Nineteen beneficiaries of the project Start-up Business Support Program for Syrian Armenians are developing business plans as the next phase of a joint project by the SME Development National Center of Armenia and United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), which began on November 10, 2014.
According to BSC Founding Director Samvel Gevorgyan, project beneficiaries are Syrian-Armenians who have settled in Armenia and are willing to participate in the project, as well as refugees from Iran, Iraq and Azerbaijan, who want to start a business in Armenia, or who are already engaged in entrepreneurship. At the beginning of the project the beneficiaries had a chance to take part in a one-month training program on business planning and management, marketing, state registration procedures, taxation and other topics. As a result they became acquainted with the peculiarities of Armenia's business environment and acquired the necessary skills to set up their own businesses.
According to Gevorgyan, by the end of the year each of the beneficiaries will develop and present their business plans with the support of SME DNC and BSC consultants. Business plans cover various sectors, from the establishment of a medical clinic and manufacturing of iron molds to publishing magazines and preparing traditional Syrian food.
Based on the presentations, the committee will choose beneficiaries with the most realistic and innovative business ideas, who will then be given the opportunity to apply for preferential loans. Gevorgyan mentioned that BSC would continue to work with the selected beneficiaries during the next four months to provide them with support through individual consulting.
“It is important that the program not only provides preferential loan terms to Syrian-Armenians, but also to train them first through sharing the knowledge necessary to start and develop a business in the Armenian environment. Through these complex services we try to reduce unpredictable risks during their business activities as much as possible. Our primary goal is to equip them with all necessary skills to be successful entrepreneurs in their homeland,” Gevorgyan said.