Armenian entrepreneurs in their retail shop
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.
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Modern computer sales center in rural Armenia
Dried fruit producers in rural Armenia