The Danube Strategy aims at including people and organisations to work together towards a better quality of life in the Danube Region. At the same time, one of the key tasks for cooperation is to find suitable funding. Hence, the Danube Financing Dialogue (DFD) aimed at bringing together small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) from the 14 partner countries of the Danube Region with international financing institutions and national funding sources.
The Dialogue is providing a unique platform for stimulating match-making of SME´s financing needs and financing possibilities offered by financing institutions.
The Danube Financing Dialogue was organised by Priority Area 10 “Institutional Capacity and Cooperation” of the EUSDR, with the financial support of the European Commission.
Priority Area 10 launched the first Danube Financing Dialogue in Vienna in March 2012. Four more Financing Dialogues took place in Belgrade, Bucharest, Zagreb, and Bratislava.
Danube Financing Dialogue | Overview
‚Investing in Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) is crucial. In general, investing in SMEs is an important driver for improving the economic situation and, more specifically, accelerating the cohesion process in the Danube Region’, opened Kurt Puchinger (former Coordinator of Priority Area 10) the 1st Danube Finaning Dialogue from 22 to 23 March 2012 at the premises of the Austrian Central Bank.
For the first time, representatives of financial institutions and SMEs sat around a table to discuss financing possibilities and identify new business opportunities in the Danube Region.
The Serbian National Bank hosted the 2nd edition of the Danube Financing Dialogue from 24 to 25 January 2013. The event hosted around 200 representatives from Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs), Coordinators of the Danube Strategy, and funding institutions. Thereby, the Danube Financing Dialogue provided the opportunity to identify and exchange on innovative business opportunities.
While the event focussed on match-making between innovators and financing institutions, representatives from the European Investment Bank, the European Commission, the Serbian Ministry of Finance and the South Balkan Fund assessed the state of SME funding in the Danube Region. Chairwomen Marlene Hahn (Metis) summarised the discussion by pointing out: “Identifying new funding instruments for SMEs is not the utmost priority. The key is rather to make more efficient use of the funding sources that are already available in the region.”
The third Danube Financing Dialogue took place from 30 to 31 OCotber 2013 at the Romanian National Bank. Financial institutions, SMEs and high-ranking representatives of the EU Commission and public administration met to discuss how to build a bridge between the project ideas in the Danube Region and potential funding opportunities. Representatives from the European Investment Fund, the Romanian Banking Association and the European League for Economic Co-operation in Europe gave new impetus to the already existing, but often unknown, funding sources for project promoters.
Later on, the stage was open for the main stakeholders of the event – the numerous representatives of innovative project ideas. The project promoters had the opportunity to discuss their opportunities in face-to-face meetings with representatives from funding institutions. Those exchanges aimed at exchanging knowledge and information on how to meet needs of project promoters and access funding. Furthermore, the SME representatives got an overview of he possibilities of innovative financial instruments.
The fourth event of the series Danube Financing Dialogue (DFD) brought together excellent project ideas with financial institutions and partners from across the Danube region. A project exhibition opened this year’s dialogue. Opportunities and challenges for the implementation of these project ideas were discussed, including funding opportunities such as EU funds and bank loans.
The 4th Danube Financing Dialogue took place on 23 and 24 April 2015. In the inspiring premises of the Croatian State Archives project promoters, private financiers, representatives of the European Commission and the Public Administration met.
On 23 and 24 May 2016, the fifth edition of the Danube Financing Dialogue (DFD) was held in the premises of the Slovak Central Bank in Bratislava. The Slovak capital followed Vienna, Belgrade, Bucharest and Zagreb in hosting the DFD on behalf of the European Commission and the City of Vienna. At the DFD, project promoters from all countries in the Danube Region had the opportunity to obtain information about relevant financing
opportunities and to enter into in-depth dialogue with the representatives of major institutions, free of charge.
The networking sessions allowed for one-to-one meetings and more in-depth discussions between the project promoters and the representatives of financing and governmental institutions.