ArmInfo. Sector of small and medium enterprises (SME) is driving force of Armenia's entire economy, Jeff Ferry, Head of EBRD Regional Programmes, Advice for Small Businesses, told ArmInfo's correspondent on the sidelines of the "SME Finances", two-day trainings that kicked off on October 26.
According to Ferry the EBRD Small Business Support (SBS) programme is based on this principle. The program is aimed at development of financial management of companies and improvement of organization of accounting. According to the expert due to development of financial management SMEs can hold more beneficial position for their further expansion via possible issue of bonds, which is important for attracting additional financial funds. One of the program advantages is that working with EBRD team of bankers the team of financial funds accessibility helps Armenian small and medium businesses to attract funds and increase financial accessibility. Ferry noted that one can find information about the EBRD consulting group's activities and potential beneficiaries of the program on the website of the organization or to apply to EBRD Office in Yerevan. In general, those SMEs that have certain experience and history can benefit from the program. We provide assistance to Armenian companies and those companies, shareholders of which are Armenians, as the program goal is to assist local companies", Ferry summarized.
On October 26 two-day trainings on "SME Finances" kicked off in Yerevan. The trainings are aimed at raising professional skills of local consulting companies for providing more qualitative services to small and medium enterprises. Tigran Aghabekyan, EBRD Small Business Support National Programme Manager, stated at the opening of trainings starting from 2003 consulting assistance was provided to small and medium enterprises within 1200 projects, for the implementation of which 9 mln EUR werre allocated. As a result of this assistance they received around 133 mln EUR. Aghabekyan noted that more than 94% of the projects were successful, while 70% of enterprises registered 8% growth of turnover in average, 65% of enterprises opened new job places.
To recall, on October 24 Armenia and the EU announced the launch of the EU4Business Week in Armenia. Running from 24 to 28 October 2016, the EU4Business Week will highlight the EU support to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) through series of events and include other activities facilitating private-public dialogue for the benefit of businesses both in the Eastern partner countries and in Armenia. EU4Business works with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the European Training Foundation (ETF).
To note, the share of SME in Armenia's GDP totals 30%. According to the latest data around 70 thousand SMEs operate in Armenia. At the same time by the year-end 2015 the share of small and medium business in Armenia's state budget incomes totaled 2.4%.