Tuesday, March 7 2017 16:23
Alina Hovhannisyan

EBRD provided three Armenian banks with financing by 16 million EUR for development of women`s entrepreneurship

EBRD provided three Armenian banks with financing by 16 million EUR  for development of women`s entrepreneurship

ArmInfo. Promoting inclusion as  a core element of successful economies the EBRD is launching the  extension of its successful Women in Business programme in Armenia to  the local lenders Ameriabank and ACBA-Credit Agricole.

Both banks joined the programme at the end of last year and are now  ready to provide loans to women-led businesses in accordance with the  programmes guidelines and goals.  Araratbank will shortly join the  Programme as well. Ashot Osipyan, Chairman of the Executive Board of  Araratbank OJSC, said: "Different loan products are regularly  developed and offered to women at the most favourable terms by our  bank. This project will enable women to implement their projects and  ideas. It will also provide an opportunity to create new jobs through  supporting economic growth. Women have great business potential and  we will contribute towards delivering it with to this vital  programme."

Armenia was one of the first countries to start the Women in Business  programme in the countries of the Eastern Partnership Armenia,  Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia Moldova, and Ukraine. The programme  promotes women's entrepreneurship and supports small and medium-sized  enterprises (SMEs) led by women through access to finance and  advisory services. 

The Women in Business programme in the Eastern Partnership countries  is funded by the EBRD, the European Union, Sweden and the Early  Transition Countries Fund. The EBRD made an initial contribution of  US$ 55 million to create credit lines for on-lending to women-led  businesses via local financial institutions to the programme in the  Eastern Partnership countries alone.

The programme helps women-led SMEs to access the finance and advice  they need to grow, offering financing through local partner financial  institutions, technical assistance for participating financial  institutions and business advice for women entrepreneurs. The  programme also includes advisory services projects with mentoring and  longer-term coaching. 

Mark Davis, EBRD Head of the office in Yerevan, said: "We believe  that when market failures are addressed, obstacles removed and  women-led SMEs are given equal opportunities, they can deliver in  terms of economic performance and job creation." The Government of  Sweden has allocated SEK 47 million (approx. ?5.2 million) to the  implementation of the programme in the Eastern Partnership countries.  Margareta Kristianson, Chargee d'Affaires a.i. at Embassy of Sweden  in Armenia, said: "Supporting the development of women's  entrepreneurship has been identified as the key for economic growth  in the region. Women's entrepreneurship is an important contributor  to the national economy, and the number of companies run by women is  growing at a faster pace than those run by men." 

A further ?4.5 million has been made available from the European  Union Neighbourhood Investment Facility to finance the credit  enhancement and part of the capacity building programme for partner  financial institutions. ?0.9 million has also been provided by the  EBRD's Early Transition Countries Fund. 

Piotr Switalski, EU Ambassador to Armenia, added: "The EU is working  all over Armenia to promote equal rights for all in any sector of  activity. The EU considers that Armenian women along with young  generation should play fully their role as a driving force of the  Armenian economy and the EU will invest more and more in those.   Armenian women-led SMEs represent a major opportunity in terms of  economic growth and the EU hopes that Armenian authorities will  consider this as well and make their business life easier."

In its new transition concept, launched at the beginning of the year,  the EBRD identifies six transition qualities: the Bank believes that  a well-functioning market economy should be competitive,  well-governed, green, inclusive, resilient and integrated.  The EBRD  is currently implementing the Women in Business programme in 16  countries.

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