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Support to SME Sector Development Project (s) Evaluation
Commissioning Unit: Armenia
Evaluation Plan: 2010-2015
Evaluation Type: Project
Completion Date: 10/2010
Unit Responsible for providing Management Response: Armenia
Documents Related to overall Management Response:
 
1. Recommendation: In view of the success of the start up programme, it is recommended that the SMEDNC continues to implement it.
Management Response: [Added: 2010/11/15]

The recommendation will be considered for project continuation.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
1.1. Discussion of the recommendation during the Outcome Board meeting.
[Added: 2010/11/15] [Last Updated: 2011/04/07]
Project Coordinator, portfolio manager 2010/12 Completed
2. Recommendation: The revolving credit fund addresses the critical lack of access to affordable credit for micro and small enterprises, and it is considered by some stakeholders to be the area where the project has added most value. However, it is currently only open to businesses that have participated successfully in the start up programme. In order to extend the reach of the fund, while maintaining the quality of new loan applicants, it is recommended that consideration be given to the possibility of inviting other donors to contribute capital, and at the same time giving beneficiaries of their support activities access to loans from the fund. Organisations that could be approached might, for example, include: GTZ, which implements business start up activities in two marzes; and SDC, which is preparing a project to support business women in Syunik marz.
Management Response: [Added: 2010/11/15]

The recommendation will be considered for project continuation.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
2.1. Discussion of the recommendation during the Outcome Board meeting.
[Added: 2010/11/15] [Last Updated: 2011/04/07]
Project Coordinator and Portfolio Manager 2010/12 Completed
2.2. Meetings and discussions with respective donors on possible future cooperation.
[Added: 2010/11/15] [Last Updated: 2012/05/07]
Project Coordinator and Portfolio Manager 2011/12 Completed Negotiations concluded with ADB and JICA
3. Recommendation: While the project supports micro and small enterprises, the need for parallel improvement of the local operating environment is not addressed by this or other projects in the four marzes that were visited. It is recommended that the UNDP and the SMEDNC explore possibilities for enhanced engagement of marz and municipal stakeholders in local economic development with a view to enhancing the effectiveness and impact of activities in support of the establishment and growth of micro and small enterprises.
Management Response: [Added: 2010/11/15]

The possibility for better involvement of local authorities will be discussed and addressed. However the corruption risks must be considered in this regard and thus it may be full scale implemented only after piloting and in selected regions.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
3.1 Discussion of the recommendation during the Outcome Board meeting.
[Added: 2010/11/15] [Last Updated: 2011/04/07]
Project Coordinator and Portfolio Manager 2010/12 Completed
3.2 Piloting of the approach in 1 or 2 places.
[Added: 2010/11/15] [Last Updated: 2014/05/12]
Project Coordinator and Portfolio Manager 2012/12 Completed A dried fruit collection center was established together with the local government of Bagratashen community in Tavush region of Armenia in 2013. As relevant, the model will be replicated in UNDP Armenia local economic development projects.
4. Recommendation: It is recommended that, in future, the UNDP?s extensive international experience, expertise, and networks in the area of SME and local economic development be more effectively leveraged. This is not to suggest that international consultants can or should replace Armenian experts. Rather, the introduction of targeted international expertise should act as a catalyst and as a link to wider networks. This is particularly important in view of Armenia?s somewhat isolated situation at present. In order to limit the expense, consideration should be given to utilising the services of UN volunteers, and seeking cooperation with organisations such as Senior Experten Service, PUM Netherlands, CESO/SACO and other similar organizations.
Management Response: [Added: 2010/11/15]

The recommendation will be considered for project continuation.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
4.1. Discussion of the recommendation during the Outcome Board meeting.
[Added: 2010/11/15] [Last Updated: 2011/04/07]
Project Coordinator and Portfolio Manager 2010/12 Completed
4.2. Research opportunities and develop relationships with respective organizations.
[Added: 2010/11/15] [Last Updated: 2012/05/07]
Project Coordinator and Portfolio Manager 2011/12 Completed BRC mission enabled to share international experience. Since then regular contacts are maintained / ensured with relevant BRC staff
5. Recommendation: B&B marketing centres are not working effectively, with the result that they are not referring customers to B&B enterprises. At least in one case, the marketing centre is a B&B and this presents a potential conflict of interest. It is recommended that the B&B cluster model be reviewed. Consideration should be given to transferring the function of marketing centres to organisations such as local tourism offices, which might also act as independent quality controllers.
Management Response: [Added: 2010/11/15]

The recommendation will be considered for project continuation.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
5.1. Discussion of the recommendation during the Outcome Board meeting.
[Added: 2010/11/15] [Last Updated: 2011/04/07]
Project coordinator, Portfolio manager 2010/12 Completed
5.2. Research and assess the organizations to which the function may be transferred.
[Added: 2010/11/15] [Last Updated: 2012/05/07]
Project coordinator, Portfolio manager 2011/12 Completed Research was completed. The Marketing Center Services were transferred to local tour operators
6. Recommendation: The project document has not been updated since 2004. It is unclear in many respects, and is not a useful strategic management tool. In order to maintain a clear strategic overview, it is recommended that key strategic project planning documents are reviewed from time to time and updated as necessary to enhance clarity and to take account of changes in the project purpose and environment.
Management Response: [Added: 2010/11/15]

The recommendation will be considered for project continuation.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
6.1. The recommendations of the evaluator will be attached to the current project document. The opportunity for developing a new project document for 2011 will be discussed.
[Added: 2010/11/15] [Last Updated: 2011/04/07]
Project coordinator, Portfolio manager 2010/12 Completed
7. Recommendation: In order to avoid open-ended financial commitments to any institution, and to promote financial ownership and sustainability, it is recommended that future UNDP projects in support of SME and local economic development have clearer objectives and incorporate a clearly specified project duration and expiration date. There should also be a clearly defined exit/ handover strategy and timetable. Independent or peer ex-ante review of strategic project documents could help in this respect.
Management Response: [Added: 2010/11/15]

The recommendation will be considered for future projects

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
7.1. The recommendation will be discussed with Programme management.
[Added: 2010/11/15] [Last Updated: 2011/04/07]
Project coordinator, Portfolio manager 2010/12 Completed
8. Recommendation: The project budget is somewhat fragmented, and part of the UNDP?s financial contribution has been utilised for purposes that are not directly relevant to the core target group, namely micro and small enterprises. In order to maximise the effectiveness and impact of limited UNDP funding, it is recommended that, in future, the UNDP?s financial contribution to SME and local economic development activities be focused more on activities that are directly relevant to the target group(s).
Management Response: [Added: 2010/11/15]

This issue/recommendation could be argued as it depends from the definition of the target group. In the current projects all activities are considered as relevant to the target group, which are SMEs and national institutional framework supporting development of SMEs. Though the effectiveness of some activities is less than of others.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
8.1. Discussion of the recommendation during the Outcome Board meeting.
[Added: 2010/11/15] [Last Updated: 2011/04/07]
Project coordinator, Portfolio manager 2010/12 Completed
9. Recommendation: It is recommended that future support focus on local economic development, rather than only on enterprise development. This will help to ensure that all relevant actors are involved, including marz and municipal authorities. Future support could be concentrated on tourism and leisure, which offer considerable potential for generating income in the marzes from Armenian and foreign visitors. The project should aim to diversify the tourism market by making better use of natural assets, such as landscape and climate. The project should involve not only catering and accommodation enterprises, but any regional or local enterprises and other organisations that contribute (or should contribute) to regional and local tourism and leisure infrastructure and services. The project should also engage with actors at national and international levels, such as tour operators.
Management Response: [Added: 2010/11/15]

The recommendation will be considered for project continuation.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
9.1. Discussion of the recommendation during the Outcome Board meeting.
[Added: 2010/11/15] [Last Updated: 2011/04/07]
Project coordinator, Portfolio manager 2010/12 Completed
10. Recommendation: At least initially, the project should focus on one or two marzes that offer the best possibility for effective engagement of key marz and municipal actors, and other relevant stakeholders.
Management Response: [Added: 2010/11/15]

The recommendation will be considered for project continuation.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
10.1. Discussion of the recommendation during the Outcome Board meeting.
[Added: 2010/11/15] [Last Updated: 2011/04/07]
Project coordinator, Portfolio manager 2010/12 Completed
10.2. Research and define the marz and local authorities that best suit for piloting the approach.
[Added: 2010/11/15] [Last Updated: 2012/05/07]
Project coordinator, Portfolio manager 2011/12 Completed Project has a particular component focussing on the Tavush Region
11. Recommendation: Possible areas for technical support include: general business skills; energy efficiency and renewable energy; product and service quality; and environmental protection.
Management Response: [Added: 2010/11/15]

The recommendation will be considered for project continuation.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
11.1. Discussion of the recommendation during the Outcome Board meeting.
[Added: 2010/11/15] [Last Updated: 2011/04/07]
Project coordinator, Portfolio manager 2010/12 Completed
11.2. Research opportunities for joint projects within UNDP and with other UN agencies in the frameworks of the selected topics.
[Added: 2010/11/15] [Last Updated: 2014/05/12]
Project coordinator, Portfolio manager 2012/12 Completed Three joint projects were implemented with Support to SME Development and Aid for Trade Projects in Tavoush region of Armenia. As a result of the projects: i) Dried Fruit Collection Center was established in Bagratashen community; ii) 29 green houses were established in Tavush and Ptghavan communities; iii) and 14 individual entrepreneurs were capacitated for dried fruit production.

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