The forum sought to attract businessmen and investments to help the local population" />

Armenian business innovation forum in Gyumri – an attempt to boost economies of the provinces

The forum sought to attract businessmen and investments to help the local population

Armenia has held its sixth Business Innovation Forum. This time it took place in the country’s north and was called “My step for the Shirak Province”.

My Step is the slogan by which the Armenian Velvet Revolution came to be known. Today, the current ruling party’s parliamentary faction in parliament also goes by this name.

The goal of the forum is to attract entrepreneurs who are willing to help the Armenian provinces develop economically.

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The opening of the business forum

“My step for Shirak Province” was held in the region’s largest city, Gyumri, which is also the second largest city of the country.

 Previously, similar forums have taken place in the Ararat, Lori, Gegharkunik, Syunik, and Tavush regions.

This event gives a chance to young entrepreneurs to pitch their projects to  businessmen and long established companies.

Ordinarily, such forums also feature exhibitions of local products that are typical for each given region.

This year more than 60 companies from the Shirak province have taken part.

The prime minister was given two gifts: a doll crafted in the likeness of him as the leader of the velvet revolution, and a pair of shoes made by a local business.

“I would love to wear these shoes,” he said. “Everything I am wearing now, except the tie, has been made locally. So I will gladly wear shoes made in Gyumri.”

Nikol Pashinyan also looked into how the region’s banking system worked.

Forum participants

More than 300 people took part in the forum. In addition to government members, there were heads of various departments, MPs, foreign ambassadors, heads of large state-owned and private companies, 50 foreign and 150 local businessmen.

The prime minister reiterated that the business forum was a good opportunity to talk about the conceptual approaches of the government’s economic policy a year after the revolution:

“It is important that we have created a new stratum in the Armenian economy – something we’ve called ‘microbusiness’. Starting from January 1, 2020, companies with a turnover of up to 24 million drams [50,000 US dollars] will be exempted from certain taxes. Plus, the tax for these companies’ employees will only be 5,000 drams [10 dollars].”

 The PM on meeting local residents:

 After the forum, Nikol Pashinyan took to Facebook:

“At a time when businessmen struggle to find themselves employees, some able-bodied people in the Shirak province scream and shout, demanding humanitarian aid every time they see a ‘man wearing a tie.’”

He listed the benefits that his government provides to various segments of the population, and concluded:

 “Other than that, every family should solve their problems through work. There is plenty of work in Armenia. It is possible to create jobs in Armenia. There is no way to achieve well-being other than through working.

 By the way, people who have received a solid education fare well in Armenia, and they deserve to do even better. We should encourage our children to pursue competitive education, to work on personal growth, to be self-critical and creative. This is a simple formula for achieving well-being.”

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