EU and EBRD Support SMEs in Armenia to access finance and advise

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the European Union (EU) issued statements today on the importance of access to finance and access to know-how for the development of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Armenia.

“The development of SMEs is one of the priorities of the European Union and a clear target in our cooperation in partner countries like Armenia,” noted the Head of Cooperation of the EU Delegation to Armenia, Hoa-Binh Adjemian. “Programmes like the EBRD’s, which specifically aim at promoting and improving the work of SMEs here in an integrated way, are very important to achieving this aim. This is only one of several projects and facilities that are available to Eastern Partnership countries thanks to the European Union.”

The EU is currently a core donor to the EBRD’s advisory support activities to support to development of sustainable private sector in Armenia, which bring international best practice and local know-how to benefit of local SMEs.

Mr Mark Davis, the Head of EBRD Yerevan Resident Office, said: “It is necessary to develop viable private sector in Armenia that will enhance the supply chain and exports”. To ensure the development of a strong private sector, the EBRD in Armenia provides both finance and know-how to SMEs, including business advice in how to access finance.

“This is very relevant for Armenia as, in terms of finance,” continues Mr Davis, “the SME sector in Armenia is constrained specifically by lack of equity: therefore, the development of an active capital market is crucial for ensuring the further growth and development of the local SMEs while leading them to a higher level of sophistication”.

At the same time EBRD’s vast experience with local enterprises at pre- and post- investment stageshas shown that SMEs are often insufficiently prepared to present themselves to potential investors.

Under the EU SME Flagship Initiative, the EBRD has invited Mr Gavin Ryan, an international expert with over 25 years’ experience in financial industry and private equity markets, to share his expertise of exposing local SMEs to investment opportunities to grow and become genuine catalysts for their local economies.Mr Ryan’s successful experience as an investment banker in London and Tokyo with Nomura Securities and HSBC Investment Bank, and his knowledge gained as a private equity fund manager with Soros Investment Management will allow obtaining the best practice knowledge and offering more sophisticated tools to SMEs on engaging with investors.

As Tigran Aghabekyan, the National Programme Manager of the EBRD’s Small Business Support team in Armenia said, “We believe that businesses in Armenia need the professional know-how of experienced and qualified advisers to better present themselves and engage with investors. That’s where we come in. We connect businesses with qualified local and international advisers, and offer consultants lots of opportunities for continuous professional development”.

Another opportunity for such professional development is the tailor-made course on Management Presentation / Investor Factsheet Preparation for SMEs which Mr Ryan will deliver to financial advisers.

Mr Ryan said: “Both countries and companies are competing for the attention of investors. A quality factsheet should stand out, capture the attention of investors and make them curious to know more. It will do this only by both containing credible information and by presenting it well. The course will help financial advisers achieve this objective and thus better serve their clients.”

The training will take place on 23 and 24 October, in Yerevan.

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