ArmInfo. Armenia should seriously work on their image in order to increase the attractiveness for European investors. On February 20, in an interview to ArmInfo, East Invest2 project expert Christian Gessle expressed this opinion, Gessle arrived in Yerevan to participate in the final stage of the program East Invest2 within the "EU4Business" week. He stressed that to this end, in Armenia it is necessary to pay more attention to supporting small and medium-size businesses.
The expert sees the SMB development in Armenia in the context of cooperation with large companies, in particular through the establishment of sectoral associations. According to him, in the former Soviet space there are a lot of large enterprises wishing to work independently. Further, he explained that the European small and medium-size enterprises working with large, the result of which is the successful model of SMB development in Europe. According to the expert, through the creation of associations, will be easier to include SMB in the Government-private sector dialogue, which has a positive impact on their activities. "Today, 98-99% of enterprises in EU are the representatives of SMB", stressed C. Gessle. In this regard, the expert said that the Armenian government should pay more attention to the development of SMB, which will improve the economic activity and stop the outflow of young people to abroad in a search of a better future. "There is a lot of talks about the development of SMB, but it does not give effective results", he said.
At the same time, C. Gessle stressed the importance of East Invest2 project in the Eastern Partnership states in which conducted trainings on various topics (the correct positioning, negotiating with the government and other entities, analysis of activity, building a solid structure of the organization, based on voluntary membership methods of attracting new members and retaining existing members in the organization, the organization and implementation of measures and campaigns, etc.).
To note, the East Invest2 Forum, is organized by the consulting firm IMC (Institute Management Consulting) was held in Armenia for 5 times during the "EU4Business" week. According to the company representative Silva Mesropyan, the forum is attended by over 100s of SMBs every year and the number of businesses involved in the training counts up to 200 business entities.
East Invest 2 is a regional project to improve the investment and trade environment, aimed at the economic development of the Eastern Neighbourhood region, launched in the framework of the European Eastern Partnership initiative, which is aimed at promoting small and medium-sized businesses in the 6 Eastern Partnership states (Armenia, Ukraine, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Republic of Moldova) and has a potential for development of mutual cooperation and investment relations with the European Union. The project is funded by the European Commission in the framework of the "Eastern Partnership" initiative. Armenia participates in EU program "Eastern Partnership", adopted on the initiative of Poland and Sweden and approved at the EU summit in Brussels in 2008.
As of October 2016 SMB share in Armenia's GDP decreased to 28%, while the tax revenue from this sector to the budget amounted approximately 8-10%. In 2015, the share of SMBs in state's GDP decreased to 32% from the previous 32.4%, and the sector provided about 9% of tax revenues.
According to Armenian National Statistical Service, in January-September 2016, the total net flow of EU states' investments to Armenia amounted 86.7bln AMD, with annual growth by 2 times due to a substantial increase in investment flows from the United Kingdom, Cyprus and Luxembourg. According to the Armenian National Statistical Service, foreign trade turnover between Armenia and the EU in 2016 reached $1.2bln, with an annual growth by 2.1%. In particular, exports during the period increased by 15.9% to $478.7mln. The imports declined by 5.2% to $740mln.