Creating Business and Supporting Women’s Entrepreneurship in Rural Armenia

Oct 30, 2012

Syracuse, NY (October 30, 2012) — NEF and its partners continue to help create and expand sustainable businesses that are boosting the local economy and creating new opportunities for rural Armenians.

Since November 2011, 13 rural startup businesses have received financing from the partners’ startup fund. Today the businesses are operating and expanding successfully.

The entrepreneurs are from rural villages in the regions of Gegharkunik and Tavush.

A lack of access to credit and finance prevents the rural poor – particularly women – from investing in the development of their communities, a crucial step to break the cycle of poverty.

Encouraging the development of women entrepreneurs is a specific focus of this project. In August 2012, a woman entrepreneur received 400,000 Armenian Drams ($980) in financing to increase the revolving funds in her clothing trade business in Gavar, Gegharkunik Marze. Two other women business owners in rural Armenia have received support for their sheep breeding enterprise and souvenir shop, respectively.

In September 2012, an entrepreneur from Gandzak, Gegharkunik Marze received 300,000 Armenian Drams ($740) in financing to start a car repair center.

Other small enterprises include agriculture, trade, and public services. In the Vardenik community of Gegharkunik Marze, two beekeepers have produced 500 and 900 kg of honey respectively, and are expanding their businesses by increasing the number of bee families. One of the beekeepers increased the number of the bee-families up to 20. Farmers in Khashtarak village of the Tavush Marze are engaged in cattle breeding.

The Zartnir computer center franchise launched by the project continues to operate and develop successfully as well.

In rural Armenia, the creation of small businesses allows entrepreneurs to generate income for their household needs. With loans – like the ones made available through this project – they can expand their enterprises, provide more services to the community, generate more household income, and stimulate the economy.

Since 2008, NEF has worked with local partners in rural Armenia to promote sustainable local economic development by strengthening a variety of economic sub-sectors, such as the ones supported in 2012, where rural areas have a competitive advantage. The program helps entrepreneurs at every stage of business development – from formulating a business plan to gaining access to micro-credit (capital) and providing ongoing mentoring and support services during the launch phase.

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The Near East Foundation is a U.S.-based international development NGO leading innovative social and economic change in the Middle East and Africa. Founded in 1915, NEF has worked to empower citizens in disadvantaged, vulnerable communities for almost 100 years. NEF field staff – all of them from the countries in which they work – partner with local organizations to find grassroots solutions to their development challenges. Our comprehensive “knowledge, voice, and enterprise” approach is helping build more prosperous, inclusive communities throughout the region. To learn more visitwww.neareast.org.

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