IFC unveils new initiative to drive investments for women entrepreneurs in Armenia

To help women entrepreneurs grow their businesses, attract funding, and generate more revenue, IFC, in partnership with the government of Japan, has launched a new initiative in Armenia. The program will help improve access to finance for women-owned businesses, unlocking their full potential and enabling greater participation of women in the country’s economy.

Access to finance is one of the biggest challenges in Armenia, especially for micro, small, and medium businesses, a majority of which are women-owned, according to IFC’s Women Entrepreneurship Study 2021. In response, IFC has developed a new initiative to help women-owned firms attract investments by improving their business skills and access to business networks, thereby addressing one of the key obstacles women entrepreneurs face.

Over the next 11 months the IFC Investment Readiness Program for Women-Owned Firms in Armenia program will provide women-owned firms with a mix of individual and group mentoring, coaching, and advice. The aim is to help them improve their investment readiness and soft skills, which are key for business negotiations and boosting confidence.

Fukushima Masanori, Ambassador of Japan to Armenia, said, “The government of Japan is convinced this extremely important project is in line with the times, as the role of women in business is growing every day in Armenia and around the world. We expect this project to provide women with increased opportunities to feel confident as entrepreneurs and in business, and we look forward to seeing many important outcomes by the completion of the project.”

Ivana Fernandes Duarte, IFC Regional Manager for the South Caucasus, said, “Though women play a critical role in economies as entrepreneurs, the obstacles they face often prevent them from unlocking their full potential. In Armenia, IFC’s advisory work aims to provide women entrepreneurs with the tools and resources they need to enhance their confidence and capacity, while driving inclusive growth.”

The program will include a series of networking events, aimed at expanding women-owned business linkages through new business networks. The focus will be on connecting small and medium enterprises with financial institutions to address limited access to finance. The advisory support will also aim to help large firms integrate women into supply chains, improving their access to business networks. The program is expected to help women entrepreneurs create more jobs in Armenia.

IFC’s program will be implemented by Enterprise Incubator Foundation and Granatus Ventures, in partnership with Gyumri Technology Center and Vanadzor Technology Center, in Yerevan, Shirak, and the Lori region of Armenia.

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