In October 2005, SEAF launched the SEAF South Balkan Fund (SBF) to provide long-term equity and quasi-equity capital to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Serbia, Montenegro, and Macedonia. While the Balkans gradually found calm following the political and economic turmoil during the dissolution of Yugoslavia in the 1990s, the region received little Western foreign investment and small businesses in the country lacked the essential financing they need to expand. Recognizing the need for a strong private sector to stabilize the region’s economies, SBF provided local Balkan SMEs with sustainable funding and expert business assistance through its local team.
SEAF looked to build greater unity between these neighboring nations through economic partnerships, operating under the understanding that economic prosperity can breed greater collaboration. SBF has identified and backed Serbians who operate joint ventures with Macedonians and Croats, as well as those who, with SEAF’s help, have been able to adopt Western management practices. SBF’s portfolio includes a chain of supermarkets, a logistics services company, a system integrator, a distributor of IT equipment, and a factoring company.