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YPARD Armenia Café and the IRIS Business Incubator

IRIS Business Incubator was the best host for the YPARD Global Café Yerevan on November 29th, 2020. YPARD Yerevan chose the IRIS Business Incubator for the meeting to showcase how small ideas become great businesses.

The Coordinator of IRIS Narine Terzyan had a presentation on their previously implemented projects and informed the participants about the current opportunities suggested by the business incubator.

IRIS supports entrepreneurs to establish and grow innovative successful businesses by providing full-cycle business development services aiming to enhance the ecosystem for business incubation and business support services in Armenia through becoming networking, collaboration and access to finance platform for traditional SME sector.

IRIS Business Incubator aims to become a tool for sustainable development of future generations of start-ups and stimulate the culture of entrepreneurship by bringing positive change to the business culture in Armenia through innovative approaches. As an effective tool for economic integration, IRIS Business Incubator supports start-up entrepreneurs and SMEs to implement their business ideas. IRIS Business Incubator supports Syrian Armenians and local entrepreneurs to establish and develop their successful ventures by providing a unique full cycle of business support services, including training at IRIS Academy, coaching, mentoring and access to finance with grant and/or loan funds, access to co-working space.

On October 2019 after the 1st Call for Application, IRIS Business Incubator has received 600 applications from Syrian-Armenians and local entrepreneurs from all the regions of Armenia. The best 160 participated in business idea pitching training in February 2020. After presenting their business initiatives and reasons for becoming residents of the IRIS Business Incubator to the Jury, 99 were invited to the business model canvas training, and the selected 73 residents participated in IRIS BI three main programmes: SPARK, BUILD and START.

In Spring 2020 by overcoming all the barriers and obstacles occurred due to COVID-19 outbreak in Armenia and the world, the selected residents started 2 months of online training and coaching on Law, Finance, Marketing and Accounting.

In summer 2020 the 73 residents presented their business plans online via webcam to the panel of professional Jury consisting of the representatives of IRIS programme partners, experts, and entrepreneurs.

As a result of the first incubation phase of the IRIS business incubator, 44 residents received funding, access to a co-working space and the opportunity to continue their incubation for another 6 months.

The participants were encouraged to collaborate with this kind of project as the stories presented were successful and promising.

EU supported IRIS Business Incubator has been established in 2019 by "Armenian Caritas" Benevolent NGO and "SME Cooperation Association" NGO within the framework of "Increased Resilience of Syrian Armenians and Host Population" (IRIS) programme. The programme is funded by the European Union, through the EU Regional Trust Funding response to the Syrian Crisis, the "Madads" Fund, Austrian Development Cooperation and Austrian Red Cross and is being implemented by the consortium led by the Austrian Red Cross and consisting of "Armenian Caritas" Benevolent NGO, Armenian Red Cross Society, Centre for Coordination of Syrian Armenians’ Issues and "SME Cooperation Association" NGO.

Picture credit: YPARD Armenia