Tag Archives: Start-up Europe Week Yerevan 2019

On 15 March the EU Delegation to Armenia organised an informational visit to innovative companies and start-ups which have received technical and financial support through the “Support to SME Development in Armenia” (SMEDA) project to get acquainted with the results achieved through the EU support. The visit was attended by the EU Ambassador to Armenia Piotr Świtalski.

20SMEDA is co-funded by the European Union and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and implemented by GIZ’s Private Sector Development in South Caucasus Programme. SMEDA forms part of the EU4Business and EU4Innovation initiatives of the European Union in the Eastern Partnership (EaP) countries. To enable broad-based growth in Armenia, SMEDA focuses on the main objective to improve the general business and investment climate in Armenia, and to create a supportive entrepreneurial environment which fosters development and creation of small- and- medium enterprises. The project has been supporting Armenian start-ups with two types of grant – Innovation Matching Grants (IMG) and Science and Technology Entrepreneurship (STEP) grants. The total budget of the project is €6.53 million (EU contribution is €6.4 million); it was launched on 1 January 2016 and will run till 31 December 2019 (48 months).

19The project achieved tangible results in supply side-orientated start-up support: 224 new jobs were created due to participation in the programme; there have been 45 new ideas in the market for new products and services; 22 companies were newly established due to participation in the programme; additionally, at least €400,000 in investment was attracted; 2,063 participated in training, workshops and boot camps; 65 startups were supported; 33 companies have received EU IMG and STEP seed grants. Both grants target tech-orientated SMEs and projects. In the first cycle, companies received 8 IMG and 5 STEP grants (selection in 2017) which offered €15-50k in funding for 12 months. In the second cycle, companies received 6 IMG and 15 STEP grants (selection in 2018) with up to €30k for 9 months and between €4-15k funding for 6 months.

1During the visit the EU Ambassador mentioned: “Our German partners are implementing this flagship project, SMEDA, it is still running. This project is very important for the EU. We want to show to Armenians that the EU wants to be seen as the ambassador for SME enterprise and innovation. We believe that SMEs can become a very important engine of growth in Armenia. They constitute great untapped potential for the economy. The way forward for Armenia is through innovation. Baring in mind Armenia’s intellectual potential and human capital, we believe that this fusion of SMEs and innovation can bring a lot of benefits to the country. We are glad that the current government shares this philosophy. The fact we are on the same page opens new possibilities for future cooperation. On our side, as a symbolic act, we will extend cooperation with GIZ, adding €3 million to support SMEs, particularly start-up initiatives in technology. Today we will inaugurate the Start-up Europe Week Yerevan 2019. This week is not only about publicising EU commitment and support, but also publicising the success stories of real Armenian businesspeople who are trying to put SMEs at the centre of attention”.