Boosting competitiveness of regional SMEs
The project works to boost the competitiveness of regional SMEs and to create employment opportunities in the Armenian regions (marzes) of Lori, Syunik and Armavir, focusing on the sectors of food-processing and tourism. It promotes the development of entrepreneurship by creating favourable conditions for start-ups and strengthening the capacity of local SMEs, while also providing relevant skills to job seekers, and developing local capacity to encourage the further promotion of economic development initiatives.
The specific objectives of the project are:
- To create employment opportunities in the Lori, Syunik and Armavir marzes of Armenia - provide relevant skills and promote sustainable employment, based on the assessed mismatch between existing skills and the qualifications actually needed by local SMEs, targeting young adults, and with a focus on growth sectors such as food processing and tourism.
- To create economic opportunities and diversify economies in the Lori, Syunik and Armavir marzes of Armenia - creating business opportunities for progressive young adults, equipping start-ups and growing SMEs with contemporary business skills, facilitating access to finance and markets, creating efficient public-private dialogue at local level and establishing a model business-enabling infrastructure as a marketing platform for local products and services.
Start-ups and functioning SMEs in the focus areas of food-processing and tourism in the marzes of Lori, Syunik and Armavir.
- Establishment of a roadside station (RSS) as a marketing infrastructure for local products and services in the Lori region; the RSS is a multi-functional sale and rest facility on the highway, facilitating the development of local production and tourism, and includes a local brand shop, an information/training centre, and a rest station,
- Market research on the food processing and tourism sectors and the planned RSS.
- Awareness-raising workshops and meetings.
- Promotion of entrepreneurship: building of entrepreneurial capacities among local young people and women entrepreneurs through ‘Successful Start’ campaigns contributing to skill development.
- Loan guarantee facility: the most viable business plans received during the successful start campaign will have an opportunity to apply for SMEDNC’s loan guarantee facility for start-ups.
- Job promotion: to address the issues of the mismatch between job seekers’ skills and required qualifications on the labour market, the project organises a series of sector specific and general business trainings for young job seekers.
The project is expected to lead directly to the following two major results:
- Creation of at least 60 new sustainable jobs at local level, including at least 12 quality jobs, 35 jobs for young adults and 30 for women.
- Increased competitiveness of at least 100 local enterprises, including at least 45 newly registered enterprises, at least 55 operating SMEs recording increase in turnover and/or increase in employment by 5% in average.