Regional accelerator initiative launched by EBRD to support development

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD)Continues its partnership with Startup Wise Guys (SWG), one of the leading start-up accelerators in Europe, with the launch of a new programme named “Fintech 5”. It will be a five-month intensive accelerator that starts in Bucharest (Romania) and where start-ups will work with the SWG team as well as EBRD staff members and fintech experts.

The international accelerator programme is open to Fintech startups in Central and Eastern Europe. This fifth edition of the SWG program was held in collaboration with the EBRD.

Fintech 5 will provide on-site guidance and training in company building and sales in Bucharest. Bucharest has a lot of active start ups, venture capitalists, incubator and accelerator programmes, and is home to many other active start-ups. This will allow start-ups from across the Baltics and Central and Eastern Europe to benefit from the city’s critical mass of existing start-ups and investors.

Star Venture was also launched by the EBRD in Romania recently. It leverages a network mentors and advisors to provide bespoke advice services and industry best practice to start-ups.

The Fintech 5 programme is supported by TaiwanBusiness – EBRD Technical Cooperation Fund.

This is a full-time program, where selected start-ups participate in an array of online and in-person modules as well as product sprints and one to one mentoring sessions. The deadline for applications is 2 June. The programme will begin on 27 June and last until November 2022. Up to 10 selected start-ups will then receive up to €90,000 investment with a potential follow-on investment.

The EBRD supports central and eastern European governments to improve the regulatory landscape for fintech. This can be done by creating regulatory sandboxes that allow new fintech solutions to be tested within the existing regulatory environment, or by developing roadmaps and engaging with other policy activities. This partnership is another way to support regional fintech ecosystems.

This partnership between Startup Wise Guys (EBRD) and Startup Wise Guys is a result of the Fintech 4 program in Vilnius in 2020. Many start-ups that completed the programme received substantial additional funding from SWG.

“We are delighted to continue our cooperation with SWG on developing the fintech ecosystem in Central and Eastern Europe. The support of the TaiwanBusiness – EBRD Technical Cooperation Fund has been key for enabling the deployment of new technologies, driving innovation and growth in EBRD countries of operation. Supporting the digital transition is a key part of EBRD’s long-term strategy. Therefore, we are pleased to be scaling up our activities in Bucharest through our partnerships and EBRD’s Star Venture Programme, launched in Romania last month,” Alex Pivovarsky is Director of EBRD Capital & Financial Markets Development Team.

“Having invested in close to 50 fintech startups, we have witnessed amazing talent from the region and the impact these startups can make to the digital economy. This is backed by the high appetite of investors – already, we have already seen two exits from fintech startups in our portfolio and a number of series A and B rounds. Romania was chosen for our fifth fintech program because we believe it will be a country that is poised to see a lot of growth in the startup sector in the next decade. We are doing this in a new partnership with EBRD after a successful collaboration in the last fintech programme in Vilnius, Lithuania,” Cristobal Alono, Global CEO at Startup Wise Guys, commented.

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