2013-03-20 | News
UNIDO Launches “Productive Work for Youth in Armenia – Supporting Young Entrepreneurs” Project

The United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) has launched a project entitled “Productive Work for Youth in Armenia – Supporting Young Entrepreneurs,” financed by the Government of Austria. The direct Government counterpart of the Project is the Ministry of Economy, while the implementing partner is the SME Development National Center (SME-DNC) in Armenia. During the Project implementation UNIDO will also have a close cooperation with the Ministry of Territorial Administration and the Regional Administrations of Shirak and Lori Marzes.

In line with MDG1 and the UNIDO mandate Poverty Reduction through Productive Activities, the overall objective of this Project is to support young people in their aspirations for entrepreneurial success, and to contribute to the creation and expansion of youth-led enterprises, thus promoting sound development of the local private sector and helping to alleviate the vicious cycle of poverty and social disparities.

The preparation cycle of the Project has been successfully completed while it currently enters into the implementation phase with pilot sites being Shirak and Lori Marzes. The Project’s main beneficiaries are youth start-up entrepreneurs aged 18 to 35 years, with a primary focus on young families and young women.

The Project launch ceremony was held at the Marriott Hotel, where the Minister of Economy, Mr. Tigran Davtyan gave a speech and welcomed UNIDO’s initiative for implementing such projects. He also conveyed a special gratitude to the Austrian Government for funding the Project. Mr. Mohamed-Lamine Dhaoui, Director of the Business, Investment and Technology Services Branch of the Programme Development and Technical Cooperation Division at the UNIDO Headquarters in Vienna presented the Project while highlighting its objectives, beneficiaries, and expected results.
SME-DNC is going to provide financial and non-financial services such as entrepreneurship and technical training, development of financial literacy and business skills, counseling and the required technical assistance. Given the limited absorptive capacity of the public sector and formal labor markets in Armenia, and the distinct challenges preventing youth participate in the productive sectors of economy, the Project attached a strong need in establishing a special fund to connect youth support functions with access to a special financial scheme. For this purpose Armenia Youth Entrepreneurship Fund will be established by SME DNC, with initial contributions of €200,000 from UNIDO and SME DNC and will provide young potential and existing entrepreneurs with access to a financial scheme needed to successfully realize their business ideas. This revolving fund will give out loans to selected young entrepreneurs for them to turn their ideas into profitable businesses. Further, UNIDO will carry out capacity-building activities for the local business support institutions.

It is expected that over 300 potential and existing young entrepreneurs (of which 50% women) will receive tailored entrepreneurship training, and that up to 80 youth-led businesses and start-ups will also receive access to funding via the Armenia Youth Entrepreneurship Fund, pay back their loans and that at least 55 of them will continue to grow, thus creating even more jobs for young people. Therefore, to ensure the sustainability of the businesses and to mitigate the risk of failure, further support will be provided to the young entrepreneurs beyond the start-up phase in form of training, monitoring, coaching and accompanying activities.

As a result, the Project will ensure economic growth by generating jobs for young women and men, and will help to develop a new and innovation-oriented mindsets among young population of the country, enabling them realize creative ideas and think “out of the box.” Support rendered will produce structural changes, prevent labor migration and will diversify rural economic activities, promote peace and prosperity, reduce urban and rural, as well as gender inequalities through promotion of productivity and an entrepreneurial culture in Armenia.

During the event Executive Director of SME DNC Mr. Varazdat Karapetyan, made a speech introducing the projects run by the Center, while the Head of UNIDO Operations in Armenia Ms. Anahit Simonyan made a presentation on UNIDO’s on-going and future projects in Armenia.

The launching ceremony was attended by over 100 participants, including representatives of key national counterparts, NGOs and the private sector.

Photo gallery from the launching event on Facebook 

Video material from the launching event on YouTube

UNIDO is the specialized agency of the United Nations that promotes and accelerates sustainable industrial development in developing countries and economies in transition, and work towards improving living conditions in the world\'s poorest countries by drawing on its combined global resources and expertise.

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