At the end of 2011, International Alert's Caucasus Business and Development Network (CBDN) organised a second business forum in Gyumri, Armenia, with the aim of promoting Armenian-Turkish business relations and economic cooperation. The forum hosted around 25 Armenian and Turkish companies from various sectors such as cheese-making, beekeeping, wine-making, meat production, and hotels, restaurants and tourism.
The programme of the three-day event was designed to bring interested businesspeople from the same Armenian and Turkish sectors to introduce their products, share experiences and provide a space for an open discussion on any potential cooperation.
The exhibition that was organised during the first day of the forum brought together representatives of local government, civil society, businesses people and the media. It featured various Armenian and Turkish cheese and meat products, honey, teas and wines, including CBDN's regional Caucasian brands such as Cheese, Tea, Honey and Bouquet (wine).
The event also provided a chance for cheese-makers to visit cheese factories in Ashotsk and Amasia, while beekeepers visited the villages of Hatsik and Beniamin in the Shirak region to explore the local beekeeping sector. Wine-makers had an opportunity to visit the Oshakan wine factory and MAP Company, while others went to visit hotels and restaurants to look into the Armenian hospitality sector.
Some innovative plans for future cooperation were presented during the last day, including organising visits to some Turkish wine-makers and exploring the technologies they use, involving the new Armenian and Turkish beekeepers in CBDN's Caucasus Honey projects, and organising an exchange visit to Kars to develop a joint strategy on regional cheese-making, to name but a few.
The Gyumri-Kars Economic Forum was a successful event held in the framework of International Alert’s Economy and Conflict project. It was generously supported by the USAID-funded consortium consisting of the Eurasia Foundation, the International Centre for Human Development, the Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs of Armenia, and the Yerevan Press Club. International Alert and the Caucasus Business and Development Network (CBDN) will try to find ways to take the ideas developed during this forum forward.
Read articles in the media covering the Forum:
Watch a video about the forum: