Tag Archives: IRIS Business Incubator

On 6 November, the newly established IRIS Business Incubator was launched through the EU-funded “Increased Resilience of Syrian Armenians and Host Population” (IRIS) programme. It was co-fund ed by the Austrian Development Cooperation and the Austrian Red Cross, and implemented by Armenian Caritas and the SME Cooperation Association.  With an overall budget for the EU IRIS programme of €3.3 million (€3 million funded by the EU Regional Trust Fund in response to the Syrian crisis, the ‘Madad’ Fund), €1.9 million has been allocated for the IRIS Business Incubator.

Andrea Wiktorin, the EU Ambassador to Armenia, highlighted that she was very excited to be present at the event: “This is a very important project. We are showcasing the EU’s commitment to supporting Armenia in key areas to develop a knowledge-based economy. We want to contribute to strong, innovative SMEs delivering high added value, creating jobs as well as boosting productivity and competitiveness. EU’s support to innovative SMEs is in line with the Government’s aspirations. It is an interesting field for the younger generation to get involved, to get good jobs and to help develop the country. The IRIS Business Incubator will also bring a new entrepreneurial mindset and positive changes to the business environment of Armenia. A major part of the support will be aimed at facilitating the businesses of Syrian-Armenians”.

The President of the SME Cooperation Association, Ruben Osipyan described how the idea came about for the IRIS Business Incubator: “The SME Cooperation Association has been promoting the improvement of the business environment in Armenia, in particular the development of SMEs. About 500 people have come together for our idea, and I think we will expand. The problems of SMEs in Armenia are many and are related to lack of financial resources but also lack of knowledge. We value infrastructure like IRIS Business Incubator to help SMEs become literate. This incubator will become an important link through which we will achieve success and show how to run a competent business”.

The mission of the IRIS Business Incubator is to enhance the economic integration of Syrian-Armenians and host populations through raising the competitiveness of the local economy, stimulating innovation and entrepreneurial spirit. Throughout the EU IRIS Programme more than 300 entrepreneurs will attend training and have the opportunity to work with coaches and mentors. 140 of them will get access to finance as well as a co-working area.