunities and the cohorts of our start-ups are great examples of it.

A bus travels through the City of London

These nice blends of experience and the international network I gained,  gave me the truly global world view and adding up my passion for the SMEs, Start-ups and in general, information economy.

Finally, working in the City is inspiring in its way, and the proof is in the pudding when you walk in the bustling and charming streets full of small details that make it very unique. Add in diverse, unexpected and welcoming public art, including my favourite “all-encompassing love personified” Broadgate Venus by Fernando Botero.

I remember the very first note from the team lead – “I want you to enjoy and have the best of your time here at EBRD” and so I did and I am grateful of it, enjoyed the process of doing the job I am passionate about.