Over the past two decades, countries of Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union have undergone a sea change as they adopt democratic principles and implement policies and practices to grow their economies. This is true for both North Macedonia and Georgia. But challenges of poverty and unemployment remain for individuals and for businesses who are critical to achieving inclusive, sustainable, and resilient economic growth and employment. Lack of access to finance and capital investment for the private sector, especially for small businesses, has been a barrier to growth.
Both countries are on a course to strengthen the finance and business services ecosystems for small and medium sized enterprises. Two new USAID-funded projects – Georgia Financial Innovation Program and North Macedonia Private Sector Led Growth, Resilience and Response Activity – each promise to strengthen the burgeoning private sector and drive economic growth. With stronger business services, access to investors and an improved regulatory environment, these countries will be poised to sustain a vibrant economic environment and increase job opportunities for their citizens.
“USAID’s faith in Palladium to take on these projects is a result of our 15 years of success in North Macedonia and the lasting impact of our finance and investment projects in other emerging markets,” explains Ricardo Michel, Palladium Senior Managing Partner. “For the first time in Georgia, Palladium will be applying our capacity strengthening and innovative models for private sector engagement to address unique needs in the country and the region.”
In North Macedonia, Palladium will put private sector actors firmly in the driver’s seat, empowering them to design, own, and drive economic growth to improve small-business readiness for investment. Palladium will also continue to expand and innovate its pay for results approach that has helped to mobilize more than $307 million in investment over the past decade, while creating a more dynamic market for business and financial advisory services.
These projects will strengthen public-private sector dialogue and improve policies that support North Macedonian business to expand and gain entry in markets across the Western Balkans region.
“Palladium is grateful to USAID for the opportunity to work with North Macedonian and Georgian partners in strengthening the business and financing ecosystems that catalyse inclusive and enduring growth and jobs,” says Eduardo Tugendhat, Palladium Acting Managing Partner and a recognised leader in inclusive growth.
In Georgia, the team will focus on strengthening the regulatory environment for financial markets and guide finance providers to better tailor their services to Georgian start-ups and small businesses. “Georgia is a magnet for world-class talent and innovation in the region. Palladium is excited to tap into these resources to drive financial innovation and economic growth for all Georgians,” adds Michel.
Palladium and its local partners, Policy Management and Consulting Group and Galt & Taggart, will also help entrepreneurs gain access to them through a network of professional financial transaction advisors.
Both projects come during a time of regional economic and political insecurity in Europe. With an improved environment for investment, business growth, and employment, Palladium envisions increased stability to allow Georgian and North Macedonian entrepreneurs to thrive.
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