Syracuse, NY (May 1, 2012) — Rural livelihoods continue to improve in rural Armenia, where a Near East Foundation project in support of entrepreneurs is helping to rebuild the economy, diversify sources of income, and break the cycle of unemployment and poverty.
In the first three months of 2012, a total of six entrepreneurs received funding for their business ventures. The entrepreneurs are from four rural villages in the regions of Artsakh/Nagorno-Karabakh, Gegharkunik, and Tavush.
Each of the businesses has a different focus. The range of enterprises includes a beekeeping and honey production venture, dried fruit production, a souvenir shop, a bakery, a sheep-breeding farm, and a vegetable greenhouse.
Since 2008, NEF has worked with local partners in rural Armenia to promote sustainable local economic development by strengthening economic sub-sectors, such as the ones supported in 2012, where rural areas have a competitive advantage.
The program helps entrepreneurs at every stage of business development – from formulating a business plan to gaining access to micro-credit (capital) and providing ongoing mentoring and support services during the launch phase.
In Armenia, NEF approaches business development through a micro-franchise model that offers entrepreneurs with limited experience a way to start a new business with relatively low risk. Combined with the capital and technical support provided by the project, the micro-franchise model offers comprehensive guidelines in areas including: branding, employee training, business systems, customer service, and quality control.
For more information visit www.ruralarmenia.com.
The Near East Foundation is a U.S.-based international development NGO leading innovative social and economic change in the Middle East and Africa. Founded in 1915, NEF has worked to empower citizens in disadvantaged, vulnerable communities for almost 100 years. NEF field staff – all of them from the countries in which they work – partner with local organizations to find grassroots solutions to their development challenges. Our comprehensive “knowledge, voice, and enterprise” approach is helping build more prosperous, inclusive communities throughout the region. To learn more visitwww.neareast.org.