Competitive Armenian Private Sector
Competitive Armenian Private Sector Project (CAPS)
JAA, together with Nathan Associates, implemented the Competitive Armenia Private Sector Project. This 5-year program was based on competitiveness and cluster-building principles that helped CAPS’ clients target clear objectives, and develop and achieve ambitious strategies. CAPS worked with stakeholders to select four industry clusters: Tourism, ICT, Pharmaceuticals, and Computer-Aided Engineering Services. The cluster specific work was supported by enterprise level assistance, improving associations’ ability to deliver valued services, workforce development, actions to improve policy and infrastructure, and actions to improve awareness and dialogue of Armenia’s competitiveness imperatives.
Innovation and entrepreneurship were key elements of the CAPS program and one of CAPS’ key policy and awareness actions was to work with an Armenian “think tank”, EVRC, to prepare annual Armenian Competitiveness Reports. The Reports, guided by JAA’s competitiveness reporting and benchmarking methodologies, provide annual feedback on Armenia’s competitiveness performance. The 2009 Report included a special focus on innovation, and on related business linkages with universities, on workforce competitiveness, on new business startups, and on outsourced R&D and product development. The launch of the 2009 Report was chaired by Armenia’s Prime Minister.
CAPS’ work in the ICT sector, guided by the cluster strategy, has generated impressive results in the area of entrepreneurship and innovation.
JAA worked with cluster stakeholders to target key competitiveness objectives and develop an implementation strategy. The strategy for the Armenian ICT industry focused on identifying specific strategic markets, while also leveraging Armenian Diaspora connections. JAA provided ICT marketing and coaching seminars prior to major international trade shows to help firms attract new contacts; this has now become an annual initiative, implemented through the ICT association, UITE. After the training sessions, the project assisted 10 Armenian companies to participate in the ArmTech hi-tech conference in Silicon Valley, and participate in a study tour in Silicon Valley and Los Angeles. Also, 47 companies attended the DigiTec Expo 2007 and formed an IT policy working group; DigiTec participation has subsequently grown each year. Because of these activities, several Armenian IT firms made international connections in Europe. JAA also worked with the cluster to prepare an investment promotion document to draw interest from US investors. The document highlights the incredible growth of the Armenian ICT industry, driven by unique capabilities in chip design and embedded engineering. In its work with the industry, JAA addressed investors’ risk while pointing out profitable exit strategies for investors.
JAA also assisted IT companies and the GoA to articulate an e-government/e-commerce roadmap to improve national cyber-security for both public agencies and private enterprises. JAA provided advice regarding the ICT platform architecture and vertical applications clusters by presenting models, making recommendations for the implementation stage. JAA also worked with ICT stakeholders to establish a training course on international ICT security standards.
As a result, CAPS assisted companies in increasing overall employment by 30% on average, increased employment for women by 30%, was able to increase sales revenue by 41%, and increased the average value added per employee by 33%.