Bulgarian family business reaps rewards of EU-backed loan Published on: 21/08/2017
Shortly after the fall of communism, Ivan Ivanov found himself without a job. At a time when the first private businesses were emerging, Ivan decided to take a leap of faith and launched his own firm.
Financial intermediary: CIBANK
SME: The Ivanov Company
Financing purpose: to renovate facilities, purchase new equipment and expand business
Ivan's business was initially centred on export and import, but in 1992 he took on farming and renting out warehouses in Ruse, a town on the Danube. With the help of both of his children and funds provided by CIBANK under the European Union’s COSME programme, Ivan runs a thriving agricultural firm.
Ivan's love for agriculture dates back to his childhood when he spent every summer helping out with farming. He said: 'I grew up in a village and we often went to sow or harvest the crop.'
The Ivanov Company tends to a total of 1,600 hectares of land – with crops including rapeseed, wheat, sunflower, corn and barley – and rents out 20,000 square metres of storage and warehouse facilities.
To help expand their business, the company has taken out two loans with a combined value of €300,000 since the end of 2015. Provided by CIBANK under the COSME programme, the extra money allowed the Ivanov Company to buy a new tractor and to renovate its crop storage facilities.
In October 2015, the European Investment Fund (EIF) and CIBANK signed the first contract under the COSME programme in Bulgaria, funded by the European Fund for Strategic Investments. It allowed the bank to provide over 1,000 loans for small and medium-sized enterprises. In June 2017, a new agreement was signed for an additional 200 million lev of lending.
Under the COSME programme, with the financial backing of the European Union, small and medium companies can apply for low-interest loans to expand their production, create more jobs and modernise equipment.
'Small and medium companies have easier access to funds with more favourable conditions and at no extra cost,' said Kiril Velitchkov, manager of European projects and financial institutions at CIBANK. 'The funds have helped hundreds of Bulgarian firms develop their businesses and be more competitive.'
Businesses can contact selected financial institutions in their country to access EU financing through our access to finance website.