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Armenia kicks off SBA assessments in EU Eastern Neighbourhood

Thematic Area: ; Entrepreneurial learning and enterprise skills
Year/Date: 14/10/2014

Armenia kicksoff EU Eastern Neighbourhoods SME policy assessments

Key stakeholders representing government, business and civic interest groups gathered in Yerevan, Armenia’s
capital city, 6-8 October, to review progress of the country on human capital development. This forms part of a wider review of SME policy.

The assessment involved intensive discussions around a set of indicators which make up a wider policy index of the Small Business Act for Europe (SBA). The policy index involves a battery of indicators employed by the European Commission to track progress of the countries in the EU Eastern Neighbourhood on enterprise policy.

‘We find a range of interesting initiatives on entrepreneurial learning but a system-building approach is now needed to capitalise on the experience. We are recommending a more ‘joined-up’ lifelong entrepreneurial learning framework. This will require more developed policy commitment by the education authorities, in particular,’ says Milena Corradini, ETF’s country manager for Armenia.  

The SBA assessment focuses on how entrepreneurship is addressed across the entire education and training system. It also focuses on the human capital of SMEs. A final area addresses training for women’s entrepreneurship.

‘The most significant development on SME skills is more developed data and intelligence on enterprise training. This is critical for policy development,’ says ETF’s Denise Loughran who facilitated the SBA workshops.  ‘We are also pleased to see improved efforts to boost skills for businesses with a growth perspective,’ continues Loughran.

According to Loughran, a High-Level Council for Women reporting directly to the Prime Minister provides an excellent opportunity to push forward the women’s entrepreneurship agenda. Andranik Aleksanyan, President  of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Yerevan, says improving women’s entrepreneurship is a key objective his Chamber. At the workshop in Yerevan, Mr Aleksanyan underlined the importance of providing support to women starting their own business and combining business and family life.

The SBA workshops were called by the Ministry of Economy and hosted by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Republic of Armenia.

The Armenian SBA review kicked-off a series of assessments which will follow in  all countries from the EU’s Eastern Neighbourhood in late 2014-5015. A report covering all countries will be published in Autumn 2015.

The SBA assessments are a core pillar of ETF policy support to its partner countries. They focus on progress and challenges as well as highlighting good practice. The human capital dimensions of the SBA are assessed alongside other policy areas (e.g. SME access to finance and SME regulatory frameworks) undertaken by the European Commission, OECD and EBRD.

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