ArmInfo. EU-GIZ Support for the Small and Medium Enterprises Development in Armenia (SMEDA) project will be officially launched in Armenia this week. The project is estimated at 7 mln EUR and its partner is the German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ), Garegin Melkonyan, Armenia's Deputy Minister of Economic Development and Investments, said at a press conference on October 24. He noted that various events will be held to develop small and medium businesses within the next few years.
The Deputy Minister said that the agenda of cooperation with the EU is quite large. A support programme worth 45 mln EUR is underway in a variety of fields: as much as 29 mln EUR will be spent on justice, 25 mln EUR - on development of rural communities, 12 mln EUR - on human rights. In addition, negotiations are being held with the EU to launch a 15 mln EUR programme aimed at upgrading qualifications and creating new jobs, as well as a 10 mln EUR programme aimed at improving the state funds management policy, and a 5 mln EUR programme that looks to conduct civil society reforms. "An active phase of discussions is also underway to adjust the strategic directions of cooperation with the EU for 2017-2020," Melkonyan said.
Melkonyan noted that COSME, Horizon 2020 and other programmes imply consulting, improving opportunities, holding B2B events, enhancing access to finance and increasing financial support. He noted that the body approving the policy in SME field - the SME Development National Council - is cooperating with the European Business Association. This will contribute to involvement of European business structures in elaboration of the policy in this field.
Horizon 2020 is a major EU-funded initiative that couples research and innovation. Joining Horizon 2020 in 2016, Armenia has now full access to the EU's biggest research and innovation programme with nearly ?80 billion of funding, under the same conditions as their counterparts from the EU Member States and other countries. The programme's main national contact point for Armenia is National Academy of Sciences of Armenia; the programme also serves as a comprehensive platform for Armenia's public and private sectors to work together in finding and delivering innovative solutions. COSME is the EU programme for the Competitiveness of Enterprises and SMEs, running from 2014 to 2020, with a budget of ?2.3 billion. Armenia joined COSME as of January 2016. COSME will support Armenian SMEs in the following areas: Supporting internationalisation and access to markets; Creating an environment favourable to competitiveness; Encouraging an entrepreneurial culture.