ArmInfo. EU funding programs (SMEDA), aimed at the development of SMEs in the field of culture and art in Armenia amounted to 6.4 mln. EUR. Said the head of the program "SMEDA" Iva Maria Naeer answering to the ArmInfo correspondent question during the roundtable on March 3.
According to her, the program was launched in Armenia in 2016 and will be implemented until 2019. "We aim to assist Armenia in the development of business associations, economic clusters, and administered by the SME statistics in this segment", she said.
The Program Manager noted that the choice fell on this sector specifically due to the high potential in terms of development prospects, in particular the establishment of new businesses, or the promote of existing ones in the field of film production, advertising, design and IT. She noted that the sphere of culture and art has never been a priority in European, but the highest growth is registered in recent years. "Today's economy makes a transition to a knowledge-intensive segments, which will strengthen the role of this sector in the economic development", stated I. Naeer. In particular, she noted that within the framework of implementation of the program is provided round tables, the formation of platforms, in which representatives of the sphere could negotiate, identifying the general directions of the problems and challenges. In this regard, I. Naeer added: "We aim to provide the skills and knowledge that will help in the search for alternative sources of financing other than banks".
To participate in the discussions, international experts were invited to the round table. Senior specialist of Tom Fleming Creative Consultancy Andrew Erskine answering to the question of ArmInfo noted that the main challenges facing today in the sphere of culture of Armenia relate to education. "I'm talking about the schools and on universities, where it is necessary to provide students with education that meet the requirements of the 21st century. Employers say that the youth does not have appropriate knowledge and skills to be competitive in today's economic realities", he stressed. According to him, financial and legal field in Armenia do not promote the development of culture and art. As additional calls expert noted the availability of markets for Armenia. "Armenia is located at the crossroads of two major markets - Europe and Asia, on the one hand is a favorable factor, and on the other, on the contrary, due to cultural, traditional, technical and other obstacles do not have the opportunity to develop fully the potential of the sphere", he said. In particular, Erskine noted the commercialization of developed ideas and concepts that must become the objects for sale. "Perhaps the reason for this is the Soviet legacy, because of which the country lacks a critical mass of people who have business skills", he explained.
To note, SMEDA program is implemented by the German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ). The National partner in Armenia is the company Deem Communications. The program is being implemented at the initiative of the "EU Business" and aims to develop skills of specialists in the sphere of culture and art, contributing to the systematization of cooperation networks and the provision of expert assistance to solve the urgent problems.