E-commerce program for Armenian WSMEs

The Armenia Women Entrepreneurship project, led by IFC Europe & Central Asia in partnership with the Embassy of Japan in Armenia, offers opportunities for Armenian Women-led Small & Medium-sized Enterprises (WSMEs) to enhance their skills in exporting and e-commerce. IFC is a member of the World Bank Group and the project aims to improve the economic outcomes of women entrepreneurs in Armenia by advancing their business competencies and access to business networks.

Globally Cool supported WSMEs through a series of trainings and an e-commerce coaching program to reach a joint goal: to elevate the e-commerce capabilities, create jobs, raise additional funding and increase the revenues of WSMEs. At the same time, we also increased the capacity of selected Business Advisors (BAs) to support women entrepreneurs in mentorship and individual coaching.

For this project, we adopted a co-creation approach, taking into account the needs and circumstances of the WSMEs from the very outset of the project. Our local expert played a vital role in connecting to businesswomen and in translating their needs into the programme. Furthermore, the e-commerce program was scheduled in a way that allowed beneficiaries to balance learning and job responsibilities.

Products

Year

2022 – 2023

Country

Armenia

Type of activity

  • Branding and Promotion
  • Capacity Building
  • Coaching
  • Digital Marketing
  • Globally Cool Academy
  • Market Intelligence
  • Strategy Development

Activities

  • Collaborating with our local consultant in organizing the outreach to Armenian WSMEs and BAs.
  • Conducting a training needs assessment to get to know the current skills, priorities, expectations and needs of the participants.
  • Developing two ready-to-use training kits: “Boost your export readiness” and “Boost your e-commerce”, with eight modules each. Both kits have customised PowerPoints, assignments, self-assessments, quizzes, images, videos, and a tailor-made download platform via our Globally Cool Academy.
  • We included the following topics in the export readiness training:
    • Introduction and why export
    • Gauge your readiness: export audit
    • Find your most promising market
    • Market access requirements
    • Market entry strategy
    • Being competitive: your costing and pricing strategy
    • Find your buyer’ and connect with the buyer: the sales pitch
    • Effective trade fair participation
  • For digital marketing and e-commerce, we trained participants on these topics:
    • E-commerce and digital marketing strategy
    • An effective website
    • Search Engine Optimisation
    • Social media
    • E-commerce introduction
    • Your online shop – payment gateways and logistics
    • Your online shop – after sales and webshop optimisation
    • Connecting to B2C/B2B e-commerce platforms
  • To reveal potential new markets for WSMEs, we conducted three Market Intelligence studies on apparel, brandy and vegetables, fruits, and nuts preparations.
  • We designed a Training of Trainers (ToT) curriculum for Business Advisors to deliver interactive, participatory, engaging gender-sensitive training on the “Boost your export readiness” and “Boost your e-commerce” curricula.
  • We delivered two three-day group training workshops to 100 WSMEs in physical format.
  • We delivered two two-day ToTs to a cohort of BAs that support WSMEs.
  • We created and facilitated a virtual space for networking for the 100 participating WSMEs that can last beyond the completion of this program. This virtual space serves as a safe space for discussion and idea sharing between WSMEs.
  • We supported a selected group of twelve companies in setting up or enhancing their e-commerce, in close collaboration with the BAs. This includes optimizing an online shop, setting up a payment gateway, product presentations, image selection, SEO-optimized content, and the like.
  • We created a monitoring and evaluation plan with the outcome and impact indicators. The program progress was evaluated against the suggested targets, including the indicators on the number of participants who accessed new markets, increased revenues, and created new jobs.

Results

Some results we’d like to highlight:

  • Based on the actions presented in an outreach plan, we conducted an active recruitment campaign. Among other things, AYWA-Women Entrepreneurs Network of Armenia has actively shared the announcement about the program via social media and their mailing list. As a result, 18 BAs and 113 WSMEs applied.
  • After the group training workshops, we conducted an evaluation and gave participants the opportunity to provide us with feedback on the workshops. The overall quality of the trainers was rated with 4,95, on a scale from 1 (low) to 5 (high) and the quality of the training was rated with 4,83, on a scale from 1 (low) to 5 (high).
  • The virtual space for networking consists of 109 participants and is being actively used by WSMEs to introduce their companies and to share knowledge on export- and e-commerce-related topics.
  • Twelve WSMEs were selected for an intensive coaching program and this has yielded significant accomplishments for those who participated. The companies have demonstrated noteworthy progress in enhancing their online presence, diversifying their product portfolios, and refining their e-commerce platforms.
  • A survey among the twelve WSMEs showed that the program had a positive impact in enhancing export readiness, e-commerce platforms, increase of revenues, job creation, and fundraising.