WHAT WE DO
Establishing Ecosystems of Support
CEED gives entrepreneurs the opportunity to connect with others entrepreneurs who have gone through similar experiences in a trusting environment. giving entrepreneurs the ability to connect with each other and share their experiences lets them know that they’re not alone and that there are others facing very similar problems. together CEED entrepreneurs are able to overcome their barriers and work together to grow their businesses and to create stronger local economies while connecting to the international CEED network.
providing access to finance
CEED is building a pipeline of ‘investment ready’ companies by preparing entrepreneurs for outside capital, improving their financial management skills, and guiding them to appropriate providers. CEED works with financial advisors, the banking/finance communities and donor agencies to build awareness of financing opportunities and accelerate the speed with which growth and working capital can be extended. those in the CEED network who qualify have also received capital directly from sEAF in markets where both entities exist.
DeveLoping reLationships through mentoring
CEED embeds mentoring into its structured programs because people who have ‘been there’ can provide invaluable perspective. they have experienced the ups and downs, rewards and frustrations, successes and failures of starting and running a business, and they can tell an entrepreneur that what they’re experiencing is not new, but just part of the process. CEED has a rigorous recruiting process for finding and training the best mentors in each market and has facilitated over 1000 successful mentoring relationships since 2004.
BUILDING SKILLS THROUGH PEER-TO-PEER-LEARNING
CEED recruits internationally oriented entrepreneurs and enrolls them in experience sharing programs
that provide practical growth-oriented training. We foster relationships and create a home for like-minded entrepreneurs to build a community. CEED offers a range of customized programs that are tailored for a company’s level of development, focusing on the knowledge and skills required to manage a growing company. Customer inspired innovation, speed to market and continuous product/process improvement are increasingly points of emphasis. Over 500 training sessions have been held since 2004.
Armenia is a unique tourism destination with a rich and diverse cultural heritage that provides dynamic opportunities for developing tourism markets. The country features an abundant variety of cultural, natural and historical sites, including six UNESCO World Heritage sites, medieval monasteries, churches, and fortresses. Over 2,000 hospitality companies work in Armenia, including hotels, B&Bs, restaurants, transportation companies, tour operators and travel agencies to make your stay a memorable and an enjoyable one! Armenia’s key geographical markets are France, Germany, Russian Federation, and the United States.
According to the World Economic Forum’s Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index for 2011, Armenia was ranked 90 amongst 139 reviewed countries, indicating that Armenia has a long way to go to be competitive in the international tourism market. In 2009, Armenia’s share of global tourist arrivals was just below 0.1 percent, with 575,300 arrivals and a total of 334.1 million USD in receipts. According to the National Statistical Service of the Republic of Armenia there was a 10,3 percent increase in the number of incoming tourists in 2011. The overall number of tourists in 2011 was 757,935, compared to 687,229 in 2010.
Despite its considerable advantages, the Armenian tourism sector faces a number of critical constraints that need to be effectively addressed. Rural tourism is in its infancy – a broad range of activities (tourism products) need be developed to complement the focus on ‘classic’ tours and to give the industry a significant additional boost. In addition, little English is spoken outside of Yerevan, and the road transport conditions are often inadequate too. The quality of hospitality services is also often below international standards. Finally transport costs for travel to Armenia are relatively high.
In response CEED is providing professional development opportunities for tourism high-level managers to enhance their knowledge of international tourism standards and practices.
Armenia has a long established tradition of producing high quality processed food, including fruits and vegetables. With good soil and a suitable climate Armenia produces a range of fruits, vegetables, and herbs which have traditionally been supplied to the former Soviet Republics, and which continue to be exported to Commonwealth of Independent States countries and Georgia. Food processing exports have more than tripled during the past seven years reaching 30.0 million USD in 2011 from just 6.8 million USD in 2004 (United Nations Commodity Trade Statistics Database). With the introduction of modern processing and packaging technologies and a large Diaspora abroad, there is strong potential to successfully enter major international markets.
Today Armenia has over 35 producers of canned products most of which initiated production during the past decade. Despite producing at relatively low cost these companies lack modern technologies and many require technological upgrading. Hence they often utilize only 30 percent of their operational capacity on average. Lack of short-term storage often results in loss of fresh produce. In addition, exports are inhibited by lack of certification, which is a binding constraint for entering new markets.
CEED works with small and medium-sized enterprises and collaboratively with other donors to address a number of key competitiveness enhancement priorities in the fruit and vegetable processing sector.
Armenia’s pharmaceutical industry has blossomed over the past decade into one of the country’s most dynamic sectors of the economy. Currently there are 17 pharmaceutical companies that have a license to produce drugs in Armenia. Most of them are small and medium-sized companies with a varying number of employees ranging from 30 to 100 (Global SPC report, 2010). They are all specialized in the production of generic drugs and buy most of their raw materials and chemical compounds from the European Union and the United States. The key foreign market for Armenian companies is the Commonwealth of Independent States and within those states the Central Asian countries – Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, and Tajikistan.
Armenian companies also compete successfully in the neighboring Georgian market. These market links have a strong historical basis and continue due to the common use of the Russian language and the free trade regime among CIS countries (www.customs.am).
The industry is supported by the Scientific Center of Drug and Medical Technology Expertise, an internationally recognized center with state-of-the-art laboratory equipment that tests both inputs and outputs of the pharmaceuticals industry. The presence of strong technical capacity in the country is a key advantage for the industry. The enforcement of internationally-accepted Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) standards, the adoption of which is currently in process, will further support quality assurance and reduce the risk of substandard products entering the market.
CEED focuses its efforts in assisting Armenian pharmaceutical companies to expand existing markets, and penetrate additional export markets.
The high-tech industry, along with the telecommunications sector, is one of the fastest growing sectors in the Armenian economy. During the past ten years the sector experienced a steady increase in the number of newly formed companies, both local start-ups and branches of foreign companies. Despite the economic slowdown, the industry registered 17 percent growth in 2011. Overall, there are about 300 high-tech companies of varying sizes, more than 100 of which have foreign capital. Most of the companies, however, are small and medium-sized firms with 25 employees on average. The high-tech sector has a very diverse export market with established markets in Russia, countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States, the European Union, and North America. During the period of 2008 – 2011, exports to more than 20 countries averaged 65-70 million USD annually (Armenian Information Technology Sector Software and Services: Industry Reports, 2006-2011, Enterprise Incubator Foundation).
Despite these accomplishments and the manifest potential for growth, the high technology (HT) sector in Armenia currently is characterized by several key constraints that need to be effectively addressed. Sector growth is hampered by the lack of modern marketing strategies, the limited number and inadequate proficiency of professional staff (including marketing and sales), and lack of synergies with other sectors of the economy in the country.
CEED works with technology–focused entrepreneurs to share best practices and find areas for collaboration. CEED also connects entrepreneurs from Armenia with technology entrepreneurs from Silicon Valley, Israel and Jordan, areas which are touted for their booming innovation economy.