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Center-invest Bank at the Forefront of Youth Enterprise

The third International Forum of Youth Enterprise Leaders was held in Rostov-on-Don on 4 December 2014. Center-invest Bank was a co-organiser of the event and its main sponsor.

The Forum brought together experts and heads of European and Russian youth enterprise programmes (including Rostov region programmes) and also young entrepreneurs from southern Russia and BRICS countries.

During the event Center-invest Bank presented its programmes to support new entrepreneurs and the results of its work. Already, 320 start-ups have got off the ground thanks to finance from Center-invest Bank. Under our Start-Up programme, launched in 2011, aspiring entrepreneurs can obtain business advisory support, three-year loans of up to RUB3m with a six-month grace period, and one year’s free business banking, including online banking.

To support youth projects, the bank runs the Youth Business Russia programme, which is unique for the local market. Under this programme, entrepreneurs aged 18-35 years can obtain three-year loans without needing to provide security or a guarantee. The maximum loan amount is RUB300,000 and the interest rate is 12% per annum. Loans are made on the basis of business plans that have been examined and approved by a panel of experts.

As well as providing loans on preferential terms, the Youth Business Russia programme promotes mentoring. Young people are offered guidance from individual mentors, advice on business planning, and business skills training.

The Forum also included an exhibition entitled “City of Small Business” at which new entrepreneurs presented their products and services. More than 70% of the participants were Center-invest Bank customers.

There are always numerous complexities and risks involved in setting up a new business,” said Chairman of the Board of Directors of Center-invest Bank, Dr Vasily Vysokov. “One must identify potential customers, assess the business’s profitability, and resolve organisational and financial issues. We offer various loan programmes for new entrepreneurs, and with Center-invest Bank’s support, new entrepreneurs can overcome difficulties and barriers. We are proud that 320 start-ups in southern Russia are growing together with Center-invest Bank.”

Notably, unlike other banks, which require loan applicants to already be formally registered as a business and have a trading history, Center-invest Bank can base its loan decisions on detailed business plans.

As well as affordable finance, Center-invest Bank provides entrepreneurs with business advisory support. For example, its four dedicated Advice Centres (in Rostov-on-Don, Taganrog, Shakhty and Volgodonsk) run free seminars for new entrepreneurs. And for over eight years now Center-invest Bank has financed a hotline providing free legal advice for small business in the Rostov region.

Earlier this year, together with Southern Federal University, Center-invest Bank opened a Financial Literacy Centre in the centre of Rostov-on-Don. The Centre provides members of the general public with free advice on financial issues.