One of the highlights of 2023 in the activity of the Enterprise Incubator Foundation (EIF) was the conclusion of the Investment Readiness Program for Women-owned Firms, which was part of IFC’s Armenia Women Entrepreneurship Project implemented in partnership with the Government of Japan through EIF and Granatus Ventures company. The program was a unique opportunity to enable women to start up and develop businesses, generate revenues, create jobs, attract funding, and contribute to economic growth in Armenia.

The program was carried out in 2 rounds, each in a rolling schedule, with 2 tracks for high and medium-investment-ready businesses and facilitated the outstanding graduation of 99 women-led businesses from Yerevan, Tavush, Aragatsotn, Ararat, Lori, Vayots Dzor, Shirak, and Artsakh. These businesses operate in the fields of AI, biotech, healthtech, IT, agriculture, tourism, education, production, and service.

Program Components

The implementation model was designed with already-developed success stories on how to engage and encourage women entrepreneurs to succeed in Armenia and globally if given targeted skills, mentorship, and directions. Through online modules and offline tailored group sessions, group mentorships, workshops, and technical advisory delivered by experienced trainers, the beneficiaries gained practical skills and knowledge to improve their business and financial models, increase investment readiness, and soft skills, and develop fundraising strategies and pitch decks. Through 1:1 mentorship and coaching sessions with world-class mentors, the program supported women-owned businesses to design scalable and commercially viable product offerings and obtain the required growth capital. The program also included a series of networking and pitching events to create linkages to a network of potential partners and investors and provide access to international acceleration programs and investors.

As the program was completed and the results started coming in, EIF Director Bagrat Yengibaryan offered several remarks:

“This program holds a distinctive position within our projects as we strive to cultivate a specific target group for women’s entrepreneurship. Our focus is on advancing their companies and providing support in the areas of innovation and technology. It’s important for us to create an environment conducive to innovative thinking, and we place significant value on collaboration between successful women entrepreneurs and our participants. This long-term program brings people into a community where they work together to create innovative solutions for women-led firms.”

Program Results

After the end of the 2nd round of the program, a survey was conducted among 82 participants. According to the survey, 90% of the participants acknowledged applying at least one of the skills taught during the program, and about 30% increased their revenue. 73 new jobs were created in the participating companies, and 18 businesses secured more than 1.000.000 USD in funding.

Stories of Success

Yana Aznavour, CEO and founder of Endometrics, a medtech company dedicated to revolutionizing the diagnosis of endometriosis, faced the challenge of lacking business expertise despite her extensive background as a clinical advisor and researcher in healthcare. Enrolling in a program proved to be the solution, equipping Yana with crucial skills in financial management, pitching, and strategic investment. This transformative experience empowered her to confidently navigate the business landscape and resulting in securing investments and grants for Endometrics. Beyond financial gains, Yana’s newfound knowledge elevated the quality of services at Endometrics, propelling the company to make significant strides in aiding women suffering from endometriosis.

Chinar Movsisyan founded Manot, an AI observability platform for computer vision models, to globally promote secure AI product development, prioritizing risk reduction for human and environmental safety. Focusing on the USA market, the startup encountered challenges in accessing the right connections for international expansion. The program connected Manot with European and American investors, providing valuable insights for market growth. Additionally, a mentor from San Francisco enhanced Chinar’s communication and pitching skills, fostering an entrepreneurial mindset crucial for success in the global market. The program significantly impacted Manot, broadening its network for a successful seed round and positioning it for future development.

Women entrepreneurs participating in the IFC’s Investment Readiness Program for Women-owned Firms shared diverse visions but had a common objective: leveraging new skills to develop their businesses, generate revenues, create jobs, and attract funding.

The program provided the expected insights and opportunities, empowering participants to elevate their enterprises to new heights.