Continuing the ICT Literacy Training for Armenian Women Entrepreneurs

In 2013, Women Entrepreneurship Development program has been launched in Armenia with support of Asian Development Bank (ADB). The Program is supported by a technical assistance (TA) which will have two outputs: (i) increased capacity of the Small and Medium Entrepreneurship Development National Center (SME DNC), and participating financial institutions to support women entrepreneurs; and (ii) strengthened awareness and technical capacity of women entrepreneurs and business support organizations to ensure women entrepreneurs can benefit from increased credit resources under the financial intermediation loan component. The TA is implemented over 3 years during program implementation (2013-2015).

In frames of the TA, a needs assessment survey was organized, to identify women entrepreneurs' needs in business development services. The survey identified among others one gap where it was suggested to intervene within the existing TA frame. This gap is the lack of knowledge in ICT, which affects business development of women entrepreneurs. Therefore a pilot action was designed in 2014 with the objective is to increase women entrepreneurs' competencies in ICT use for their business. This objective was to be reached by developing specific women-focused trainings for ICT usage in business on a basic and an advanced level.

In Summer 2014 the first ICT trainings for Women Entreprenuers were conducted in 2 regions of Armenia as pilot activities and these trainings served as a base for further development of the program.

Based on the success and demand of the ICT Literacy training it was decided to expand the trainings to 5 further regions in Armenia during 2015. In Summer this year basic and advanced training sessions in Amawir and Aparan have taken already place.

The implementation steps are as follows:

1. Selection of the target region considering the number of women entrepreneurs and start-ups, availability of training facilities with IT equipment (and internet access) e.g. schools, cybercafés etc. as well as in coordination TA activities conducted so far.

2. Brief assessment of the ICT usage and the level of ICT literacy of the female target group in the selected region and the preferred format of the training (evening / weekend etc.). This was done through a short survey of the targeted participants.

3. Based on the self-assessment, grouping of the target group in two groups (basic and advanced, max. 10 persons each)

4. Determining the content of a 2-day basic training (general computer literacy: Windows, MS Office, Internet browsers, how to look for business information online, list of useful resources and websites –including government portals-, how to open and use an e-mail account etc. business communication via e-mail) and a 2-day advance course on ICT usage in business (why and how to be represented in the internet, how to promote their business through social media platform, developing own web-pages, usage of sector-specific platforms, internet sales and online market places to find buyers and suppliers, etc.), developing of handouts etc.

5. Implementing the four 2-day-trainings including post-training assessment of the training by the participants

After implementation of the trainings in the five different regions, a brief evaluation and lessons learnt will be done and further adaptation of the approach, the training content etc. considered.