The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the Raiffeisenbank Austria (RBA) on Friday signed an agreement on a credit line for women in business, whereby the EBRD will provide the RBA with a EUR 20 million loan for lending to small and medium-sized businesses.

A quarter of that amount will be exclusively designated for companies run by female entrepreneurs in Croatia.

The purpose of this credit line is to encourage women to participate in the local economy and to create conditions favourable for businesses run by women, the head of the EBRD Croatia office, Vedrana Jelusic Kasic, said at the "Deloitte SheXO Club" conference in Zagreb.

According to Jelusic Kasic, the purpose of this scheme is to encompass at least 200 Croatian businesswomen, and to make sure that 160-200 women have access to consulting services.

She noted that women had a great potential, and corroborated this statement by statistics showing that during the 2008-2011 crisis in Great Britain, female entrepreneurs accounted for 80% of new self-employed persons.

Also, survey findings show that women are more co-operative with research institutions and start their businesses with funds a third lower than funds needed by men to start their businesses, she added.

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