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Crimson Capital Selected Projects - Europe and Eurasia


NEW - Kosovo Local Effective Governance (LEGO) project

Kosovo After School Support for Teens (ASSET) program

Western Balkan Green Economy Financing Facility (WB GEFF)

Albania Crimson Finance Fund

USAID EMPOWER Credit Support Project in Kosovo

Kosovo Crimson Finance Fund

Macedonia SME Commercial Finance Fund

Private Sector Competitiveness and Employment Generation Activity (EMPOWER) Project in Kosovo

Partners for Development (PFD) Project in Kosovo

Western Balkan Sustainable Energy Financing Facility II (WeBSEFF II)

Albanian Renewable Energy Association (AREA)

Innovation Centre Kosovo

Kyrgyzstan Local Development Program (KLDP)

Albanian Information Technology Association (AITA)

Kosovo Democratic Effective Municipalities Initiative (DEMI)

Kosovo Business Enabling Environment Program

ICT Association of Kosovo

Armenia FS Share Stability Pilot (FSSP) Project

Azerbaijan Private Sector Competitiveness Enhancement Program (PSCEP)

Macedonia Agribusiness Activity (AgBiz)

Competitive Enhancement and Enterprise Development (CEED) Project in Moldova

Kosovo Economic Management for Stability and Growth (EMSG) Project

Cluster and Business Support in Kosovo (KCBS)

Armenia Micro Enterprise Development Initiative (MEDI)

Privatization and Restructuring of the Macedonia Electricity Company (Elektrostopantsvo na Makedonija ESM)

Kosovo Business Support Program (KBS)

Macedonian Business Resource Center (MBRC)

USAID Restructuring Team to the Czech Ministry of Industry and Trade and to Komercni Banka

USAID Advisory Team to the Czech Ministries of Privatization, Industry and Trade and National Property Fund





  Kosovo Local Effective Governance (LEGO) project

USAID 2018 - 2023

Funded by the US Agency for International Development (USAID), the Kosovo Local Effective Governance (LEGO) project is designed to strengthen the operations and inclusiveness of municipal governance in municipalities with non-majority communities in Kosovo. Crimson supports implementation of LEGO by strengthening the ability of municipalities to articulate their needs to the central-level government; strengthening municipal service delivery; and increasing interaction between majority and non-majority communities in joint priority settings.
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  Kosovo After School Support for Teens (ASSET) program

USAID 2017 - 2022

Funded by the US Agency for International Development (USAID), the Kosovo After School Support for Teens (ASSET) program is a five-year activity designed to improve entrepreneurial skills and post-primary school employability, targeting grade 9-12. Crimson supports implementation of ASSET by aligning program activities with private-sector employment needs.
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  Western Balkan Green Economy Financing Facility (WB GEFF)

EBRD, the Austrian Ministry of Finance and the European Union 2017 - 2021

Funded by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), the Austrian Ministry of Finance and the European Union, the Western Balkan Green Economy Financing Facility (WB GEFF) is a €85 million on-lending facility, designed to support investments in energy efficiency and renewable energy in the residential building sector in the Western Balkan region. Crimson is supporting implementation of WB GEFF through key senior management and partner-bank liaison positions in Albania, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia.


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  Albania Crimson Finance Fund

AADF, NORFUND, City of Tirana, Crimson Capital 2015 - Ongoing

www.cffa.al

The Crimson Finance Fund Albania (CFF Albania) is a non-bank financial institution that is established in partnership with the Norwegian Investment Fund for Developing Countries (NORFUND), the Albanian American Development Foundation, and the City of Tirana. It is designed to improve access to finance for underserved Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), entrepreneurs, innovators, women-owned businesses and farmers in Albania in order to catalyze business growth and job creation. CFF Albania provides factoring and leasing of productive equipment to Albanian businesses in all productive sectors. CFF Albania opened its doors for business in March 2016.


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  USAID EMPOWER Credit Support Project in Kosovo

USAID 2015 - 2017

Funded by the US Agency for International Development, the EMPOWER Credit Support Project was designed to increase access to finance for underserved SMEs by establishing a guarantee facility, the Kosovo Credit Guarantee Fund (KCGF). Successfully established in April, 2016 KCGF is now a local, permanent, revolving and financially sustainable credit guarantee fund, licensed and supervised by the Central Bank of Kosovo that issues loan guarantees to commercial banks to reduce risk in SME lending.

Under the EMPOWER Credit Support Project, Crimson played an instrumental role in the design and establishment of the Kosovo Credit Guarantee Fund, through the provision of business, financial, credit, risk, and legal and regulatory advisory services and by consensus building among key government, donor, financial institutions, chambers of commerce, civil society and other stakeholders. Today, the KCGF is a sustainable, independently operating guarantee facility that has backed over €63 million in loans to SMEs operating in manufacturing, retail, agriculture, construction and services.


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  Kosovo Crimson Finance Fund

USAID, NORFUND, Crimson Capital 2008 - Ongoing

http://cffkosovo.com/

The Crimson Finance Fund (CFF) is a non-bank financial institution that is uniquely positioned in the marketplace. Drawing on its $5.4 million lending pool, CFF provides innovative, short-term working capital finance products to small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in Kosovo. CFF directly targets the problem of the “missing middle,” in which the vast majority of companies in developing countries cannot obtain short-term working capital financing needed to grow, employ more people, increase exports and become competitive and viable for the long-term. CFF utilizes products such as purchase order finance and pre-export financing to address the lending needs of the SME sector in Kosovo.

The Crimson Finance Fund provides financing to all sectors of the economy and operates in all regions of Kosovo, but gives special attention to businesses that are not being adequately served by existing financial institutions, including rural businesses and enterprises owned by women and minorities. CFF began lending in the fourth quarter of 2008. To date, CFF has made loans totaling more than $29.5 million to SMEs, supporting over $146 million in new, incremental sales and more than 3,900 new, permanent jobs, including over 900 jobs for women and minorities. Through its lending, CFF has also indirectly supported more than 3,400 local farmers and over 4,700 SME suppliers.


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  Macedonia SME Commercial Finance Fund

USAID, NORFUND, Crimson Capital 2003 - Ongoing

Crimson Capital designed and manages this $4 million fund that provides innovative, short-term working capital finance products to small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in Macedonia. The Fund directly targets the problem of the “missing middle” in which vast majority of companies in developing countries cannot obtain short-term working capital financing needed to grow, employ more people, increase exports, and become competitive and viable for the long-term. The Fund utilizes products such as Purchase Order Finance and pre-export financing to address the lending needs of the SME sector. In 2012, the Fund received an additional $300,000 from USAID Macedonia to establish an Innovation Financing Vehicle (IFV) designed to support business innovation and start-ups.

To date, the Fund has made loans totaling more than $37.6 million to Macedonian SMEs, supporting over $300.63 million in new exports and more than 6,817 new, permanent jobs, including over 3,614 jobs for women and nearly 400 for minorities. Through its lending, the Fund has also indirectly supported more than 39,913 local farmers, 1,095 agro-collection points, more than 9,253 domestic buyers, and over 15,100 suppliers. The Fund extends loans to all regions of Macedonia, and targets all major sectors of the economy, including light manufacturing, trade, textiles, ICT, retail, agriculture, food processing and construction, but particularly targets SMEs under that are not being adequately served by existing financial institutions, including rural businesses, entrepreneurs and enterprises owned by women and minorities. The Fund is a principal provider of short-term trade finance for SMEs in Macedonia and plays a key role in the expansion and growth of SME activities in Macedonia.


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  Private Sector Competitiveness and Employment Generation Activity (EMPOWER) Project in Kosovo

USAID 2014 - 2019

Funded by the US Agency for International Development (USAID), the Private Sector Competitiveness and Employment Generation Activity (EMPOWER) project in Kosovo is a five-year activity designed to increase competitiveness in growth-ready sectors and facilitate inclusive private sector job-creation. Crimson is supporting implementation of EMPOWER by assisting SMEs improve their operations, become more competitive, and create new jobs.


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  Partners for Development (PFD) Project in Kosovo

USAID 2014 - 2018

Funded by the US Agency for International Development (USAID), PFD is a five-year activity designed to enhance the enabling environment for private sector growth and expand employment opportunities in Kosovo. Under a subcontract to Chemonics International, Crimson is supporting implementation of PFD by assisting the Government of Kosovo (GoK) improve macroeconomic policy and public financial management and further develop the system of construction permitting and spatial planning.


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  Western Balkan Sustainable Energy Financing Facility II (WeBSEFF II)

EBRD and the European Union 2013 - 2018

Funded by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the European Union, the Western Balkan Sustainable Energy Financing Facility II (WeBSEFF II) was a €92 million facility, designed to support investments in energy efficiency and renewable energy projects implemented by private companies (SMEs), Energy Service Companies (ESCOs) and municipal entities in the Western Balkans. Crimson supported implementation of WeBSEFF II through key senior management, partner-bank liaison, and municipal finance positions.


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  Albanian Renewable Energy Association (AREA)

Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs 2012 - 2014

With funding from the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and in partnership with ICT Norway and INTPOW-Norwegian Renewable Energy Partners, Crimson supported the establishment of the Albanian Renewable Energy Association (AREA). The goal of AREA is to become the leading advocate and promoter of the renewable energy sector in Albania by facilitating foreign and domestic investments, improving the business environment, developing new business opportunities for its members, and promoting implementation of international best practices within the energy and renewable energy sectors.

Crimson provided technical assistance and project management support to AREA in developing its organizational structure and capacity, governing procedures and bylaws, program activities and work plans, and by providing support in networking and promotional activities targeting new members and partners. Crimson also supported AREA by providing comments to the newly proposed Law on Energy, and to the amendment to the Law on Renewable Energy. Crimson and AREA jointly supported the organization of a number of important events and workshops, including the Energy Market and Infrastructure Towards Integration: 3rd EU Energy Package - Implications for the Albanian Energy Sector Development Conference in Tirana, Albania.

AREA was launched in February 2013 and currently has 40 members with a portfolio of investments of more than EUR 200 million and installed power capacity of 195 MW. AREA has effectively became the representative of the renewable energy sector to the Ministry of Energy and Mining of Albania, and other parliamentary committees in charge of developing laws regarding the energy sector in Albania.


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  Innovation Centre Kosovo

Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs 2011 - 2014

In partnership with Athene Prosjektledelse AS, Crimson supported the establishment and development of the Innovation Centre in Kosovo (ICK). Crimson developed and managed the ICK Incubator, which assists entrepreneurs in developing their business concepts. The ICK Incubator provides services to young companies and entrepreneurs in Kosovo, including hosting, training, consulting services and support for R&D.

During the life of the project, the ICK Incubator hosted more than 230 tenants divided into 50 teams, out of which 22 became fully registered and operational businesses. These companies offer a wide variety of Information and Communication products and services, including mobile applications, web-portals, networking solutions and home automation.

ICK and Crimson organized Pristina Start-up Weekends in 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014. Theses start-up events gathered more than 100 participants with backgrounds in programming, design and marketing. Start-up Weekends offer a venue where young entrepreneurs get the chance to work on their ideas, benefit from experienced mentors, build networks and meet their peers.

ICK and Crimson also prepared and published specialized manuals for start-ups and entrepreneurs to help guide them through the initial stages of business operations in Kosovo, published in English, Albanian and Serbian, including:

How to Start a Business
Accessing Finance
International Trade
Intellectual Property Rights

Crimson also assisted ICK prepare for and manage a USAID-funded a grant program, including drafting the grants manual, application materials, selection criteria and monitoring mechanisms in accordance with USAID procedures. Through this program, ICK offered small grants to select tenants to develop innovative products and services.


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  Kyrgyzstan Local Development Program (KLDP)

USAID 2012 - 2013

The USAID-funded Kyrgyzstan Local Development Program (KLDP) was designed to stimulate rapid, diversified, and sustainable economic growth by supporting local economic development in Kyrgyzstan. KLDP assistance focused on improving tax administration, simplifying the licensing regime, facilitating trade, and streamlining customs.

Under a subcontract to Chemonics International (Chemonics), Crimson worked to support increased access to finance for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), by working with four selected financial partner institutions to support the development and launch of innovative working capital finance products. Crimson assisted these partner banks in their product structuring; reviewed and made recommendations on credit and risk management policies and procedures, loan and pledge agreements, credit pricing, loan approval process, credit committee structure, loan administration and loan monitoring; supported the banks in marketing new products to SMEs; and provided hands-on training in transaction structuring. In under a year, partner banks made over $1 million in loans to SME as a direct result of Crimson’s assistance, resulting in the creation of more than 100 new jobs (seasonal and full time) and over $15 million in new, incremental sales and exports. As part of KLDP, Crimson experts also developed recommendations for the National Bank of the Kyrgyz Republic on reforming specific sections of prudential regulations on asset classifications and collateral requirements, in order to promote easier access to finance.


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  Albanian Information Technology Association (AITA)

Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs 2012 - 2013

With funding from the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and in partnership with ICT Norway, Crimson supported the development of the Albanian Information Technology Association (AITA), helping AITA become a leading force in innovation, technology and competitiveness in the ICT sector and across Albania’s entire economy.

Crimson provided technical assistance and project management support to AITA in developing its organizational structure, including support in reviewing and developing bylaws, hiring staff and establishing its office and operating procedures, and developing revenue generating activities that allowed AITA to become a self-sustainable and effective industry association for the ICT sector of Albania.

With Crimson’s assistance, AITA implemented numerous activities to promote its member companies, and the overall ICT sector of Albania. AITA also developed professional trainings and workshops designed to increase the competitiveness of its members. AITA organized and supported numerous regional business to business (B2B) events that helped stimulate businesses between ICT companies in Albania and other countries from the region and beyond. These include, among others, the ICT B2B event for Kosovo and Albania; the organization of ICT Days (conference in ICT for all stakeholders from Macedonia, Kosovo, and Albania); the Israeli - Albanian Business Forum; and the 1st International Business Forum (matchmaking event for companies from Israel, Macedonia, Albania, Kosovo, and Bosnia and Herzegovina).

With Crimson’s support, AITA has been able to establish itself as one of the main stakeholders and advocates of the ICT sector of Albania. Currently, AITA has 42 company members and is the leading voice in promotion of the ICT sector of Albania, both domestically and internationally.


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  Kosovo Democratic Effective Municipalities Initiative (DEMI)

USAID 2010 - 2013

The goal of the DEMI project was to strengthen municipal governance in Kosovo, focusing particularly on building the capacity of municipal administrations and assemblies, increasing citizens’ role in municipal government, improving municipal service delivery, and promoting local economic development. Crimson led DEMI’s Local Economic Development (LED) and Municipal Performance Improvement units. Crimson DEMI staff helped 21 partner municipalities develop or improve prioritized Local Economic Development (LED) plans and helped 11 partner municipalities to establish LED units.

Through DEMI, Crimson supported four partner municipalities in developing and implementing industrial zones to facilitate investment, contributing to the attraction of over €43 million in new investments and creation of around 2,000 new jobs. Crimson DEMI staff also supported the establishment of agricultural associations in five municipalities and green markets in two municipalities that assisted over 4,000 farmers to increase their production volume by around 10%, increase their market coverage by over 15% and increased support funds (government and donor funds) by over 10%. To further support local economic development, the LED unit worked with DEMI partner municipalities and the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) to develop municipal business profiles/investor’s guides that provide key information for potential investors on the business environment and primary economic sectors and opportunities in each municipality.

Crimson DEMI staff also supported improved land management in Kosovo and supported numerous advances in the legal and regulatory framework, including providing input into procedures for auctioning land and property for municipal revenue generation and economic development; providing input into the draft laws “On Allocation for Use and Exchange of Immovable Property of the Municipality”; “On Property Tax”, “On Internal Trade”, “On Spatial Planning”, and “On Construction”; and provided input into the administrative instruction “Main Elements of a Municipal Development Plan”.


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  Kosovo Business Enabling Environment Program

USAID 2010 - 2013

The goal of the BEEP project was to support the development of a business-friendly environment in Kosovo, focusing particularly on better implementation of commercial law; improved access to information about borrowers’ credit history; and reduced barriers to trade. Crimson supported the efforts of the BEEP project by providing expertise to further the development of the Credit Registry in Kosovo, to improve the trade regime and to support the development of a business friendly-environment overall.

Crimson supported BEEP in helping the Government of Kosovo (GoK) adopt crucial World Bank Doing Business-impacting legal reforms related to streamlining business registration procedures (such as the successful introduction of a maximum three day period for issuing a business registration certificate), reducing barriers to business entry (such as the successful removal of charter capital requirement for LLCs), loosening onerous regulatory requirements and eliminating unnecessary, redundant, and burdensome government permissions (such as removing business licensing fees at the municipal level and removing unnecessary licensure). As part of this support, 22 municipalities were assisted in voluntarily eliminating or suspending business license fees, making it easier for businesses to start and operate a business. Crimson also provided support to the National Council of Economic Development and the Legal Office of the Prime Minister in a comprehensive review of administrative instructions, eliminating approximately 440 that were determined to be obsolete, duplicative or to contradict law. In addition, Crimson supported the development of Kosovo’s first ever electronic, searchable database of all laws and administrative instructions, which is accessible to the public (http://gzk.rks-gov.net), and available in Albanian, Bosnian, English, Serbian and Turkish.

Working toward an improved trade regime, Crimson conducted an analysis of the import and export process, including the development of detailed process maps linked to articles in the laws and administrative instructions that govern each step in the process. Based on recommendations of this analysis, the Kosovo Customs Agency issued an Administrative Instruction eliminating several previously required steps/documents from the import and export process. These improvements in streamlining the export and import process helped Kosovo advance nine points in Trade Across Boarders in the World Bank’s Doing Business 2013 report. Further, Crimson advisors also provided support in drafting the Law on External Trade, the Law on Safeguard Measures, the new Customs and Excise Code of Kosovo (based on the EU 2008 Customs Code) and an Integrated Border Management Law that is intended to improve trade procedures and reduce time and costs related to importing and exporting goods.

Leading the Improving Access to Finance component, Crimson supported improvements in available credit information to reduce risks to lending. This assistance focused on upgrading Kosovo’s Credit Registry to ensure that more credit data is captured, that it is stored securely, that it is available in a timely manner to authorized users, and that it is expanded to include insurance companies as users. With support from Crimson BEEP advisors, the GoK selected a vendor to upgrade the Credit Registry through a public tender. The new, improved Credit Registry system went live in September 2012. Financial institutions reported impressive improvements over the old system; within the first month, several banks reported a 45% decrease in the time it takes to report credit classifications to the Central Bank of Kosovo. The upgraded Credit Registry also allows businesses and citizens easier access to their own credit information and includes insurance companies as users. Within the first year of its launch, the Central Bank reported more than a 150% increase in the number of credit requests made by businesses and citizens.

Crimson BEEP advisors also provided technical assistance support to improve the legal and regulatory framework for business and financial sector. These activities included providing input on the draft Law on Banks, Non-Bank Financial Institutions and Microfinance Institutions; the Law on Business Organizations; the Law on Construction and related sub-normative acts, including the Construction Code; the Draft Law on Spatial Planning; the Draft Law on the Pledge Registry; the Draft Law on Normative Acts; the Law on General Product Safety; and the Draft Law on Notaries; as well as on various regulations and administrative procedures of the Central Bank and Credit Registry.


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  ICT Association of Kosovo

Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs 2008 - 2012

With funding from the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Crimson Capital supported the establishment of the Kosovoa Society for Information Technology and Communications (STIKK). STIKK represents more than 55 Kosovo ICT companies, implementing a number of activities to support the development of the ICT sector in Kosovo, including:

  • Compiling market information and conducting research on the ICT market in Kosovo and in the region;
  • Informing the Kosovo ICT sector on relevant trends in the industry throughout Europe and about business and development opportunities;
  • Lobbying to address issues such as customs tax on the ICT sector;
  • Attracting investment and businesses interested in the ICT sector in the region;
  • Implementing a marketing campaign to increase public and private sector exposure to the ICT industry;
  • Providing training and capacity building opportunities; and
  • Working to improve the ICT education curriculum at learning institutions.


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  Armenia FS Share Stability Pilot (FSSP) Project

USAID 2009 - 2010

Through the USAID FS Share contract, Crimson implemented the “FS Share Stability Pilot Project” (FSSP) in Armenia, under a subcontract to Chemonics International. FSSP focused on rapidly identifying, adapting and introducing applicable financial products to increase Armenian SME access to finance in targeted value chains.

In just six months, Crimson advisors supported two Armenian partner banks in developing and marketing new debt products designed specifically for SMEs, including Purchase Order Finance (POF). By the close of FSSP project assistance, the two partner banks had fully integrated these new debt products into their existing loan portfolio line and had exceeded USAID SME lending targets for the project more than two times over, issuing $2.5 million to 18 SME clients.


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  Azerbaijan Private Sector Competitiveness Enhancement Program (PSCEP)

USAID 2008 - 2010

The Private Sector Competitiveness Enhancement Program (PSCEP) was designed to promote the competitiveness of select non-natural resource sectors of the Azeri rural economy in order to create jobs, increase exports, and generate investments. Crimson Capital supported PSCEP project by working to improve SME access to finance under a subcontract to Chemonics International.

Through PSCEP, Crimson worked with targeted partner banks and financial institutions to introduce Purchase Order Finance (POF); to expand the use of Letters of Credit, Letters of Guarantee and Documentary Collection; and to expand the use and availability of leasing in the Azeri market. By the successful close out of technical assistance, and in less than two years, Crimson assistance resulted in over $52 million in SME finance issued by PSCEP partner banks, supporting over $32 million in sales and exports and creating more than 139 new jobs, including 54 jobs for women.
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  Macedonia Agribusiness Activity (AgBiz)

USAID 2007 - 2010

The primary objective of USAID’s AgBiz Program was to sustainably increase the competitiveness of Macedonian agribusiness producers, processers and traders in selected agribusiness value chains. The AgBiz team worked to help Macedonian agribusinesses enter export markets for value added food products, enhance market linkages along the selected value chains, improve business management and operations, build income-generating opportunities for agribusinesses and create new employment.





Crimson worked through a subcontract to ARD on AgBiz to help Macedonian agribusinesses source capital, enable them to expand and improve production, and increase sales. Crimson experts assisted agribusinesses access over $7.4 million in debt financing and over $9 million in equity to expand their operations and complete trade deals. To further support agribusinesses source capital, Crimson experts developed the Finance Guide for Agribusinesses and SMEs. The guide provides detailed explanation of the financial products and services available to Macedonian agribusinesses and practical information on how to apply for them.

The Crimson team also assisted fresh fruit and vegetables producers and marketers to improve their processes, install more efficient drip irrigation systems, upgrade storage facilities, and enhance their export marketing capabilities. Crimson experts organized six study tours (in South Africa, Israel, USA, Holland, Poland and Croatia) with a focus on pre/post harvest handling of fresh products. In addition, Crimson organized seven B2B meetings and assisted Macedonian exporters participate in three trade fairs, including Fruit Logistica Berlin, World Food Moscow, and Novi Sad International Agricultural Fair. As a result, Macedonian agribusinesses increased sales by over $12.5 million in just three years. To further promote international competiveness, Crimson experts assisted agricultural producers and processors implement HACCAP, ISO 20,000 and Global Gap.

Crimson also assisted the establishment of the Macedonian Agro Exporters Association (MAEA), the first trade association in Macedonia representing fresh fruits and vegetables exporting companies.


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  Competitive Enhancement and Enterprise Development (CEED) Project in Moldova

USAID 2005 - 2010

The Competitive Enhancement and Enterprise Development (CEED) project was designed to build the competitiveness of Moldovan enterprises in the global market and to foster a supportive business environment. CEED supported the development of key industry clusters of the Moldovan economy including wine, textiles/apparel, and information and communications technology (ICT).

Under a subcontract to Chemonics International, Crimson experts provided technical assistance to six partner banks, enabling them to introduce innovative, working capital products such as Purchase Order Finance (POF). As a result of this assistance, CEED partner banks made POF loans totaling over $5.9 million to Moldovan enterprises, enabling more than $12 million in sales.
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  Kosovo Economic Management for Stability and Growth (EMSG) Project

USAID 2007 - 2009

Under EMSG, Crimson Capital provided advisory services to the Ministry of Energy and Mining (MEM), the Project Steering Committee (PSC) of the Lignite Power Technical Assistance Project (LPTAP), and the Government of Kosovo for reform in the energy sector. Activities included assistance on the development of the 3 billion EUR LPTAP program consisting of a new lignite mine and 2,000 MW lignite-fired power plant, future disposition of existing power plants, legal and regulatory reform, and the privatization to a foreign strategic investor of the distribution and supply functions of Korporata Energjetike e Kosova (KEK), the electric utility. Crimson Capital was a subcontractor to BearingPoint on this activity.


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  Cluster and Business Support in Kosovo (KCBS)

USAID 2004 - 2008

Employing an integrated approach and cluster-based strategy, the Kosovo Cluster and Business Support project was designed to support value chains in targeted sectors (livestock, fruit and vegetables and construction materials) to stimulate employment, sales, finance and investment. The KCBS project was part of the SEGIR II Privatization IQC. Crimson contributed to the project under a subcontract to Chemonics International.

Through KCBS, Crimson advisors worked to improve access to finance for key industries. Specifically, Crimson:

  • Supported the introduction of leasing and purchase order finance in the Kosovo market, including supporting the development of the Law on Leasing.
  • Facilitated two new joint ventures totaling $6 million.
  • Developed the DCA Agricultural Loan Portfolio Guarantee with Raiffeisen Bank, which got Raiffeisen to go into agricultural lending, hire and train specialized agricultural loan officers, and make loans throughout Kosovo to farmers and processors. As a result, the 10 million Euro DCA loan portfolio guarantee program for the agricultural sector issued through Raiffeisen Bank and was fully utilized in less than two years.
  • Designed and implemented two Kosovo Finance Fairs, connecting more than 2,000 businesses with new credit opportunities.

Crimson experts also provided technical expertise to the construction and building materials sector to help increase the productivity and competitiveness of partner businesses throughout the project.
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  Armenia Micro Enterprise Development Initiative (MEDI)

USAID 2003 - 2006

The Micro Enterprise Development Initiative was designed to strengthen the business and enabling environment for Armenian micro and small enterprises (MSEs) by increasing access to financial services, improving MSE capacity through sustainable Business Development Services (BDS), reforming the legal, regulatory and policy framework, and by enhancing trade and investment opportunities. Crimson contributed to MEDI under a subcontract to Chemonics International.

Through MEDI, Crimson advisors provided technical assistance and training to eight leading Armenian banks to introduce Purchase Order Financing (POF) and other types of trade finance to the Armenian MSME market. The results: 52 new trade finance loans (including POF) totaling $5.8 million. To widen the understanding and use of this type of financing, Crimson organized three MSME Finance Workshops with representatives of all leading Armenian banks and the Central Bank of Armenia. Crimson also organized a B2B meeting for Armenian and Georgian firms in the construction and building materials sectors, bringing together 70 firms and organizations to meet each other and conduct business from buying and selling products and services to developing partnerships.
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  Privatization and Restructuring of the Macedonia Electricity Company (Elektrostopantsvo na Makedonija ESM)

Government of Macedonia 2002 - 2006

Under this initiative, Crimson was the co-lead investment bank with the Meinl Bank Consortium (MBC), and advised the Government of Macedonia (GOM) on the unbundling, restructuring, and privatization of the vertically integrated electric power utility ESM.

The project targeted reform of the legal and policy framework for the energy sector and restructuring of the regional electricity market and worked towards compliance with the Athens Protocol. Program components included:
  • Creating detailed restructuring plans
  • Assuring due diligence in technical, commercial, financial, tax, and legal frameworks
  • Delivering recommendations on the structure and regulation of the electricity market in line with European standards
  • Preparing and implementing actual restructuring and privatization
Crimson assisted the GOM in obtaining a key $45 million USD pre-privatization investment from the EBRD for ESM and was a member of the government’s steering committee for the restructuring and privatization of the energy sector. On March 17, 2006, the GOM approved the sale of 90% of AD ESM, the Macedonian Electricity Distribution Company, to the Austrian utility EVN AG for €225 million, along with an investment commitment of €96 million. This sale represents a regional record price per distribution customer. European and Macedonian press and Transparency International praised the transaction as a successful model of privatization.
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  Kosovo Business Support Program (KBS)

USAID 2000 - 2004

KBS deployed technical assistance to Kosovar companies and agribusinesses to achieve viability and competitiveness by improving their operations, finance, marketing, and ability to attract financing. Developing sustainable local capacity for Business Development Services (BDS) and building new trade and investment linkages comprised Crimson’s major foci under this program.

Crimson put together 22 B2B meetings and 12 trade fairs with 893 Kosovar businesses attending, resulting in over €25 million from 712 new trade and investment transactions. Crimson’s long-term consultant managed the Northern Kosovo Office for better regional cooperation with Serbia, and its short-term consultants applied their talents to improve accounting/auditing training and certification, multiplying trade and investment in B2B relationships, and boosting the competitiveness of the textile sector. KBS collaborated with over 1000 SMEs and helped 718 of its participant firms to realize a 20% increase in sales. Operational profitability at 1,675 firms increased by 5% or more, with over 1,651 new jobs created.
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  Macedonian Business Resource Center (MBRC)

USAID 1995 - 2003

USAID and Crimson established the MBRC to help Macedonian businesses streamline and strengthen their competitiveness, financial management, operations, service delivery, and marketing. The project enhanced local ability to export their products, raise capital and attract join venture partnerships.

Over 350 companies benefited from improvements and restructuring, and the MBRC trained 4,500 local managers, consultants, and government officials in 40 key subject areas. During the last three years of the project, MBRC facilitated over $95 million in trade and investment in more than 1,100 transactions. The MBRC also focused on capacity building, and incubated and spun out six independent, sustainable local entities which are now 100% self-supporting, including 4 consulting firms and 2 NGOs.
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  USAID Restructuring Team to the Czech Ministry of Industry and Trade and to Komercni Banka

USAID 1996

The team, including Crimson experts, delivered training, technical restructuring assistance, and policy/legal advice to Czech companies, the Ministry of Industry and Trade, managers of select companies, and the Problem Loan Department of Komercni Banka, one of the largest commercial banks in CEE. The project concentrated on the areas of financial and operational restructuring, privatization, foreign investment, joint ventures, policies and procedures for strategic industries, and institutional strengthening. The team successfully restructured 12 of the largest and most important companies, doubling the expected benchmark of restructuring six companies.

Crimson parlayed its successful experience on this project into conducting a similar, intensive training program in privatization and restructuring for the Romanian Restructuring Agency.
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  USAID Advisory Team to the Czech Ministries of Privatization, Industry and Trade and National Property Fund

USAID 1991 - 1995

This team provided technical assistance, policy/legal advice, institutional assessments, and training for rapid market reform and independent, sustained capacity building to the Czech Government. The project accomplished dramatic changes in privatization policies, restructuring, foreign direct investment, environmental protection, remediation and indemnification, enabling legislation, training and institution building, and fairness and transparency.

Crimson’s privatization program in the Czech Republic is heralded as one of the most successful privatization programs anywhere. Crimson worked with 13 of the 20 largest employers in the country, 26 of the 50 largest companies, and all 16 regional electricity and natural gas distributors. The project catalyzed over 145 foreign investor privatization transactions, and contributed to the raising of over $5 billion in new foreign direct investment into Czech companies. In all, over 200 companies with assets over $10 billion successfully privatized.
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