AMCHAM AND DWV HOST JOINT NETWORKING EVENT

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On March 13, 2019 members of AmCham and the German Business Association (DWV) met for an informal networking event at Armenia Marriott Hotel. The impetus to hold such an event was to allow both organizations as well as their respective members to meet and get to know one another.

The event was organized as a result of a mutual cooperation of AmCham and the DWV. Both AmCham and the DWV represent the interests of major businesses in Armenia from almost all sectors of the economy, advocate to improve business and investment climate in the country and serve as a social and networking platforms for the members.

The event began with drinks and food and live music from a quartet and quickly ascended to an evening of networking and engagement. As an official part of the evening AmCham President Ara Hovsepyan and DWV President Hasni Kosejian gave a speech representing the organizations, outlining the achievements and talking about the future plans.

British American Tobacco to Publish its 2018 Report Highlighting Sustainability

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British American Tobacco (BAT) has published its 2018 Sustainability Report. The Report outlines the Group’s work and progress across its three strategic focus areas of harm reduction, sustainable agriculture and farmer livelihoods, and corporate behaviour.

Now in BAT’s 17th year of sustainability reporting, this report details how BAT is championing change in its business and industry and is transforming tobacco to create shared value for its consumers and stakeholders across the value chain.

Performance highlights include:

  •  BAT’s continued investment in researching, developing and commercializing potentially reduced-risk alternatives to cigarettes and information on these products, which are collectively referred as PRRPs – from vapour products, tobacco heating products, to modern and traditional  oral  products – which are now available in 29 countries globally.
  •  An overview of BAT’s leading scientific research programme and transparent approach to demonstrating the reduced-risk potential of our PRRPs.
  •  BAT’s continued commitment to sustaining a culture of integrity throughout the business including enhanced Third-Party Anti-Bribery and Corruption (ABAC) procedures and global Speak Up channels – for employees to report any concerns about potential unethical behaviour without fear of reprisal.
  •  BAT’s new carbon emissions reduction targets for 2030 as well as other targets to further reduce its environmental impact through reduced resource use, improved water stewardship and reduced waste. The new carbon targets have been set in-line with the Science Based Target Initiative’s methodology and BAT hopes to soon gain formal approval.
  •  Investing over £60 million annually to promote sustainable agriculture and enhance farmer livelihoods.
  •  A profile of BAT’s new digital farm monitoring system, and how it is improving sustainable agriculture and farmer livelihoods by helping to ensure that issues are identified and addressed in real time.
  •  A feature on child labour that outlines BAT’s commitment to combatting it within its business and supply chain, and its partnerships with stakeholders to drive industry-wide change.
  •  BAT’s research and initiatives to tackle the complex issue of cigarette filter littering.

Nicandro Durante, Chief Executive of British American Tobacco, comments:

“I firmly believe that the approach we have taken in my tenure, integrating sustainability across all of our operations, will strongly support our transformation for many years to come and  our sustainability agenda is a real source of personal pride. I have seen BAT evolve and grow throughout my career, and am confident that this will continue during the dynamic period of change the industry is going through today. As I hand over to my successor, I know the company is in great hands and that the ground has now been set for our PRRPs to reach even more consumers in the future.”

Jack Bowles, Chief Executive Designate of British American Tobacco, comments:

“Our sustainability agenda will be key to our future success. A culture of responsible behaviour is even more relevant in today’s world, and I firmly believe we all have a role to play in delivering with integrity. It is also clear to me that our sustained investment in farming communities and our continued focus on issues such as responsible marketing, protecting human rights and excellence in environmental management means that we are in excellent shape for the future.”

To download the report, visit www.bat.com/sustainabilityreport

Originally posted via the British American Tobacco’s website on March 19, 2019.

Armenia Securities Exchange Rings the Bell for Gender Equality for the First Time in Armenia

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On March 12 Armenia Securities Exchange-AMX and Central Depository of Armenia rang the opening bell for UN Sustainable Development Goal 5 – Gender Equality, alongside 80 stock exchanges worldwide.

In partnership with the Federation of European and Asian Stock Exchanges (FEAS), Armenia Securities Exchange and Central Depository of Armenia joined the Ring the Bell for Gender Equality initiative to promote gender equality and help businesses, especially banks and investment companies understand their pivotal role in achieving UN Sustainable Development Goal 5.

“The stock exchange is the champion and the role model for private sector companies to promote gender equality and women empowerment principles. Gender equality is good not only for sustainable development but also for economic growth,” said Mehjabeen AlarakhiaProgramme Specialist, UN Women.

The initiative, now in its fifth consecutive year, is a partnership between the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation, Sustainable Stock Exchanges (SSE) Initiative, UN Global Compact, UN Women, the World Federation of Exchanges and Women in ETFs, to raise awareness about the business case for women’s economic empowerment and the opportunities for the private sector to advance gender equality and sustainable development.

Dmitry MariyasinResident Representative, UNDP expressed hope to see more male CEOs joining the initiative next year. He ended his speech saying, “Let’s make every day a day for gender equality”.

Hayk Yeganyan, CEO, Armenia Securities Exchange, welcomed the guests and said: “Women make up to 52% of our employees. Women make 54% of traders working with the stock exchange. Nowadays they hold over 38% of tech jobs in Armenia and no wonder that the IT and financial sectors are recognized as most stable and relatively more developed ones within the Armenian economy. This shows how important women’s participation is.”

Luiza Igraryan, CEO, Global Credit UCO, said: “Having managed Global Credit UCO for over 10 years, I may state that the gender inequality stereotype in Armenia was broken a long time ago, and people are more open-minded and nowadays women leaders have comparatively more opportunities.”

Armenuhi Hovakimyan, FEAS Deputy Secretary General said: “It is the first time the Federation of Euro-Asian Stock Exchanges joins the initiative and the first time we will ring the bell for Gender Equality in Armenia. Raising awareness for the importance of gender equality which is the fifth of Global Goals, we are doing step forward to encourage girls and women to be educated, confident and brave. The theme of the 5th Ring the Bell for Gender Equality is “Think equal, build smart, innovate for change”. I can’t agree more. Early childhood development and learning should start and be based on the strong statements of equality in all forms and spheres.”

International Women’s Day: Celebration in Armenia and Around the World

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Women’s Day is celebrated in many places around the world – from Afghanistan to China, and yes, in Armenia! The day is an official holiday in 27 countries and is widely observed in many others. In China working women enjoy half a day off, while in Italy men gift women mimosa flowers. Indeed, the giving of flowers and small gifts is a common way women are honored on this international holiday. In the United States and India, for example, the holiday is also a way to celebrate women’s accomplishments and raise awareness of women’s issues.

Other gifts given to women on Women’s Day include cosmetics and perfume. Women’s Day is in fact big business for makeup brands that have already seen a spike in sales over the past few years. According to L’Oreal, for example, in 2016 the global cosmetic market grew by an estimated 4% compared to the previous year. North America and Asia together share the largest portion of this market at over 55%. International Women’s Day provides an extra boost to cosmetic sales. For example, U.K. beauty retailer Feelunique reported a 40% higher return on sales on the holiday in China during the holiday in 2018.

 

The sale of beauty products cross-border is indeed growing as consumers become exposed to the unique products offered by different global companies. Women’s Day is traditionally celebrated in Armenia through the giving of flowers but it too has become a way makeup companies sell cosmetic products. Indeed, the Armenian beauty industry has come a long way since the 1990s. Now, different cosmetic brands line supermarket shelves and there is even an organic skincare line based in the country. Oriflame, for example, is now Armenia’s largest direct selling company. Both Oriflame Armenia and Mary Kay Armenia count Women’s Day as an important day for sales, offering unique products to their female consumers for a fraction of the cost. Oriflame and Mary Kay also empower women in Armenia by giving them the opportunity to sell what they love to share amongst one another – makeup!

 

AUA’S EPIC Hosts Teenage Girl Entrepreneurs from Armenia’s Regions

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YEREVAN, Armenia ‒ On February 22, 2019, the Entrepreneurship and Product Innovation Center (EPIC) of the American University of Armenia (AUA) hosted schoolgirls that are participants of the Technovation Armenia program. The event aimed at providing them with the opportunity to meet and network with female entrepreneurs of EPIC startups. These schoolgirls came from the margins of Armenia.

Technovation, a flagship program of the non-profit organization Iridescent, is the world’s largest global tech entrepreneurship competition for girls. The program offers young girls around the world the opportunity to learn the skills necessary for becoming tech entrepreneurs and leaders. Every year, Technovation challenges 10 to 18 year-old girls to build business plans and mobile apps that solve problems in their respective communities.

Technovation Armenia is the national contest of Technovation, organized around the world. Technovation Armenia was initiated in Armenia in 2017 by the National Institute of Education of Armenia and Women and Information Society NGO.

In 2018, Technovation Armenia was organized within the frames of the Bridge4CSOs project, implemented by the Armenian General Benevolent Union (AGBU) in partnership with Eurasia Partnership Foundation (EPF) and funded by the European Union. Technovation Armenia 2018 competition is supported by the Union of Employers of Information and Communication Technologies, the UN Armenian Office, Synopsys Armenia, Unicomp, AUA, Enterprise Incubator Foundation, and Zigzag LLC.

“The Technovation Armenia community is getting bigger and the number of participants has doubled. This year we expanded our geography to include participants from all 11 provinces of Armenia; we already have more than 80 registered teams from different villages and cities of Armenia,” explains Narine Abazian (ME IESM ’96), President of Women and Information Society NGO, who is also the Regional Ambassador of Technovation Armenia program, as was mentioned in the opening remarks of the event.

AUA President Dr. Armen Der Kiureghian attended the event and gave the welcoming remarks, “AUA is committed to supporting female students interested in pursuing science and engineering fields. Indeed, that is the goal of our “Yes, Armenian Women Can!” campaign. We are very proud of our alumna Narine Abazyan, who started the Technovation program in Armenia, and the successes that her groups of young girls have achieved.”

The American University of Armenia was one of the first organizations to identity the significance of the IT field for the development of Armenia and for its female populations to stimulate their intellect and apply analytical acumen in order to make significant contributions in their respective workplaces.

With the launch of this new visionary initiative, “Yes, Armenian Women Can!” hundreds of women will be able to study computer science and engineering through the establishment of a $2.5 million endowed scholarship fund.

Throughout the afternoon, female entrepreneurs from EPIC startups made presentations sharing their personal experiences, challenges, and learning paths with the schoolgirls, and answered all the questions they raised.

Alisa Chalakhyan, the co-founder of She(FF), an EPIC startup, was one of the presenters at the event. Commenting on the event later, she states: “Standing there and talking to the youngsters that had similar or even bigger dreams than I once had while sitting in the same auditorium years ago made me wonder how I can be of help to them on their way of realizing their dreams. It is crucially important to ensure that girls are reminded of their abilities and skills from the very young age. That is why my friend [and co-founder] Anahit and I have decided to start conducting workshops to boost female entrepreneurship.”

She(FF) is an online network connecting women with diverse talents and crafts with people who value the art of homemade and handmade unique products. She(FF) is a platform created by women for women.

Technovation Armenia 2018 judges Gayane Stepanyan, Director of Digital banks in Ararat Bank, and Ani Manukyan, Project Manager of Women and Information Society NGO, shared their impressions of Technovation Armenia 2018 competition with the participants and made recommendations for 2019 teams on how to make their applications more functional and applicable locally and globally.

The wrap up of the event was dedicated to the success stories of Technovation program schoolgirls. Among the speakers were the 2017 international winner team mentor Vardanush Hovhannisyan and Regional winner team mentor Ani Sirekanyan.

Another presenter, Tereza Tumanyan (age 15, Ashtarak), who is also a student ambassador of the Technovation Armenia program, presented the success story of her team Codice Peullis that was one of the semi finalists and was nominated as a winner in the Sevan Startup Summit 2018 and received $3,000 to further develop the app 1 Of U created for children with autism. The team also was a European Youth Award finalist with its app.

The Entrepreneurship and Product Innovation Center (EPIC) is a platform for promoting entrepreneurial education, cross-disciplinary collaboration, and startup venture incubation. EPIC provides an ecosystem for the American University of Armenia’s (AUA) emerging entrepreneurs consisting of first-class facilities and collaborative workspace, programs and events, and a network of mentors, advisors and investors. EPIC fosters the understanding and application of entrepreneurship with students and faculty at AUA to craft high-impact multidisciplinary ventures.

 

Originally posted via the AUA on March 4, 2019.

LOAN AGREEMENTS SIGNED BETWEEN ARMSWISSBANK AND EBRD

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The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and ARMSWISSBANK have concluded 2 new loan agreements under GCF-GEFF Armenia Energy Efficiency Program and SME lending Program.

Within the scope of SME lending facility clients will be offered business loans in AMD for up to 5 years maturity with competitive market conditions.  

Within the scope of GCF-GEFF Armenia Energy Efficient Program clients will be offered loans for up to 7 years maturity with preferential terms.  Funding will be available for investments in green technology, especially in climate adaptation and mitigation technologies. It is worth mentioning, that within the framework of this program, customers will be able to get free technical assistance and, in case of meeting certain requirements, also benefit from investment incentives for up to 20% of the loan amount funded by the Strategic Climate Fund (SCF) through the Scaling-Up Renewable Energy Program (SREP). Financing in Energy Efficient projects was always amongst strategic directions of ARMSWISSBANK, which focus on contributing to improve and protect our future.

ARMSWISSBANK cooperates with EBRD since 2010, has signed 5 agreements totaling more than USD 35 mln. The cooperation between the Bank and the EBRD has developed in a number of directions, in particular: within the scope of SME lending program, Trade Finance Program, Caucasus Energy Efficiency Program and General Master Repurchase Agreement accepted by International Capital Markets Association.

As an assurance of development of cooperation with EBRD, in July 2014, ARMSWISSBANK was awarded a status of “Confirming Bank” by EBRD.  

Originally  posted via ARMSWISSBANK.

Fund for Armenian Relief (FAR) Brings Rural Students a Better Science Education

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Six newly-renovated and refurbished school science labs are the latest big news for the Fund for Armenian Relief’s (FAR) Breaking the Cycle of Poverty Program (BCPP).

The labs, which were finished in the summer of 2018 will help immensely in this impoverished border region where most schools are forced to just teach science from a textbook, denying their students the opportunity for practical experience and learning. The result? Typically a fragmented and incomplete education, and a population of young people whole grow up with little knowledge about or interest in the sciences.

“When we saw the new labs, the teachers and schoolchildren were excited. However, the teachers also needed training to enhance their knowledge on how to use the latest modern equipment. And we didn’t make them wait long,” said FAR Education and Science Programs Manager Eduard Karapetyan.

In addition to the renovations and new equipment, FAR also collaborated with Dr. Poghos Gabrielyan, a PhD in physics, to train science teachers on how to make the most out of these labs as a teaching resource in order to effectively lead physics, chemistry and biology classes.

“During the meeting with teachers from Berd City, Paravakar, Tavush, Aygedzor, Artsvaberd, and Movses communities, I introduced them to the equipment and we did some practice lessons and labs,” said Dr. Gabrielyan. “What inspired me to join this program is that my mission goes hand-in-hand with FAR’s long-term goal, which is to prepare teachers as trainers so that they can later train others from rural areas.”

The impacts of the Soviet Union’s collapse are still palpable in Armenia, and with the rapid pace of technology, teachers in Armenia—especially those in rural areas—still have a lot to learn. The better trained teachers are and the greater resources they have can potentially influence students to do better in school and even pursue science as a career.

“I appreciate FAR for not only bringing needed equipment to the labs and bringing them up to date, but also for teaching staff about modern techniques. This is the focal point of sustainable development when it comes to education,” said Dr. Gabrielyan.

Breaking the Cycle of Poverty Program (BCPP) is a multidimensional FAR project implemented in the Berd Region of Tavush Province, and is sponsored by the Edward and Helen Mardigian Foundation.

Originally posted via the Fund for Armenian Relief on February 14, 2019.

ADWISE Consulting Conducts Trainings For the Beneficiaries of “Organic Agriculture Support Initiative”

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ADWISE Consulting in cooperation with Savings Bank Foundation for International Cooperation (SBFIC) has successfully completed the first phase of the capacity building project for the beneficiaries of the Organic Agricultural Support Initiative (Austrian Development Agency [ADA] project).

Within the project ADWISE conducted Micro Entrepreneurship Simulation trainings (MEST), which are games aiming to help the participants gain entrepreneurial thinking, major understanding of challenges and opportunities of micro enterprises, decision-making skills and understanding of basic financial information.

ADWISE is now ready to move to the next phase and conduct Business Plan Development Seminars (BPDS) with further coaching sessions. The aim of BPDS is to develop the business idea into a living business project resulting in a detailed strategy, business and operational plan. This will then be followed up with individual coaching sessions, which will help participants prepare the written concept of their business idea.

ADWISE is proud to contribute to the development of organic agriculture in Armenia!

Originally posted via ADWISE Consulting on February 11th, 2019.

 

 

Energy Invest Holding (EIH) Participates in EBRD Training

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The representatives of Energy Invest Holding (EIH) have participated in the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD)-organized training on biodiversity inclusive environmental and social impact assessments (ESIAs) for the hydropower sector on Wednesday, January 29. The objective of the course was to raise awareness of the following topics:

  • International Finance Institution (IFI) Biodiversity specific legislation and/or conventions;
  • Hydropower Good Industry Practices and Initiatives, with an emphasis on biodiversity inclusive ESIAs;
  • The Mitigation Hierarchy, Strategic Catchment Planning, Biodiversity Offsets, Ecological Flows and fish migration; and
  • Management of biodiversity Issues specific to the Hydropower sector.

The training was conducted by experts in EBRD requirements and focused on practical case-studies from EBRD-financed projects in the region. As per EIH’s Director General, Mr. Armen Petrosyan: “this was a very useful training taking into account the Shnogh Hydroelectric Project-related ESIA Study which the Holding is to embark later in 2019.”

Originally posted via Energy Invest Holding on January 30th, 2019.

McCann Worldgroup recognized as the most efficient agency of 2018

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McCann Worldgroup, being renowned for creating the modern global advertising agency model and its creativity in marketing and advertising industry, has been recently recognized as the most efficient agency of 2018 by the Effie Effectiveness Index. Within the McCann Worldgroup integrated network, 42 of 50 Top clients are serviced by multiple disciplines and 38 out of 50 in multiple regions. This significant accomplishment is even more impressive considering that the company operates in over 120 countries worldwide, having to deal with different economic environments and diverse consumer markets, and it still managed to come out on top.

McCann Worldgroup recognized as the most efficient agency of 2018

As a part of McCann Worldgroup family, McCann Yerevan is operating in Armenia since 2001 being one of the full advertising network agencies in Armenia. The large portfolio of international high-class clients allows to position the company as one of the leading agencies in sphere. McCann helps brands play a meaningful role in people’s lives. How? It all starts with identifying the relevant role a brand can play, thus understanding consumers and their motivation sources. Then by digging deeper, the untold powerful TRUTH about the brand is being found out, which helps build productive and successful communications.
The offered services include
– Concept Creation/Branding
– Strategy Development/Market Analysis
– Design and Packaging
– BTL and events
– Audio/Video production
– POSM, equipment production
– Digital Marketing.

Developing intense strategic understanding of the clients’ businesses and their consumers is what helps company create expressive and effective brand communications.

Highly professional team regularly studies the market, experiences of group network and opens new perspectives and visions, not forgetting, of course, that it all starts with an inspirational and provocative TRUTH.