Five new emerging Europe companies have joined the ELITE programme, jointly organised by UniCredit and the London Stock Exchange (LSE) Group with the aim of helping small and medium enterprises (SMEs) prepare for the next stage of their growth.
“UniCredit strongly believes in the potential of many excellent companies in CEE and we are here to support them on their journeys,” the bank’s director for CEE Carlo Vivaldi tells Emerging Europe. “So far we have on-boarded more than 40 companies from 10 different countries, belonging to 18 different industrial sectors. I believe that UniCredit’s clients in CEE are benefitting from this initiative, as demonstrated by the increasing interest in the programme. The majority of the companies that have joined so far have been from Bulgaria and Croatia, followed very closely by Romania, Russia, and then a number of other CEE countries.”
The automotive components seller AutoPlus, logistics and transportation company Eurosped and the IT company ScaleFocus are the new entries to the programme from Bulgaria, together with the the Serbian outfit Jaffa and the Turkish firm Gama Recycle. In total, seven Bulgarian companies have been accepted in the programme, two of which have already completed their training.
“We see the interest towards the programme in Bulgaria is growing, with more of our clients joining,” said Antoaneta Curteanu, head of CIB and PB Banking, UniCredit Bulbank. “The reason for this is that they see the real benefits it provides – unique knowledge and networking opportunities, which can only be provided by a group with pan-European presence and a partnership with the London Stock Exchange.”
“Companies see real benefits from the UniCredit and LSE partnership in preparing local firms and offering them the timely knowledge they need to make the right investment decisions,” Mr Vivaldi added.
Since its launch in 2012, ELITE has supported over 850 international companies. These services are designed to meet the individual needs of each company, with UniCredit contributing to training modules and tutoring as well as providing access to its own tailored SME support services. The ELITE programme helps ensure rapidly growing companies are aware of the various funding options available to them and properly prepared to meet with prospective investors. The programme works to increase participants’ awareness of capital markets and the diverse funding options available, while also granting them direct access to investors.