The website www.syrarbi.am was created by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH to serve as a digital platform on economic integration issues of Syrian refugees in Armenia, and is now hosted and maintained by the Syrian Armenians’ Union (SAU) NGO in order to provide targeted information and ensure effective communication among key stakeholders.
Since the start of the civil war in Syria, Armenia has welcomed around 22.000 Syrians of primarily Armenian descent who brought with them entrepreneurial spirit, innovative savvy, and the drive to start a new life and thus enrich the Armenian economy. In order to identify, communicate and meet their economic needs, the “Economic Integration of Syrian Refugees in Armenia” (EISRA) project as part of the “Private Sector Development in South Caucasus (PSD SC)” programme was launched in November 2015 by GIZ on behalf of the German government. Since then, it has brought together international and local partners from the public, private, civil society and multi-national spheres in order to serve the target group by involving and capacitating them.
The project is aimed at improving preconditions for income generationof Syrian refugees in Armenia through coordination of dialogue and cooperation among partners,as well as facilitation of the target group’s access to markets, finance and existing business networks, employment and business support measures. The EISRA project also supports promotion of their products and services during sector-specific local and international exhibitions andfairs.
As an initial activity, the project together with its partners organised the business forum “Week of Economic Opportunities (WEO)” in May 2016 to promote entrepreneurship, job orientation, networking and capacity building for Syrian Armenians, showcase their products and services and facilitate interaction with the public.
As part of its WEO activity, EISRA created the website www.syrarbi.am. The name of the website SyrArBi, inspired by the concept of SYRian Armenian BusIness, was created not only for the purposes of this one-time event but rather to have a domain in the aftermath of the WEO that will serve as a lively public information platform.
SyrArBi.am is currently a comprehensive platform for all issues related to the economic integration of Syrian Armenians. On the one hand, it is supporting the target group, enabling them to access relevant information on how to access finance and tap into business, financial and vocational & skills development opportunities in Armenia, as well as receive updates about upcoming trainings, workshops and other events. On the other hand, it will help to inform the government and support organisations about relevant stakeholders and on-ongoing activities as well as queries and results. Thus, SyrArBi.am also includes a compilation of success stories of Syrian Armenians who have established their businesses in Armenia and other publications.
SyrArBi.am was handed over to the SAU NGO to maintain the website sustainably as a public good. At the same time, SAU uses the platform to interact with current and new members and the business community.
SAU is one of the 23 members of the Working Group (WG) on Economic Integration of Syrian Armenians, co-chaired by GIZ and the Ministry for Economic Development and Investments of the Republic of Armenia (RA MoEDI). The goal of the WG is to establish a favourable environment for identification, harmonisation, consolidation and coordination of activities related to the economic integration of the persons of concern.