ArmInfo. Today in Gyumri, the EU Ambassador to Armenia Piotr Antoni Switalski announced EUR 1 million Grant Scheme for Regional Development designed to promote culture and creative sectors for the benefit of Armenian citizens in Shirak region, the press office of the EU Delegation to Armenia reports.
The Grant Scheme will help building capacity in project management and funds management and directly support the development of the Shirak region. It will contribute to raising the economic competitiveness, creating jobs and reducing tendencies of outward migration.
The EU Ambassador stated: "The Pilot Regional Development Project in Shirak region is a strong tool, fostering culture as a catalyst for sustainable social and economic development. When I say culture, I mean more jobs in the creative and innovative sector. By emphasizing culture in the context of regional development of Armenia we mean building cultural bridges by integrating human capital, innovation, inclusion and infrastructures".
This is the second call for proposals under the Pilot Regional Development Programme Grant Scheme (PRDP GS). Until now the PRDP GS is the biggest regional development programme in Armenia, both in terms of the available funds and the geographical coverage of the programme. The overall objective of PRDP GS is to support the Government of Armenia in progressing towards a more balanced social and economic development between regions of Armenia via (1) creating economic opportunities and diversify economies in the ten regions of Armenia (support business climate, productive investments, cooperation among companies, especially SMEs, and related infrastructures), and (2) creating employment opportunities (provide relevant skills and promote sustainable employment, specifically in growth sectors, emerging and innovative sectors, especially among the young adults) in the regions.
The first call for proposals under the Pilot Regional Development Programme Grant Scheme (PRDP GS) was published by the European Union and the Ministry for Territorial Administration and Development (MTAD) on 14 September 2015. At the end seven PRDP grant contracts were signed with the EU and the Ministry of Territorial Administration. The implementation of the projects started at the beginning of 2017.
Now the second call for proposals is being launched which aims to select 1 or 2 additional regional projects to be financed from the remaining PRPD funds. Under this additional call for proposals, project ideas for Shirak region in culture and creative sectors will be invited. Jobs will be created and SMEs/enterprises registered in Shirak region will benefit from assistance. However, eligible organisations from all the regions can apply, if they find a suitable regional partner from the target region.
The overall objective of PRDP GS is to support the Government of Armenia in progressing towards a more balanced social and economic development among regions of Armenia. The specific objectives of this Call for Proposals are: (1) to create employment opportunities in Shirak region - provide relevant skills and promote sustainable employment in culture and creative economy sectors, especially among the young adults, and (2) to create economic opportunities and diversify the economy of Shirak region - support business climate, productive investments, cooperation among companies, especially SMEs, and related infrastructure in the field of culture and creative economy.
The available budget for this second call for proposals is almost 1 million EURO, of which 700.000 EURO is provided by the European Union, 175.000 EURO is added by the Armenian Government, and minimum 10% co-financing has to be provided by the applicants themselves. The overall budget of the project proposals (requested EU grant combined with the national co-financing and the applicant's own co-financing) must fall between the minimum amount of 486.000 EURO and maximum amount of 1.400.000 EURO. The selected projects should be implemented within maximum 24 months.
The selection of the granted projects will be organized through a two-step procedure. In the first round only a short document (so called concept note) has to be submitted by the potential applicants. The deadline for the submission of the concept notes is 24th of March 2017. The full project proposals will be elaborated only by the short-listed candidates. The grant contracts with the selected projects will be signed tentatively in September this year. During the whole application process the applicants will receive tailored trainings and intensive consultations from the Technical Assistance Team working under the EU funded programme "Support to Regional Development in Armenia. The programme and this grant scheme will not only support development of the regions, will increase their economic competitiveness and reduce migration trends, but it will also foster development of Armenia's capacity to manage resources in the regions and implement integrated development projects.