Tag Archives: Pilot Regional Development Programme (PRDP)

On 8 December, an Arts and Crafts Centre was opened in Dilijan, followed by the official opening of the Dilijan Winter Bazaar. From now on, artisans and craftsmen from Dilijan and adjacent communities can take advantage of the opportunities the centre opens to create interesting items and souvenirs. The centre was established as part of the “Dilijan and Adjacent Communities Development Initiative” project. This project is being implemented by the Initiatives for Development of Armenia (IDeA) Foundation, DIS Properties Charity Foundation, the Dilijan Municipality, and Dilijan National Park. It is funded by the EU and the Ministry of Territorial Administration and Development of Armenia through the Pilot Regional Development Programme (PRDP).

4The PRDP Grant Scheme in Dilijan helps local people to become involved in rural tourism activities and profit from it. Local stakeholders are encouraged to acquire the skills to become the architects of the future of their own areas by adding value to local products and facilitating their access to local markets; safeguarding the natural resources which are in danger of disappearing; promoting the image of Dilijan and Tavush marz in general; recapturing the socio-cultural heritage of local communities.

3Small workshops located in community schools have been opened in Gosh, Haghartsin and Teghut communities. Thus, school students can also take advantage of these workshops and being their creative talent to fruition. The Arts and Crafts Centre and the three community workshops are equipped with furniture and equipment, with the space for twelve people at a time. Besides providing necessary work space for artisans and craftsmen, specialists working in the centre can present and sell their products at the Dilijan Tourist Information Centre, which opened this summer in the framework of the same project. The opening of the Dilijan Winter Bazaar, the first large-scale event in Dilijan of its type, also marked the day. The fair gave residents from Dilijan and adjacent communities the chance to sell their handmade goods two days in a row, and allowed participants to take part in interesting events, listen to musical performances by UWC Dilijan students, and buy presents for New Year.

1EU Ambassador Piotr Świtalski spoke of the support for the project and its implementers: “We are proud to be associated with this project. Almost two years ago we launched the PRDP Grant Scheme with the Armenian government. This was designed to help the Armenian marzes and boost economic growth. We selected several project in various marzes, and I am happy Dilijan’s project has been the most successful. This centre can help communities enjoy better lives, restore traditions, and promote Dilijan as a brand. It complements the picture alongside other activities made through the “Dilijan and Adjacent Communities Development Initiative”. You have wonderful taste and you can bring about change everywhere. People make this project successful and I want to thank you all. I hope you will be successful and Dilijan’s brand will be famous not only in Yerevan”.

On 2 September four new enterprises were officially opened in Vanadzor, Stepanavan and Alaverdi (Lori marz) through the support of the European Union. All enterprises started activities as part of the “Boosting competitiveness of regional SMEs” project. This is being implemented by the SME Development National Centre of Armenia and its partners.

^B2B958BA67C5A4AE02EAFAFBE65FB7BCAC8A0B4D7A6C8573E7^pimgpsh_fullsize_distrVigen Mnatsakanyan founded his business ARMBEE in Alaverdi to engage in the apitherapy business (healing through bee products) and apitourism. Ruzanna Hayrapetyan, the owner of Gandzak fast food and bakery in Vanadzor, has set up a new business on the site of an empty former furniture shop that belonged to her family. Arman Arakelyan founded “Lore” LLC in Stepanavan, which will provide hospitality services for leisure fans. Hamlet Tumasyan is the owner of a new guesthouse in Stepanavan.

^8ACCA18F69DA231F6E2D1918CD60DA728302274E27E69E08B4^pimgpsh_fullsize_distrArshak Grigoryan, Executive Director of SME DNC in Armenia (the project implementing organisation, presented the issues facing small- and medium-sized enterprises: ‘We believe that potential business people in Armenia have three main problems: lack of knowledge, lack of financial resources, and lack of market access. We are trying to deal with these three key issues during our activities and suggest solutions. Today, the share of SMEs in GDP is insufficient, but the current policy is aimed at improving that gap. This project is a part of that policy – these four enterprises have provided at least 30 jobs, and will soon boost revenue, which is beneficial both for their business and for the country’.

^46CB8BE11E532FD3E7AF09F09DB2B4146B3E82447074FA1AC6^pimgpsh_fullsize_distrLilit Apunjanyan, Project Coordinator of “Boosting competitiveness of regional SMEs”, was happy to see that, thanks to the EU-funded project, the enterprises which had received support were developing well: ‘The main goal of the project was to support SMEs. Many talk about unemployment, but when we talk to business owners, we understand that they cannot find a good workforce. Such projects help to fill that gap. We work in three marzes: our actions are the same, but the enterprises are different, depending on a marz’s peculiarities’.

“Boosting competitiveness of regional SMEs” is a two-year project launched on 14 December 2016. It is funded by the European Union and the Ministry of Territorial Administration and Development of Armenia through the Pilot Regional Development Programme (PRDP). The project is being implemented by a consortium, coordinated by the SME Development National Centre of Armenia. The total project budget is €1,604,808, of which the European Union contribution is €1,123,370. The overall objective of the project is to boost competitiveness of regional SMEs and create sustainable employment opportunities in Lori, Syunik and Armavir marzes. Expected project results include the creation of sustainable jobs at the local level; increased competitiveness of local enterprises; the establishment of new enterprises. The project consists of a range of consequent and complementary activities, with the main purpose of considerably improving the economic wellbeing of target groups and final beneficiaries.

ARS_8974On 17 August, the first Tourist Information Centre (TIC) was opened in Dilijan, Tavush marz, as part of the “Dilijan and Adjacent Communities Development Initiative” project. The project is implemented by the Initiatives for Development of Armenia (IDeA) Foundation, DIS Properties Charity Foundation, the Dilijan Municipality, and Dilijan National Park. It is funded by the EU and the Ministry of Territorial Administration and Development of Armenia through the Pilot Regional Development Programme (PRDP). TIC will offer comprehensive information to tourists and guests visiting Dilijan and Tavush marz. One of the key objectives of the centre is to boost the tourist attractiveness of Dilijan National Park and the adjacent areas, and to become a major platform for coordinating all tourism- and recreation-related events in the marz. The centre has given 6 people the opportunity to find a job.

ARS_9020Hoa-Binh Adjemian, the Head of the Cooperation section of the EU Delegation in Armenia, welcomed guests to TIC and congratulated the community: ‘The European Union is supporting the government to promote more balanced social and economic development in the regions of Armenia through creating new jobs and increasing economic competitiveness. This project is interesting for many reasons. It reflects EU support in Armenia and builds potential in Tavush marz. It marks the start of cooperation with the IDeA Foundation – the foundation, which has done a great job’.

ARS_9045Rafi Baghdjian, CEO of the IDeA Foundation, praised EU support: ‘IDeA Foundation is implementing various types of projects in Dilijan to transform the city and the region into a leading cultural, education, healthcare, and tourist hub. The establishment of the TIC with EU co-funding, as well as the renovation of the city park, start to create infrastructure necessary for Dilijan to morph into the “Davos in the Caucasus”, where tourists from various countries will be offered high-quality services’.

ARS_8946This two-year grant project aims to boost the tourist attractiveness of Dilijan and adjacent communities, thus boosting local economies. At least 330 people and 120 enterprises will benefit. Capacity-building help them develop tourism and hospitality in Dilijan and the wider marz, as well as lessen unemployment. 50 direct employment opportunities will be created through the project, allowing Dilijan City Market, Agro Pavilion, and the Arts and Crafts Centre to cater to both locals and visitors alike. The project will provide grant support of up to €5,000 to third parties. Beneficiaries will be enterprises willing to create additional employment opportunities for residents of Dilijan and adjacent communities. The total project budget is €1,195,000, of which the EU contribution is €780,000.