OUR NEWS

Armenian Young Women's Association

"Armenian Young Women's Association" (AYWA) was founded in


  1. AYWA is a non-profit, non-governmental organization comprised of young people united in their determination to improve the status of women in Armenia, regardless of political affiliation, educational/ cultural background, ethnic origin or religious outlook. AYWA's missions to lead social change and to achieve equality of opportunity and reward for all Armenian women, is an integral element in transforming into a just and productive society for all.
    The overall goal of organization is to strengthen the role of young women in all aspects of Armenian society. The activity of “Armenian Young Women’s Association” is particularly directed to young women, and concentrates on their problems both in Yerevan and in the regions of the Republic of Armenia.
    Realizing appropriate and joint strategy to solve current problems, AYWA manifests professional approach organizing educational courses, consultations, discussions and different types of events, involving larger audience.
    In some projects, AYWA gathers both women and men, thus raising the public awareness on Women issues and building healthy atmosphere between genders. AYWA works with young women between ages from 13 to 40. According to the Strategic Plan for 2008-2012 the approach for women (girls) from 13-18 and 18-40 ages is different.
    To find out more about AYWA, their partners and activities, please, visit URL: aywa.am
    Contact: Lilit Asatryan - lilit.asatryan@aywa.am

Coalition Building in Armenia

The Second Coalition Building Meeting took place on 25 March, 2016, in Yerevan, Armenia. The meeting was attended by the representatives of twelve different Business Support Organisations, as well as the Key Expert on Policy Christian Gessl. Newsletter Pic 3 The meeting was held in an open and constructive atmosphere, with discussions on a wide range of issues of mutual interest and concern, and allowed for an exchange of views on issues, such as what should the membership categories be, who could and how to become new members of the Coalition, what would be the best and the most suitable name for the newly structured Coalition, what would be its mission and vision, etc. The meeting lasted for almost 4 hours, resulting in agreements reached on the following:
• The name of the Coalition - "Business Advocacy Alliance"
• Business Support Organisations (BSOs), Business Membership Organisations (BMOs) and several "know-how" institutions could further become new members, after voting. However, before this procedure, any new member should be recommended to the Alliance by an already existing one, provided the incumbent complies with the already set criteria.
• Mr. Carl Ulbricht will draft the Memorandum of the Alliance.
After the discussion of these topics, some time was dedicated to analyzing several problems faced by the Armenian B&B Association. A questionnaire was further prepared to be sent out to all the Organisations and Associations with the view to finding out the main problems they face and assisting them in their settlement.
Contact: Christian Gessl - c.gessl@ueapme.com

Towards New Cooperation

During the joint BSO training on the second Activity Block of Membership, the experts convinced Mariana Rufa, Executive Director of European Business Association (EBA) of Moldova and Peter Byrne, General Manager of South Dublin Chamber of Commerce and Industry, that cooperation between the two organisations would be beneficial for them. They are drafting a cooperation agreement to present it to their respective boards and will hopefully be able to sign it soon. One of the aims of East Invest 2 is to bring together Business Support Organisations from different countries to share the best practices and cooperate. We hope to be able to present you with more success stories in the near future.
Contact: Mariana Rufa – mariana.rufa@eba.md
Peter Byrne - peter@sdchamber.ie

Armenian IT Delegation Is In Ethiopia

Following the initiative of the Union of Information Technology Enterprises (UITE) the representatives of the Armenian IT sector went to Ethiopia for a business trip. The purpose of the visit was to meet the leaders of Ethiopia's public sector and private companies, get a better insight into the IT market and build bridges of cooperation between the two countries. The Armenian delegation met with the Ethiopian Minister of Communication and Information Technology, Minister of Science and Technology, Minister of Health, the single largest telecom operator in the country “Etiotelekomi Ethiopia”, the Ethiopian military, the CEOs of the information security organizations, and the representatives of private companies.
“The meetings were being held in a constructive atmosphere of mutual confidence and cooperation. As a result, there were agreements of cooperation reached with all the institutions. We hope that the Armenian companies will get integrated and actively involved in a further cooperation,” stated the head of the delegation Mr. Hayk Chobanyan, UITE Deputy Director.
Contact: Hayk Chobanyan – hayk.chobanyan@uite.org

Armenian Lawyers’ Association

Armenian Lawyers’ Association (ALA), founded in 1995 by a group of the law students from the faculty of law at Yerevan State University, is an NGO based in Yerevan, Armenia. It is a respected, independent and influential NGO which has grown over the last 20 years to become a leading stakeholder in the country’s democratic development. It was previously registered as the Armenian Young Lawyers Association, but recently changed the name to reflect its increasing maturity towards legal and democratic development in the country. ALA focuses efforts in four areas: anti-corruption (policy dialogue, CSO coalition development and investigative journalism), promotion of women’s rights, legal education and free legal advice. It has 5 offices and a staff of 28 including consultants and volunteers. ALA has implemented a great number of projects independently and with the support of international donors during the last 2 decades. The scope of the projects is really large, and includes: fight against corruption, promotion of women’s rights, providing free legal services to the population, organizing schools for the law students and young lawyers. The organisation cooperated with different international organisations and agencies such as (EU, USAID, OSCE, IRZ,the US, German, Czech Embassies and many others). Information is available in the Annual reports that are published in the ALA’s website www.armla.am)
One of ALA’s main tools is its independent legal news website www.iravaban.net/en/, which is used to highlight key policy issues and influence public opinion as regards the reform agenda. It engages in investigative journalism as well as raising legal awareness among citizens (e.g.,via the programmes Informed Citizen, Power of Law) and contribute to the improvement of the legal field in Armenia by spreading information on different legal issues of both national and global importance.
Contact: Karen Zadoyan - karzadoyan@gmail.com

Resolving Infringement Cases Through Targeted Bilateral Consultations

In order to resolve priority and/or complex infringement cases with consistent difficulties, it was decided by the Minister of Foreign Affairs to organize targeted bilateral consultations with all involved actors. In other words, as soon as an infringement case is considered as a priority or becomes too complex, all administrative and political experts at the federal and/or federated levels are invited by the cabinet of the Minister of Foreign Affairs to discuss the case and find solutions. Following these consultations, the Minister of Foreign Affairs sends an individual letter to each competent Minister stating the conclusions and the proposed solutions.
Furthermore, and in order to ensure an effective follow-up, reports of these meetings are presented during Belgium’s Council of Ministers or Consultation Committee meetings (the latter is composed of an equal number of members from the federal and the federated governments, where matters concerning both the federal state and the regions and communities are debated).
Considering the high number of tax-related files (one-third of Belgian cases in the last scoreboard), these consultations were particularly helpful in order to reduce the number of Belgium’s pending infringement proceedings in that area.
These consultations have also been organized to deal with complex transpositions. URL: http://ec.europa.eu/internal_market

EU4BUSINESS Week in Georgia

A round table on coalition building in the aim to establish the SME Initiative Group was held in Georgia on 21 March, 2016. The welcome speech was provided by SME Policy Expert of UEAPME Mr. Christian Gessl, DG Grow in European Commission Ms. Simone Rave and Chairman of Business and Economic Centre (BEC) Mr. Archil Bakuradze. More than 30 leaders of local business associations discussed how to organise and maintain the Public Private Dialogue within the PPD Network and Economic Policy Advocacy Coalition (EPAC). Some ideas on this were brought by Executive Director of Business and Economic Centre (BEC) Ms. Natia Katsiashvili and Coordinator of East Invest 2 in Georgia on PPD Activity Mr. Nika Markozashvili.
To prevent the possible problems in building the coalitions and to describe the possible solutions for SME associations and PPD platforms in EU and Eastern Partnership the meeting was attended by the foreign experts. The President of the South Dublin Chamber of Commerce, Mr. Peter Byrne; the Director of the European Business Association in Moldova, Ms. Mariana Rufa; the Communication Expert of the National SME Platform, Ms. Anastasia Baklan, from Ukraine and the President of the SME Cooperation Association, Mr. Hakob Avganyan, from Armenia presented the best practices and gave some advice to the Georgian Business Support Organisations.
The live streams are available starting from 10:00am on the 24 March via URL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VcaNxPLZz9Q and on the 25 March via URL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XsuddylxKgA
Contact: Nika Markozashvili - nika.markozashvili@ppd-network.org

EU4Business week Georgia

Cecilia Malmstroem met with Georgian Businesses to discuss intensification of economic relations between Georgia and the EU. Impressive success stories were presented: Kiwis produced in Georgia for the EU market (not only) in highest quality, Chateau Mukhrani's high quality wines finding its ways to the EU through Marks's & Spencer and TBC Bank financing the Georgian economy. Around 70 participants from big business, foreign companies, institutions and diplomatic missions had an animated discussion with Mrs. Malmstroem and the Georgian Prime Minister. It was a pity that no SME Organisations were present at the event dispite the fact that SME support and SME contribution to economic growth and internationalization of the Georgian economy was

mentioned as a high priority.
Contact: Nika Markozashvili - nika.markozashvili@ppd-network.org

A Precondition of Better Regulation

In Brussels lobbyists do not hide in back rooms. What kind of people are lobbyists? They contribute to political decisions with their expertise. What all Europeans from Finland to Cyprus is allowed or forbidden, lobbyists contribute to the decisions. They are almost never seen in the media. This creates fear. What are they working on? And who is working there? Are the lobbyists pulling the strings? Brussels is definitely Lobby country. That means in the European legislative procedure lobbyists muscle in a lot. From scandal perspective this can be complained and lamented. One can even see it as the end of democracy. On the other hand one can accept this fact as an advantage for democracy. One can actually welcome it. I welcome it as a breakthrough for democracy. I always praise to lobbying. It is a Public Private Dialogue of all interested groups of the society to enhance the legislative procedure. In the next newsletters of the PPDnetwork I will explain some of the techniques of lobbying. It is an exiting field of work.
Contact: Ludger Fischer - eupublicaffairs@gmx.de

Taking Steps to Improve Anti-Corruption Law in Armenia

Since 2010, Armenian Lawyers' Association (ALA) has been active in fight against corruption in Armenia attaching much importance to anti-corruption reforms. In this scope the priority systematic proposals are Criminalization of Illicit Enrichment and creation of the Independent Anti-Corruption Body. ALA initiated the CSOs’ Anti-Corruption Coalition with over 70 CSOs.
Armenia has joint the UN Convention against Corruption, but has not criminalized the action under its Article 20, that is, a significant increase in the assets of a public official that he or she cannot reasonably explain in relation to his or her lawful income.

In 2015, an anti-corruption body headed by the Prime Minister and in composition of a number of ministers was formed. Only two places were allocated for CSOs. However the CSOs were against such development and boycotted the tender for participation in such council and thus they are still empty. Whereas ALA has proposed a model where the Council should be independent and operate on the basis of the relevant law. ALA has initiated and implemented analysis on the possibilities to criminalization of illicit enrichment and creation of the independent anti-corruption body and submitted the results to the Government and proposed to apply the recommendations in the development of the 2015-2016 Anti-Corruption Strategy of the RA. The RA Anti-Corruption Strategy and Its Implementation Action Plan for 2015-2018 was adopted in September 2015, and includes provisions for conducting analysis on criminalization of illicit enrichment and introduction of an effective independent institutional anti-corruption body. In addition illicit enrichment has been criminalized in the New Draft Criminal Code.
Having the aim to solve the above mentioned problems, on 23 September 2015, the RA Ministry of Justice and the CSOs’ Anti-Corruption Coalition signed a joint statement On the Establishment of the Government – Civil Society Anti-Corruption Working Platform and the Anti-Corruption Working Groups.
Contact: Karen Zadoyan - karzadoyan@gmail.com

OECD takes 50

The mission of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) is to promote policies that will improve the economic and social well-being of people around the world. The OECD provides a forum in which governments can work together to share experiences and seek solutions to common problems. They work with governments to understand what drives economic, social and environmental change. They measure productivity and global flows of trade and investment. They analyse and compare data to predict future trends and set international standards on a wide range of things, from agriculture and tax to the safety of chemicals. OECD also looks at issues that directly affect everyone’s daily life, like how much people pay in taxes and social security, and how much leisure time they can take. They compare how different countries’ school systems are readying their young people for modern life, and how different countries’ pension systems will look after their citizens in old age.
Drawing on facts and real-life experience, OECD recommends policies designed to improve the quality of OECD at 50 and beyond
• Today, we are focused on helping governments around the world to:!
• Restore confidence in markets and the institutions that make them function.!
• Re-establish healthy public finances as a basis for future sustainable economic growth.!

• Foster and support new sources of growth through innovation, environmentally friendly ‘green growth’ strategies and the development of emerging economies.!
• Ensure that people of all ages can develop the skills to work productively and satisfyingly in the jobs of tomorrow.
people's lives. They work with business, through the Business and Industry Advisory Committee (BIAC) to the OECD, and with labour, through the Trade Union Advisory Committee (TUAC). They have active contacts as well with other civil society organisations. The common thread of their work is a shared commitment to market economies backed by democratic institutions and focused on the wellbeing of all citizens. Along the way, they also set out to make life harder for the terrorists, tax dodgers, crooked businessmen and others whose actions undermine a fair and open society.
URL: http://www.oecd.org/

EU4BUSINESS Week in Ukraine

A seminar and round tables on Membership for business support organisations active in lobbying and advocacy took place in Kyiv, Ukraine on 14-18 March, 2016. The main aims of the seminar were to strengthen the institutional ability of the Ukrainian business associations and assist them in the creation of a productive dialogue with the government bodies. Experts Peter Byrne, from Ireland and Mariana Rufa from Moldova presented the experience in the Public Private Dialogue and answered questions of participants. Anastasia Baklan, was aIso present, and talked about the importance of the use of various communicational channels and web tools for the organisations, that would help them to progress in their field.
The business associations, that were present at the East Invest 2 programme, made the unanimous decision to unite in one working group form together the subjects of the upcoming seminars, and, what is most important, to prepare themselves for the meeting with the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), that will take place in Ukraine in summer, 2016.
From now on, East Invest 2 - Public-Private Dialogue will have video broadcasting from all the 6 countries of the project: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine.

EU4BUSINESS Week in Georgia

After the EU4Business week in Armenia, the next set of events is planned for Georgia. The key element will be the presentation of the SME Policy Index for Georgia. The OECD conducted evaluations of the SME Policy in the 6 Eastern Partnership countries in 2012 and 2015. They will present how the situation was in Georgia in 2012 and how and what had changed till 2015. They will also tell, if the situation has improved. More will be discovered during the event.
East Invest 2 - The Public Private Dialogue Activity will also look into the situation of Business Support Organisations and their Members. During a 3 day training EU and Eastern Partnership experts will share their knowledge and experience on how to attract new members, keep the existing ones satisfied and work more productively with them. High ranking delegations from the EU will be participating in the EU4Business Week in Georgia too.
Contact: Christian Gessl - c.gessl@uaepme.com

EU4BUSINESS Week in Georgia

While the Armenian Business Support Organisations take their first steps in forming an Alliance after having a very fruitful week of roundtables and brainstormings, Belarus and Ukraine share their experiences on how they built their roadmap, what were the reasons that brought all the people together and what they have already achieved.
Belarus currently has successful examples of cooperation between the public and the business community, whereas the process itself needs to be further intensified and systemized.
In practice, the initiative for the protection of SME interests needs a number of non-profit organizations representing major business associations. The Republican Union of Employers “BelUE " that brings together more than 100 enterprises, including 5 associations, is one of them.
The Union members are business associations; trade unions; educational establishments; commercial organisations. It collaborates with a number of partner organisations.
The goal of the Union "BelUE" is to lobby the interests of its members, to create an effective business environment, to promote trainings for employees and cluster development.
The Union "BelUE" acts on the basis of common interests, equality and autonomy of its members. General meetings are held each year, and the Board and executive management meet at least once a quarter. At the meetings they develop the strategy and define the priority areas of activity, as well as estimate the performance.
At the initiative of the Board or executive management, they may convene extraordinary meetings on topical issues. The Union works toward increasing the number of its members; each year, 20 new members join the Union. The Union "BelUE" actively maintains contacts with other business associations, including the foreign ones, as well as participates in joint meetings and implements various international projects. The associations (unions) compete with each other, thus facilitating their further advancement and contributing to the increase of their number that broadens their representativeness and role, and improves their financial condition.
As part of the dialogue between the public and business community, the value and the role of non-profit organizations in the public-private dialogue will increase.
In the Republic of Belarus, along with active involvement of representatives of the business community (including SMEs and non-profit organizations) they are involved, mainly in scope of public advisory councils at the ministries and departments, in the discussions of new regulations stipulated under law. In 2015, 64 Councils were in place.
It is proved that the efficiency of SME representatives in the public advisory councils should be increased with the view to consolidating their efforts. When nominating candidates from the business community in consultative,

This Newsletter is compiled in the framework of the PPD This Programme is Activities of the East Invest 2 Programme.financed by the EU. advisory and expert bodies, their activity level, representativeness of organizations and appropriate competencies are to be taken into account. To further increase the role of the business community in the dialogue with the authorities in Belarus, it is necessary to create a clear mechanism for considering business proposals and monitoring their implementation.
To tackle this issue, the experience of other countries should be shared and favourable business and investment environment is to be created. Finally, it should be stated that since 2006, more than three hundred and fifty proposals have been sold to improve the business climate in the Republic of Belarus, being set out by the National Business Platform of Belarus that represents the Republican Confederation of Entrepreneurship every year. At the XVII Assembly of business circles, to be held on March 2, 2016, the platform for 2016 will be presented. The National Coalition of small and medium businesses in Ukraine has its features. In 2014, 4 business associations from different regions of the country started to build the All-Ukrainian network of business support organisations, which was further called National SME platform. Discussions on the legal form of this association extended for one and a half years: is it to be registered in the state register, who has the right to be a part of the Platform, and the main thing - what governing bodies should have this organization? "Pulling of a blanket" among public organization leaders in the sphere of business support and development became the biggest problem at that stage. In Ukraine there is an ancient proverb: "Where two Ukrainians - there three Getmans", and in this case this expression is “in all its beauty". Instead of creating the Coalition, the process of formation of the National platform for small and medium businesses has turned into fight for leadership over the enterprise community in Ukraine. Only one and a half years later, in September, 2015, at the All-Ukrainian Conference of Small and Medium Business in Kiev, a decision was taken not to have a leader and to have a separate Coordination Center, the Center of the International Private Business (CIPE). The responsibility for decision-making was equally vested in members of the National SME platform; respectively, one organization - one voice. They decided to have three types of membership: member associations; not member organizations and analytical centers. This enables distinguishing the spheres of responsibility and capturing the opinions of the business of community in different regions of the country.
As of the beginning of 2016, more than 70 organizations from 15 regions of Ukraine have been the members of the National SME platform. To maintain communication, the SME Platform website, the page in Facebook, the network members’ mails and advocacy-campaigns were developed. In October-December, 2015, the AllUkrainian advocacy campaign on support of the simplified taxation system was held in Ukraine, which resulted in adoption by the authorities of the budget based on the former Tax Code. Hence, the consolidation of efforts through the National SME platform proved to be effective while protecting the legitimate rights of businesses in Ukraine.
Contacts:
From Belarus - Natalia Garbuz - natalina-moj@mail.ru
From Ukraine - Anastasia Baklan - nastya.baklan@gmail.ru

EU4BUSINESS Week in Georgia.

After the EU4Business week in Armenia, the next set of events is planned for Georgia. The key element will be the presentation of the SME Policy Index for Georgia. The OECD conducted evaluations of the SME Policy in the 6 Eastern Partnership countries in 2012 and 2015. They will present how the situation was in Georgia in 2012 and how and what had changed till 2015. They will also tell, if the situation has improved. More will be discovered during the event.
East Invest 2 - The Public Private Dialogue Activity will also look into the situation of Business Support Organisations and their Members. During a 3 day training EU and Eastern Partnership experts will share their knowledge and experience on how to attract new members, keep the existing ones satisfied and work more productively with them. High ranking delegations from the EU will be participating in the EU4Business Week in Georgia too.
Contact: Christian Gessl - c.gessl@uaepme.com

Belarus and Ukraine Share Their Success Stories.

While the Armenian Business Support Organisations take their first steps in forming an Alliance after having a very fruitful week of roundtables and brainstormings, Belarus and Ukraine share their experiences on how they built their roadmap, what were the reasons that brought all the people together and what they have already achieved. Belarus currently has successful examples of cooperation between the public and the business community, whereas the process itself needs to be further intensified and systemized. In practice, the initiative for the protection of SME interests needs a number of non-profit organizations representing major business associations. The Republican Union of Employers “BelUE " that brings together more than 100 enterprises, including 5 associations, is one of them. The Union members are business associations; trade unions; educational establishments; commercial organisations. It collaborates with a number of partner organisations. The goal of the Union "BelUE" is to lobby the interests of its members, to create an effective business environment, to promote trainings for employees and cluster development. The Union "BelUE" acts on the basis of common interests, equality and autonomy of its members. General meetings are held each year, and the Board and executive management meet at least once a quarter.
At the meetings they develop the strategy and define the priority areas of activity, as well as estimate the performance. At the initiative of the Board or executive management, they may convene extraordinary meetings on topical issues. The Union works toward increasing the number of its members; each year, 20 new members join the Union.

This Newsletter is compiled in the framework of the PPD This Programme is Activities of the East Invest 2 Programme.financed by the EU.
The Union "BelUE" actively maintains contacts with other business associations, including the foreign ones, as well as participates in joint meetings and implements various international projects. The associations (unions) compete with each other, thus facilitating their further advancement and contributing to the increase of their number that broadens their representativeness and role, and improves their financial condition.
As part of the dialogue between the public and business community, the value and the role of non-profit organizations in the public-private dialogue will increase. In the Republic of Belarus, along with active involvement of representatives of the business community (including SMEs and non-profit organizations) they are involved, mainly in scope of public advisory councils at the ministries and departments, in the discussions of new regulations stipulated under law. In 2015, 64 Councils were in place.
It is proved that the efficiency of SME representatives in the public advisory councils should be increased with the view to consolidating their efforts.
When nominating candidates from the business community in consultative, advisory and expert bodies, their activity level, representativeness of organizations and appropriate competencies are to be taken into account. To further increase the role of the business community in the dialogue with the authorities in Belarus, it is necessary to create a clear mechanism for considering business proposals and monitoring their implementation.
To tackle this issue, the experience of other countries should be shared and favourable business and investment environment is to be created.
Finally, it should be stated that since 2006, more than three hundred and fifty proposals have been sold to improve the business climate in the Republic of Belarus, being set out by the National Business Platform of Belarus that represents the Republican Confederation of Entrepreneurship every year. At the XVII Assembly of business circles, to be held on March 2, 2016, the platform for 2016 will be presented.
The National Coalition of small and medium businesses in Ukraine has its features. In 2014, 4 business associations from different regions of the country started to build the All-Ukrainian network of business support organisations, which was further called National SME platform. Discussions on the legal form of this association extended for one and a half years: is it to be registered in the state register, who has the right to be a part of the Platform, and the main thing - what governing bodies should have this organization? "Pulling of a blanket" among public organization leaders in the sphere of business support and development became the biggest problem at that stage. In Ukraine there is an ancient proverb: "Where two Ukrainians - there three Getmans", and in this case this expression is “in all its beauty". Instead of creating the Coalition, the process of formation of the National platform for small and medium businesses has turned into fight for leadership over the enterprise community in Ukraine. Only one and a half years later, in September, 2015, at the All-Ukrainian Conference of Small and Medium Business in Kiev, a decision was taken not to have a leader and to have a separate Coordination Center, the Center of the International Private Business (CIPE). The responsibility for decision-making was equally vested in members of the National SME platform; respectively, one organization - one voice. They decided to have three types of membership: member associations; not member organizations and analytical centers. This enables distinguishing the spheres of responsibility and capturing the opinions of the business of community in different regions of the country.
As of the beginning of 2016, more than 70 organizations from 15 regions of Ukraine have been the members of the National SME platform. To maintain communication, the SME Platform website, the page in Facebook, the network members’ mails and advocacy-campaigns were developed. In October-December, 2015, the AllUkrainian advocacy campaign on support of the simplified taxation system was held in Ukraine, which resulted in adoption by the authorities of the budget based on the former Tax Code. Hence, the consolidation of efforts through the National SME platform proved to be effective while protecting the legitimate rights of businesses in Ukraine.

EU4BUSINESS Week in Armenia. Success Story with Real Results.

The EU4Business week in in Armenia ended with:
• A clear statement of Vice Minister of Economy Garegin Melkonyan inviting Business Support Organisations to engage in Public Private Dialogue
• A clear request to the Business Support Organisations “Family” to come up with suggestions
• A large group of representatives from Business, Administration and Business Support Organizations trained on Export Finance, Export Promotion and Communication
• An intensified coordination and cooperation among project implementers started
• A clear commitment of 9 Business Support Organisation to unite and engage in dialogue with the Government
At the opening event (Hyatt Place, 22 February 2016) Mr. Garegin Melkonyan, First Deputy Minister of Economy of the Republic of Armenia hold a speech, mentioning that both the Public and the Private sector will profit from intensified Public Private Dialogue. His invitation to engage was

This Newsletter is compiled in the framework of the PPD This Programme is Activities of the East Invest 2 Programme.financed by the EU. welcomed by the Business Support Community. February 23, 2016 was dedicated to the SME Policy Index presented by OECD on their event in Erebuni Plaza. Business Support Organisations were prepared for this event beforehand in the framework of the East Invest 2 – Public Private Dialogue Seminar and Round Table. Business Support organizations voiced their interested in participating in the process of drafting a national action plan on SME Policy and in a roadmap for implementation. Vice Minister of E c o n o m y, M r. G a r e g i n Melkonyan repeated his offer to dialogue and invited BSOs to come up with proposals. BSOs will present the Ministry with a list of their priority issues. February 25, 2016 was dedicated to closer cooperation and coordination among implementers of EU projects in Armenia and the Business Support Organisations met for their first Round Table to discuss the forming of a Reform coalition. In an almost 4 hour intense discussion and negotiation process a first draft of a memorandum was edited and a roadmap for further meetings and discussions set. 9 Business Support Organisations will form this coalition and got advice from the EU and EaP experts present. Natalia Harbuz from Belarus and Anastasia Baklan from Ukraine gave insight in their prior experience of coalition building and together with Dennis Bazilevych and Christian Gessl will further support the initiative. February 24 and 26, 2016 were dedicated to the training on Communication in Public Private Dialogue and Advocacy.
Contacts: Christian Gessl - c.gessl@ueapme.com,
Yeva Zeynalyan - yeva.zeynalyan@ppd-network.org

Improving Moldovian Financial Institutions.

The Association of Microfinance Organisations was established on January 12th, 2016 in Moldova. Now they are in process of registering their status officially in the Ministry of Justice in Moldova. The founders of the Association are 5 Microfinance Organisations: "Smart Credit", "Credite Pentru Toti", "Priminvestnord", "OK Credit" and "Ideal Credit". They represent such regions of Moldova as Ungheni, Soroca, Causeni and Chisinau.
The scopes of Association are:
• to sustain, represent AOM members' interests of in relationship with Moldovan and International Institutions,!
• to prepare and organise trainings for HR of members of AOM,!

• to contribute in development of standards of serving clients in MFOs,!
• to search potential partners for financing social inclusion of clients of MFOs,! etc.
The vital necessity of AOM is due to the lack of such institutions that represent Microfinance Institutions (MFIs) in Moldova. During 2010 they had 3 meetings and discussed acute problems of MFIs: as new restrictions in activity of MFIs due to project of new law for MFOs, inefficient and slow justice processes for bad debts and exchange info about internal procedures in activity of MFIs. The first action of AOM was a letter from the 10th of October, 2015 to the Prime Minister of Moldova and National Commission on Financial Market, signed by 10 MFOs as a reaction to project of new law for MFIs.
As a result, at the end of 2015, they participated in 2 meeting with National Commission on Financial Market, where some of their proposals were taken into account.
Contact: Sergiu Cozmolici - sergiucozmolici@yahoo.com!

Small Business Standards: SME Friendly Standards.

Small Business Standards (SBS) is a European non-profit association established with the support of the European Commission to represent European SMEs in the standard making process at European and international levels. The SBS goal is to represent and defend SME interests in the standardisation process at European and international level. Moreover, it aims at raising SME awareness about the benefits of standards and at encouraging them to get involved in the standardisation process.SBS was created to meet the European Union’s aspiration to make the standardisation system as inclusive, transparent and open as possible. Standardisation is an important instrument for the European internal market policy. It is a way to strengthen innovation in promoting competitiveness. In this context, SMEs have an important role to play since they represent 99% of the European companies.The application of standards ensures SMEs decisive advantages such as: enlarging the potential market for products, facilitating product compliance, lowering transaction costs, achieving economies of scale, reducing external effects like environmental impact, improving compatibility and interoperability and simplifying product development, improving management systems and more.To learn more about Small Business Standards and how you could gain with its help, please, visit URL:

http://sbs-sme.eu/sme-involvement/standards-and-smes

UEAPME- The Voice of SMEs in Europe.

The European Association of Craft, Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises or UEAPME (Union Européenne de lʼArtisanat et des Petites et Moyennes Entreprises) is an umbrella group for associations of SMEs based in Brussels, Belgium. It is a recognised European Social Partner and acts on behalf of crafts and SMEs in the European Social Dialogue and in discussions with the EU institutions. UEAPME is a non-profit seeking and non-partisan organisation.
Founded in 1980, UEAPME incorporates more than 80 member organizations across the whole Europe and represents over 12 million enterprises with about 55 million employees. The main objectives of UEAPME, as the voice of crafts, trades and SMEs, are, inter alia, to monitor the EU policy and legislative process; to keep its members informed on all matters of the European Union policy of relevance to crafts, trades and SMEs; to represent and promote the interests, needs and opinions of its member organisations in regard to the EU institutions and other international organizations, etc.
To learn more about UEAPME, its objectives and strategy, current and past projects, please, visit http:// ueapme.com/.

EU4BUSINESS Week in Armenia 2016.

Yerevan prepares for the EU4 Business Week 2016 to host representatives for the European Union, OECD.and project implementers. It was the idea of Ludovic Ciechanowski to bring them all together in one week to coordinate and present them.
One core element of the week will be the presentation of the SME Policy Index findings.on Tuesday afternoon by the OECD team, Daniel Quadbeck, Franceso Alfronso and Meryem Torun. There will be a Round table to prepare Business Support Organizations for the OECD seminar and OECD SME and another one to discuss their involvement in SME Policy Making.Another core event will be the three days training on Communication in Public Private Dialogue, Advocacy and Lobbying. This training is financed by the European Union (East Invest 2).organized by UEAPME and targets the management of Business Support Organizations. International experts like Ludger Fischer,a lifelong lobbyist in Brussels, Christian Gessl from Austria, and Anastasia Baklan and Dennis Bazilevych from Ukraine will participate will share their knowledge and expertise with the representatives of Armenian, Associations, Business Support Organizations, etc. For more information contact:
Anjela Mouradyan - anjelamouradyan53@gmail.com
Diana Sarumova - diana.sarumova@eba.am
Yeva Zeynalyan - yzeynalyan@yahoo.com

The Importance of NGOs and BSOs for the Economic Development of a Country.

On the 11th of December 2015, the EU Project “East Invest 2”, in cooperation with the USAID project G4G (Governing for Growth), organized an open lecture at Tbilisi New University and Gori State Technical University. About 42 students were availed of the opportunity of advancing their knowledge about the role of Non-Governmental Organizations and Business Support Organizations for the country development. International consultants from “East Invest 2” discussed the importance of NGO’s and BSO’s in Public-Private Dialogue, advocacy and business support processes. In addition, students acquired information regarding job profiles, lobbyist job on both national and European level, and learned about the EU best practices. The representative of “Governing for Growth” (G4G) Project introduced the internship program and encouraged the students to be actively involved in the project and to cooperate with it. G4G presented also the upcoming youth strengthening events. The students were motivated and inspired to learn more about business support organizations, to meet their representatives and to continue their carrier in the NGO sector. preparation of

agreements, defining project ideas targeting the set objectives.
Contact: Maya Eristavi - meristavi@g4g.ge

SME Cooperation Association NGO

SME Cooperation Association NGO is a public organisation established in February 2014, in Armenia by the founding Assembly of the Association, and officially registered in April 10, 2014. The Association is ruled by a Board, which consists of seven members, founders of different companies and heads of different organizations, elected to represent different aspects of the business environment. “SME Cooperation Association” NGO is created to support already operating or newly created small and medium enterprises in Armenia, to improve their business environment and protect their interests. It pursues the goal of achieving its common objectives by means of cooperation with public authorities and other local and international organizations in the field, as well as increasing the trust of businesses to the business unions in the sphere, combining the problems of small businesses at one place to be comprehensively and competently presented to the Government. The main objectives of the Association are: to improve the sphere of business interest protection in the Republic of Armenia; to enhance the role of business unions, representing business interests; to increase the trust of the business sector towards our organization; to ensure Public-Private dialogue; to submit business proposals for legislative reforms; to protect business interests violated by the public authorities, whether an individual case or holistically; to conduct seminars for business awareness raising; to support local manufacturers in their entry into European markets and exporting their goods; to establish clear business advocacy, such as business ombudsman; to promote foreign investments in the Republic; to take over the responsibility of protecting any newly created company’s interests from the moment of its establishment.
More on the Association website: www.sme.am
Contact: Angela Muradyan - info@sme.am

PPD – The Public Private Dialogue, What’s That?

Private institutions are very much interested in getting public institutions to know about their needs and possibilities. Public institutions, on the other hand, are interested to know about these needs. They need to implement new rules and this is much easier if private institutions have been involved in the creation of legislation. This is an understanding of law that involves those to follow it from the very beginning of the designing process.Companies, associations and any non-governmental organisations get the chance and even are invited to give their input to this procedure. The benefit is obvious for all: Better legislation, better implementation, better understanding why a general or a specific regulation provides gain to avast majority. Democratic structures are strengthened by a good understanding of the Public Private Dialogue.The Public Private Dialogue Activity contributes to this process. It is one of the activities of East Invest 2 and it is implemented in all of the six EasternPartnership Countries as Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine. The East Invest 2 project is funded by the European Commission and implemented by a consortium of EUROCHAMBRES, the European umbrella association of Chambers of Commerce & Industry and UEAPME, the European umbrella organisation for small and medium sized enterprises. They are happy to be able to contribute to this process.
Contact: Christian Gessl - c.gessl@ueapme.com