The First Cookie Ever Baked in Space։ The famous DoubleTree Cookie is the first food in the history, baked in Space.


This year, the famous DoubleTree Cookie became the first food EVER baked in space! The Cookie was baked aboard the International Space Station (ISS) using new, state-of-the-art oven technology.

The cookies, which the hotel gives guests for free when they check in, are “the perfect food to make the cosmos a more welcoming place,” said senior vice president and global brand head, DoubleTree by Hilton, Shawn McAteer – “Hilton has long been an industry innovator, and as we celebrate our 100th year, we’re excited to send our hospitality into orbit. The simple gesture of a warm cookie welcome is a favorite of DoubleTree guests around the world, and now we are sharing that moment of hospitality as part of this experiment aboard the International Space Station.”

As Hilton celebrates its 100th anniversary, and DoubleTree by Hilton its 50th, it’s only natural that the brand continues a commitment to pioneering the future by sending the ultimate symbol of a warm welcome –our DoubleTree Cookie –to space, taking our hospitality out of this world!

Scientists are now using this same welcoming gesture to pioneer the future of space travel, just as Hilton has continued to pioneer the future of hospitality over the past 100 years. This memorable event was celebrated all over the world and in Yerevan too. On August 6 the delicious Cookies and refreshing coffee were offered to the guests and visitors of DoubleTree by Hilton Yerevan City Centre.

About DoubleTree by Hilton:
Fifty years ago, in 1969, DoubleTree by Hilton opened its first hotel in Phoenix, Arizona with the goal of making guests feel comfortable while traveling. Since then, DoubleTree by Hilton has grown to more than 560 upscale hotels around t

he world and in 2016 opened its welcoming doors in Yerevan. While a lot has changed in 50 years, DoubleTree by Hilton maintains its original philosophy that it’s the little things that make a big difference. Whether it’s welcoming guests with a signature, warm DoubleTree Cookie, serving the local community, or focusing on details that help create a comfortable atmosphere, DoubleTree pays attention to every detail to ensure a best-in-class guest experience.

For more information about #CookiesInSpace follow the link:

BSC Business Support centre celebrated its 25th anniversary: Generating the Future


On May 17, BSC Business Support Centre has celebrated business supporting, managing, consulting and business teaching activity’s 25th anniversary. The company’s founding director Samvel Gevorgyan has presented the 25 year history of BSC, present projects, also the trends and perspectives of business in Armenia.

“We aim to create dynamic business platform without stereotypes, inspired by innovative and endless entrepreneurial spirit”, said Samvel Gevorgyan.

He has mentioned that since the foundation (1994), BSC has done mobile activity by giving business management consultancy to the beginning entrepreneurs and existing small, medium and large enterprises in all regions of Armenia.

“BSC has concentrated on areal development as well, which includes tourism, innovative technologies, agriculture, renewable energy, food processing, light industry and other key sectors for Armenia” has added Samvel Gevorgyan.

BSC founding director has informed that experts of the centre has been in more than 880 communities on business trips in the scope of economic activity promotional programmes crossing 500,000 km.

During 25 years the experts of the company has developed 1,100 business plans, more than 1,000 investment projects, has implemented 120 sector researches, has published business planning, organising, managing and developing 15 books. More than 18,000 beginner and accomplished entrepreneurs have participated in BSC business training courses.

In the event dedicated to BSC 25th anniversary the executive director of ACBA Leasing Arsen Bazikyan was present. He stressed the activity of BSC in involving investments for private businesses developing in Armenia.

The executive director of “AREGAK” UNIVERSAL CREDIT ORGANIZATION Mariam Yesayan is a long-term partner, who had started working with BSC since 1999, has mentioned that BSC is a sustainable qualified service provider centre in terms of resolving specific enterprise issues.

BSC is a member of 9 different unions, one of which is “Republican Union of Employers of Armenia”. The president of RUEA Gagik Makaryan has emphasized that BSC is a continuous positive change making company in private sector in Armenia.

“BSC continues to support the leading companies of Armenia, SME’s, suggests solutions for innovative technologies, promoting by its activity the ongoing development of all regions and spheres in Armenia, as well as implementing and strengthening the business management culture.

BSC passes to a global status aiming to raise the competitiveness of Armenian businesses in worldwide platforms.

“BSC stepping into upcoming 25 years activity becomes the solver of all issues of businesses, the creator of big opportunities for businesses and the generator of the future of every business in Armenia” has summed up Samvel Gevorgyan.



COAF 2019 Summit Underscores Innovation as Driving Force for Rural Development Strategies


Children of Armenia Fund (COAF) held its first strategic planning summit of the year at the COAF SMART Center in Lori. The three-day gathering took place April 4-6, with the participation of COAF board members, COAF senior managers, as well as development and next generation technologies experts from Thailand, France, Malta, Czech Republic, Venezuela and the US.

During the Summit, COAF unveiled its expanded mission: to advance rural communities through innovation and to provide resources to children and adults through initiatives at COAF SMART and beyond. COAF founder Dr. Garo Armen emphasized two main principles the organization should abide by: innovation and speed. He stated, “our vision is based on applying innovation as a vital component of solving problems, along with the ability to promptly respond to changing paradigms in the fast-moving world we live in today.”

Summit participants agreed on upholding the longstanding COAF tradition of meeting with rural populations and taking into consideration their needs and input. The active participation of each and every citizen is critical to the development of both existing and new opportunities. COAF’s role in this process is to provide individuals with essential resources needed to bring about innovative thinking. The COAF SMART Center, opened a year ago, has already become a center of excellence where ideas are being exchanged on future policy making.

The Summit successfully outlined further strategies on COAF’s ambitious plans to optimize the utilization of resources to bring prosperity to Armenia’s rural regions. COAF’s second summit will take place in Spring 2020.

COAF also announced the appointment of three additional members to its Board of Trustees based in Armenia. Founder Dr. Garo ArmenDr. Alice Saraydarian and entrepreneur Pakrad Balabanian will be joining the three existing trustees. Pakrad Balabanian, a geographic information system (GIS) expert and consultant for local governments, is the founder of KARDÉS LLC and truMaps mobile application. Balabanian has implemented projects with Abu Dhabi’s Department of Education, significantly impacting the education system in the United Arab Emirates. He is currently collaborating with the Ministry of Education of Armenia in an effort to enhance the country’s education sector, with a focus on Armenia’s rural communities. Balabanian is also a guest lecturer at New York University, Paris Sorbonne (Abu Dhabi branches) and UAE University.

COAF’s Board of Trustees in Armenia is currently chaired by Richard Bezjian (Energize Global Services). “We are delighted to have Pakrad Balabanian and founders Garo Armen and Alice Saraydarian join the COAF Armenia Board of Trustees,” said Mr. Bezjian. He emphasized their involvement will further strengthen the existing board comprised of education expert Serob Khachatryan and Ovsanna Yeghoyan (Commercial Director of DUFRY East Europe and Russia Cluster).

Originally posted via the COAF website on April 17, 2019.

IDBank will be one of the most active players in the bond market in 2019


Bonds allocation started on February 20 and was completed on March 14, before the planned date. Bonds with nominal values of $ 5 million have been placed. The maturity of 2019 first issue of bonds is 2 years and 6 months, and annual coupon interest rate is 5.25%, which will be paid quarterly.

Deputy Chairman of IDBank Board/Financial Director Ruben Melikyan noted that more and more clients are choosing IDBank bonds as a saving instrument, and the experience of years shows that demand always exceeds the offer. Especially since IDBank is always ready to provide loans with bonds pledges to customers purchasing its bonds, with only a 1 percentage point higher interest rate.
“IDBank will continue to maintain its leading positions in the market and will offer its customers new tranches this year. This issue of bonds will be listed on the Armenian Stock Exchange”, – said Ruben Melikyan.

IDBank issued its first tranche of bonds in 2016, after which it issued another six tranches of nominal coupon USD and AMD bonds, bringing the total amount to 30 million USD and 1 billion AMD.

Originally posted via IDBank’s website on March 15, 2019.



ICARE’s Sustainable Fisheries for Enhanced Water Resources in Armenia (SFEWRA) project and Participatory Utilization and Resource Efficiency of Water (PURE-Water) project implemented by Urban Foundation (both projects are funded by USAID) initiated a workshop on March 20- 21 to present the best practices of efficient underground water use by the fish farms involved in these projects. The first day of the workshop was dedicated to capacity building for fisheries operating in Ararat Valley, which included also the development of skills of presentation of their best practices by the fish farmers for the donors.


The workshop began by presentation by ANAU faculty members of the possible diseases in the fish farms and measures of their prevention. Then the ICARE research team members worked individually with each of the participating fish farmers to prepare them for the presentations that they made on the next day in the presence of the USAID Country Director, Debora Grieser, the Governor of Armavir marz, Hambardzum Matevosyan, officials from the Ministry of Nature Protection and others stakeholders. The presentations covered best practices of efficient activities in condition of scarce water resource.

Issues of legal regulation of the fish farming were also addressed during the workshop.

Towards the end of the event, the participating fish farmers were awarded with symbolic prizes, and the authors of the top three best practices were awarded with water aerators. The SFEWRA team provided the beneficiaries with economically and environmentally sustainable models of efficient use of water resources that they have developed during the 3 and half years of the project for the participating fish farms.



Over the last 5 months, PURE-Water and SFEWRA have been working with the selected fish farms to disseminate the best practices of efficient water use throughout the entire fish farming sector.Ahead of the end of the SFEWRA project, the ICARE’s team has succeeded in creating a selected ‘national’ team of progressive fish farmers who are now capable and willing to work together to address ambitious goals of the sector’s overall development.

Originally posted via the ICARE website on March 25, 2019.



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


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

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


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


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


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.