Women’s Entrepreneurship Day provides the perfect moment for an update from our action with AGBU Europe via which diaspora professionals support women entrepreneurs in Armenia.
The last few months have seen a huge flurry of activity in our work with Armenian General Benevolent Union (AGBU) Europe to empower women entrepreneurs in Armenia with support from the diaspora. Mentoring plays a big role in this collaboration and there have now been 14 mentoring sessions led by 14 diaspora professionals, attended by over 140 women entrepreneurs in Armenia!
Building on AGBU’s Women Entrepreneurship (WE) programme which began in 2017, this exciting Capacity Development Lab action provides an opportunity for Armenians in the diaspora to share their skills and expertise with women entrepreneurs in Armenia through a series of workshops providing opportunities for peer to peer exchange and learning.
There are 14 brilliant diaspora mentors based across Europe involved in this initiative. Between them they have run workshops on four different sectors and five topics essential for accelerating an (export) business – HR, corporate communication, marketing, leadership, legal procedures and EU trading.
Diaspora professional: Tania Eojourian
In complement to the mentoring workshops, another element of the action is a guide to exporting to the EU. To develop this we brought in legal expert Tania Eojourian, an Armenian diaspora professional based in Cyprus. She has created ‘The Armenia-EU Trading Regulatory & Procedural Guidebook’ which will be built into AGBU’s Armenian Virtual College platform.
As well as contributing to this collaborative action, Tania has been an active member of the AGBU Young Professionals in Cyprus for some years. She recently took part in the AGBU Business Mentors Programme as a mentor for women entrepreneurs in Armenia and subsequently shared some of her reflections in an interview for AGBU Europe’s newsletter, including some impressions from the CDL action and how the guidebook should be used.
Read on for an excerpt from the interview below and find the full interview here.
As a mentor, I also gained new perspectives and the mentorship turned out to benefit me as well as the mentees.
In 2021, through the EUDiF Capacity Development Lab initiative, you also participated in the AGBU Business Mentors Program and conducted mentorship sessions with women entrepreneurs in Armenia. Could you share your experience with the programme as a mentor?
TE: During my visit to Armenia, in July 2021, I took part in the AGBU mentorship program for women entrepreneurs as one of the key speakers presenting the “Introduction to the Armenia-EU trading system”. The objective of this mentorship session was to introduce the Armenia-EU Trading System to the women entrepreneurs and guide them through the legal ways to export their goods from Armenia to the EU. The experience was amazing, as I love travelling to Armenia and it was more amazing getting to know these women entrepreneurs full of passion, energy and big goals. This programme shows the importance of involving women in the economic development of Armenia and of building a strong network of women entrepreneurs across Armenia. I had the opportunity to see the creations of some of the women entrepreneurs and their work was indeed very remarkable. Also as a mentor, I also gained new perspectives and the mentorship turned out to benefit me as well as the mentees.
As part of the partnership between AGBU Europe and EUDiF, you recently drafted a guidebook on Armenia-EU Trading Regulations & Procedures. Could you describe the objectives of this guidebook and how it is meant to respond to the needs of women entrepreneurs in Armenia?
TE: The objective of this guidebook is to provide key information that is needed to access the EU market, by providing step-by-step procedures for exporting various products from Armenia to the EU, such as recycled paper, decorations, jewelry or bags, by presenting the current agreements that are in place between Armenia and the EU as well as important requirements to consider when trading, such as the level of duty rates and other applicable levies on import and export; import and export formalities and other non-tariff requirements; packaging, marking and labelling requirements as they apply to a product, process, or production methods. It also includes funding support options (for example when you want to franchise a product), steps to develop industry value chains, specifications on the stages and regulations for trade and export, and guidelines on how to trade on existing online platform and e-commerce in general. The guidebook focuses on the products produced and created by the women entrepreneurs in Armenia, with specific chapters per product. It breaks down the basics an entrepreneur needs to know before entering the EU market.
The CDL action with AGBU is just one of the ways we are supporting diaspora communities and partner countries to collaborate for sustainable development. You can find the info-sheet on this action and all our other CDL actions here. You might also be interested in the actions under our parallel technical support mechanism, Diaspora Professionals 4 Development.