Continuous improvement of business environment for small and medium enterprises (SME) is a key direction of Armenian Government's reform program. In its efforts to enhance the enabling environment for doing business, the Government of Armenia, jointly with the Business Support Office of European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD BSO), has taken important steps to promote structured partnership and successful policy dialogue between the state and the private sector. Those included establishment of the Inspection Reform Coordination Council and of the SME Development Council.
Creating a platform for a meaningful public-private dialogue was the key objective in setting up the Inspection Reform Coordination Council. An innovative approach and creative practice resulted in full ownership of the reform program among business community.
The successful cooperation through the platform under the Inspection Reforms Council set a stage to broaden the scope of the policy dialogue and establish a more advanced module to enhance the effectiveness of the public consultations. There was a need to establish a new forum with limited participation of senior cabinet members and relevant representation from the private sector, with a clear understanding that the private sector is expected to become more proactive and maintain effective pipeline of issues for regular consideration.
To address this need, after intensive stage of consultations with all parties concerned, the government developed a concept on establishment of the SME Development Council. The concept was circulated within the government and presented to the prominent private sector representatives. Based on the feedback, all comments and suggestions were carefully reviewed and considered while finalizing the charter and modus operandi of the Council.
On July 7, 2011 the Government made a decision on establishment of the SME Development Council. The idea is that the Council will serve as a platform for policy dialogue aimed at identifying, prioritizing and resolving key constraints to the SME development in Armenia. The Council is chaired by the Prime Minister. It has nine permanent members, five of whom are representing the private sector, two - donor organizations and 2 - the Ministry of Economy.
The private sector is represented in the Council by the most prominent and active associations: Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Armenia, Chamber of Commerce and Industry of