With support from generous donors like you, NEF has helped dozens of rural Armenians develop small enterprises, improve their income, and contribute to economic recovery in Armenia.
Now we are excited to share that this effort is expanding to help women who are victims of domestic violence, a widespread problem in Armenia. According to a study conducted by Amnesty International, nearly 60% of Armenian women reported experiencing physical abuse.
In this new focus, NEF is pleased to announce a partnership with the Women's Support Center. The Center is located in the capital city of Yerevan and serves women from other urban centers as well as rural areas.
Together we’ll help at least 50 Armenian women over the next 18 months. All of the women will receive training in job and advocacy skills. They will have the option to either pursue a job with an existing business or choose to receive management training and support to launch their own small micro-enterprise.
NEF and its local partners are currently researching the most viable types of micro-enterprise and employment opportunities for women in Yerevan and the next largest city of Gyumri. In May, we’ll begin training sessions with the women and with it their journey toward financial independence.
Your gift is helping entrepreneurs build strong businesses, create jobs, and contribute to the revitalization of their rural Armenian communities. Now, you are helping women find employment so they can build a new life for their families.
THANK YOU for supporting this critical work!
In 2012, the Near East Foundation continued to support entrepreneurs and economic recovery in rural Armenia with the help of our local partners, Business Pareta and the Gegharkunik Chamber of Commerce and Industry. The entrepreneurs operate businesses ranging from retail shops to an expanding network of computer centers in rural villages.
We've also supported many agricultural entrepreneurs. Agriculture is an important source of income in Armenia. In recent years, it has been estimated that nearly half of the Armenian workforce is employed in agriculture.
Here are a few examples of rural Armenian entrepreneurs in the agricultural industry who received support in 2012 with the help of donors like you:
Viktor Badalyan is a beekeeper in the Vardenik Village, Gegharkunik Region. He launched his beekeeping business in 1992 and today it has grown to 100 families of bees. Not long ago, Viktor thought he would have to sell 20 of those families to pay for operational expenses. Losing the 20 families would mean a decrease in profits and hurt the business he has worked hard to grow. A loan from the project prevented him from having to sell the bees and is helping his business expand.
For four years, Hasmik Tirabyan has been breeding sheep on her land near Khashtarak Village, Tavush Region. She was able to increase her herd of 20 sheep by purchasing six additional sheep with a loan from the project. The added sheep increase both her production and income potential.
An entrepreneur who has been gardening since 2009, Vladimir Khocharyan cultivates 7.5 hectares near Vardenik Village, Gegharkunik Region. Within three years, he planted walnut trees on 7 of those hectares. He received a loan from the project, and is expanding his operation by planting apple, apricot, plum, and sweet cherry trees.
Our investment in local entrepreneurs like these – in agriculture and in other industries – is supporting economic development in rural Armenia.
Your gift is helping entrepreneurs build strong businesses, create jobs, and contribute to the revitalization of their rural Armenian communities. Thank You!
NEF and its partners continue to help create and expand sustainable businesses that are boosting the local economy and creating new opportunities for rural Armenians.
Since November 2011, 13 rural businesses have received financing from the partners’ startup fund. Today the businesses are operating and expanding successfully.
A lack of access to credit and finance prevents the rural poor - particularly women - from investing in the development of their communities, a crucial step to break the cycle of poverty.
Encouraging the development of women entrepreneurs is a specific focus of this project. In August 2012, a woman entrepreneur received 400,000 Armenian Drams ($980) in financing to increase the revolving funds in her clothing trade business in Gavar, Gegharkunik Marze. Two other women business owners have received support for their sheep breeding enterprise and souvenir shop, respectively.
In September 2012, an entrepreneur from Gandzak, Gegharkunik Marze received 300,000 Armenian Drams ($740) in financing to start a car repair center.
The Zartnir computer center franchise launched by the project continues to operate and develop successfully. Within the next few months, the renovated Noratus center plans to add notebooks, net-books and pads to the selection of computers it offers for sale and service. The center is also making arrangements with banks to start selling computers on credit, which would make computer ownership affordable for more people. Another computer center located in the Geghhovit community is planning to move to a new site to upgrade its facility.
Other small enterprises include agriculture, trade, and public services. Farmers in the Khashtarak village of Tavush Marze are engaged in cattle breeding. In the Vardenik community of Gegharkunik Marze, two beekeepers have produced 500 and 900 kg of honey respectively, and are expanding their businesses by increasing the number of bee families. One of the beekeepers increased the number of bee-families up to 20.
These small businesses are generating income for entrepreneurs and their families. With loans - like the ones made available through this project - they can expand their businesses, provide more services to the community, support their families, and stimulate the local economy.
The Near East Foundation and its partners, Business Pareta and the Gegharkunik Chamber of Commerce and Industry, are planning to expand this pilot project based on its positive impact in rural Armenian communities.
Your support is improving livelihoods in rural Armenian villages.
October 17th is a Bonus Day when Global Giving will match a portion of your gift. Please consider a donation to create economic opportunities for more rural Armenians. Thank you!
Expansions and Renovations Increasing Services to Communities, Profits for Entrepreneurs in Rural Armenia
Participants in a Near East Foundation project in rural Armenia are flourishing with access to expanded modern services and new training opportunities.
In rural Armenia, access to IT services and amenities has been limited to only a few places. NEF is working with local entrepreneurs and partners to create sustainable businesses and training programs to help meet the growing demand and create new opportunities for rural Armenians.
In 2012 the opportunities have included driver’s education training, offered by project partners the Gegharkunik Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Zartnir franchised computer centers. As part of a pilot program, several centers installed “Practical Driving” simulator software on their computers to prepare participants to drive successfully and pass their driver’s license tests. For people who live in remote areas, obtaining a driver’s license is essential to having the mobility and capacity to obtain jobs at a non-walkable distance. In the future, trainings will be expanded to other computer centers within the Zartnir network.
In February of 2012 the Zartnir computer centers also succeeded in paying back the loans they received The Zartnir franchise of computer centers was launched in 2010 with support from the “Successful Start” Foundation, a program through the Gegharkunik Chamber. In February 2012, the centers successfully completed payback of the start-up loans they received. Now that the centers are established and independent, they are now able to offer new services to the community and update their businesses. These updates can have a significant effect on the influx of customers, and increase the computer center’s income.
In Noratus, for example, the computer center has been renovated to replicate European-style computer centers and better suit customer needs. Computers for internet use have been separated from computers used by children playing computer games. This has created a more suitable environment for each customer, and gives the center a more professional atmosphere.
The Vaghashen center is preparing to launch a new business venture – a 3D cinema. The franchise owner is collaborating with the Gegharkunik Chamber to create a business plan for the cinema, which will target a youth audience. Chamber leaders are supporting the business expansion and the center owner has received financing, in the amount of 350,000 Armenian Drams (just under $1,000), to buy a 3D projector. Currently, he is renovating a space to make it suitable for a cinema.
These expansions and computer center renovations aim to attract more customers and increase profits by increasing the variety and quality of services available to the community.
Rural livelihoods continue to improve in rural Armenia, where NEF’s project in support of entrepreneurs is helping to rebuild the economy, and break the cycle of unemployment and poverty.
In the first three months of 2012, a total of six entrepreneurs received funding for their business ventures. The entrepreneurs are from four rural villages in the regions of Artsakh/Nagorno-Karabakh, Gegharkunik, and Tavush.
Each of the businesses has a different focus. The range of enterprises includes a beekeeping venture, dried fruit production, a souvenir shop, a bakery, a sheep-breeding farm, and a vegetable greenhouse.
Since 2008, NEF has worked with local partners in rural Armenia to promote sustainable local economic development by strengthening economic sub-sectors (such as the ones supported in 2012) where rural areas have a competitive advantage. Our program helps at every stage of business development – from formulating a business plan to gaining access to micro-credit (capital) and providing ongoing mentoring and support services during the launch phase.
We thank you for your generous support, which is helping entrepreneurs build strong businesses and contribute to the revitalization of their communities!
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