Yesterday Yerevan hosted “Nurturing innovative growth in Armenia - Support and financing opportunities for innovative SMEs and startups” event, which was attended by more than 100 representatives of the public and private sectors.
The event was organised by “Support to SME Development in Armenia” (SMEDA) project, which is co-funded by the European Union and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and implemented by GIZ PSD SC Regional Programme. The event was organised together with the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).
The event participants discussed financing opportunities for SMEs, including crowdfunding, early stage financing, seed funding, venture capital, etc, as well as strong and weak points of the startup ecosystem.
Armenian Deputy Minister of Economic Development and Investments Tigran Khachatryan noted that SMEs are the backbone of economic development and innovation is the engine to promote the SME growth. According to him, support for SMEs and innovation requires proper mechanisms, which are not yet developed in Armenia.
GIZ Country Director Anne Kempa highlighted the importance of private sector development in order to generate economic development and to create jobs and employment globally.
“To achieve this, investment is needed and the role of traditional sources of financing such as private banks is decreasing, and alternative options have to be assessed and provided in order to develop new economic sectors and new trends,” Anne Kempa said.
According to EUD Head of Cooperation Hoa-Binh Adjemian, Armenia is a strategic region where European Union provides support in various sectors, aimed at economic stability and growth, among which are the innovation, education, science and ICT, cooperation with universities, etc.
“It is important that Armenia became an associate member of Horizon 2020 with an access to 70 billion EURO funding for research and development projects. The EU will continue supporting Armenia’s growth, promoting innovation jointly with the private sector,” said Mr. Adjemian.
EBRD Country Director Mark Davis noted in his detailed presentation on SME funding in Armenia that it’s important to get the basics right. “You have to sell, you have to produce some cashflow as an SME,” Mr. Davis addressed the attendees.
SMEDA Team Leader Eva Naeher said in her turn that innovation is associated to a “bumpy road” and SMEDA supports SMEs to have a smooth ride.
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