Frequently asked questions

How to find more information about BiH-SME-CSF?

Here you will find answers to a wide range of questions that are frequently raised in connection with the Facility. If you cannot find an answer to your question here, please contact us on the number listed on the left or contact the BiH-SME-CSF team.

What is the objective of BiH-SME-CSF?

BiH-SME-CSF aims to increase the capability of SMEs in BiH to access markets and face competition by improving standards in the areas of environmental protection, occupational health and safety and product quality and safety using the financial intermediation model.

Does my company qualify as a small or medium-sized enterprise (SME)?

The first step to qualify as an SME is to be considered as an enterprise. According to the new definition, an enterprise is ‘any entity engaged in an economic activity, irrespective of its legal form’. The wording is not new. It reflects the terminology used by the European Court of Justice in its decisions. By being formally included in the recommendation, the scope of the new SME definition is now clearly marked out. Thus, the self-employed, family firms, partnerships and associations regularly engaged in an economic activity may be considered as enterprises. It is the economic activity that is the determining factor, not the legal form.
The second step is to meet the definition of SME according to the European Union. The criteria are explained below and here you can find the definition of SME.

What are the eligibility criteria for Sub-borrowers?

  • Privately owned enterprises which comply with definition of SME, basically (but other definitions may apply):
    • Headcount < 250 employees
    • Turnover ≤ € 50 million
    • Balance sheet total ≤ € 43 million
  • all SMEs are eligible to participate, however SMEs operating in the industrial and industrial-related services sectors are expected to be the main category of beneficiaries
  • Subject to credit approval in line with the Participating Bank’s credit process
  • General EU/EBRD restrictions apply: No gambling, real estate, banking, insurance or the manufacture and trade in arms, hard liquor, etc. Find more here. 

What are the thresholds referring to size according to the SME definition?

Once you have verified that you are an enterprise, you have to establish the data of your enterprise according to the following three criteria:

  • staff headcount
  • annual turnover,
  • annual balance sheet.

Comparing your data with the thresholds for the three criteria will allow you to determine whether you are a micro, small or medium-sized enterprise:


What else do I have to take into account when calculating my data?

To work out your individual status, you will have to establish whether your enterprise is autonomous– by far the most common category – a partner or linked. To do this, you must take account of any relationships you have with other enterprises. Depending on the category in which your enterprise fits, you may then need to add some, or all, of the data from those enterprises to your own. The calculations for each of the three types of enterprise are different and will ultimately determine whether you meet the various ceilings established in the SME definition. The precise description of the SME definition and a useful guideline for determining and declaring SME status can be found under definition of SME.

What are the eligibility criteria for Investments?

  • Capital investments in industrial premises, equipment, machinery, software, enterprise management systems and general upgrading designed to improve compliance with one or more of the EU Directives in the field of environmental protection, workers' safety and product quality and safety, as listed in the Priority EU Directives, applicable to the relevant Sub-borrower; or with an EU Directive (other than a Priority EU Directive) which the PC has confirmed the Sub-borrower should comply with.
  • Aimed at improving production quality and efficiency, environmental protection or occupational health & safety
  • No working capital finance, no operation cost financing (except those relevant to investment project)
  • No re-financing of past investments
  • No purchase, rent or leasing of land and existing buildings;
  • No purchase or leasing of passenger motor vehicles.

What is the maximum loan amount?

Sub-loan sizes up to 1 million Euro per company (excluding incentive payment). There is no minimum loan size determined unless the PB introduces such a minimum. More then one project per company can be applied for under the company limit of 1 million Euro.

What are the Financial Incentives for SME?

Each loan has a grant component of 15% for successfully implemented and verified projects.

Who are the Partner Banks

The Partner Banks are: Sparkasse, UniCredit Bank Banja Luka and Intesa Sanpaolo Banka Bosnia and Herzegovina

In what currency are the loans made?

The currency of the loan could be in Euro or in local currency, it will be decided case by case by the Partner Bank.

What is the loan maturity?

Tenor of the Sub-Loans and other terms and conditions of the Sub-Loans will be at the discretion of the Partner Banks. Eligible investments shall be financed by Sub-Loans having a minimum maturity of 18 months.

What is the Engagement Letter?

The Engagement Letter is a declaration by the sub-borrower that releases the EBRD from any liability in relation to the loan or the services provided through BiH-SME-CSF. The Engagement Letter is a prerequisite for the Project Consultant to perform the required project preparation documentation or to take any further action.

The Consultant shall not commence the work with the prospective sub-borrower, until an Engagement Letter is received from the prospective sub-borrower indemnifying and holding the EBRD harmless against any losses, claims, damages or liabilities to which the EBRD may become subject in or as result of providing the services. In addition, the Engagement Letter includes a declaration from the SME confirming that no additional EU funded grant assistance has been received or will be claimed for the same investment.

What is the Compliance Audit?

Compliance audit is a report assessing current level of company’s compliance with relevant regulations and permits, both BiH and EU.

What is the Alignment Plan?

Alignment Plan is a report that summarizes steps needed to be undertaken so the company meets relevant BiH and EU regulations.

Developed by

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Funded by

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Implemented by

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Partner banks

Copyright © 2016 BiH-SME-CSF

This document has been produced with the financial assistance of the European Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance. The views expressed herein are those of the Consultant and can therefore in no way be taken to reflect the official opinion of the European Union.