OSH, KYRGYZ — Biscuit and cake producer Shirin-Sulaiman in Osh, Kyrgyz, is the latest company to benefit from co-financing support from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), the bank said on April 2.

The EBRD partners with local banks to share the risk in lending to such companies, making the loans more attractive to borrowers.

The Kyrgyz Investment and Credit Bank (KICB) and the EBRD are providing the total financing package of $1 million to Shirin-Sulaiman. The company, founded in 2004, is a leading local player in the biscuit sector with a 30% market share in the Osh and Jalalabad regions. Most of the staff is women from the area.

Shirin-Sulaiman will use the money to modernize its production facilities, improving health and safety standards.

Since autumn 2014, Shirin-Sulaiman has been working with the EBRD’s Small Business Support (SBS) team. The donor-supported SBS program, which promotes good management through advice and consultations for local businesses, is helping Shirin-Sulaiman to streamline its accounting systems for the regional branches of its pastry and confectionery business.

EBRD financing is secured by the first-loss guarantee mechanism of the European Union’s Investment Facility for Central Asia (IFCA) SME Finance Facility.

To date, the EBRD has invested about €572 million in the Kyrgyz economy. Supporting SMEs and deepening presence in the regions are among key priorities for the EBRD in the Kyrgyz Republic, according to the new country strategy approved in February.