The availability of risk capital finance to early-stage businesses in the SEE (South-East European) region is the central interest of this report. The report BRIDGING THE GAP - Access to Risk Finance for Early-Stage SMEs in Southeast Europe discusses the current situation with risk capital in the region, tries to identify the major reasons for such situation, and attempts to offer recommendations for promoting access to risk finance for SMEs in the region. In doing so, frequent references and comparisons are made to the situation in the European Union (EU) as a desired final destination of all the countries in the SEE region.
The report is based on the results of an Investment Readiness Survey conducted in 2009 and further research on start-up's investment related needs in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Serbia, Montenegro, Bosnia, Kosovo, Romania, Armenia and Bulgaria. The project aims to support the creation of a regional Business Angel Network. The research work was conducted by YES Foundation (Skopje/Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia) in in cooperation with the Dutch Foundation SPARK and supported by the SENSI and ECAbit networks.
The report draws extensively on statistical data on SMEs, and in particular access to finance for SMEs, from relevant large-scale surveys commissioned and conducted by relevant institutions. It then combines these data with material from qualitative interviews conducted with key respondents from the SEE region, and a survey of small business owners and managers.