Ameria CJSC has conducted a comprehensive research in SME sector, which makes it possible to perform efficient assessment of the current situation, expectations and development prospects in the sector. The work was done based on the information collected in 2019 and is exceptional owing to comprehensive description, industry forecasts, and expert opinions.

The research covered 729 SMEs operating in the 5 largest cities of the republic – Yerevan, Vanadzor, Gyumri, Armavir, and Ejmiatsin, including 93.8% micro, 5.1% small, and about 1% medium enterprises (classified in accordance with the RA Law on State Support to Small and Medium Entrepreneurship).

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Overall, compared to year 2018, small and medium-sized companies saw a slight positive change in the business environment and their own economic situation in 2019. If considered by sectors, the situation improved significantly for real estate companies, which can be attributed to the apparent rise in real estate prices. SMEs operating in the trade sector experienced major deterioration during the same period. Situation is the worst for SMEs mainly dealing with import, while the export sector recorded certain improvement.

Given the utmost importance of access to finance for development of the SME sector, special attention was paid to cooperation of SMEs with banks. 86% of SMEs covered by the research mentioned having cooperated with banks over the past 3 years, i.e. they used certain services with positive effect for their activities. Of all banking products, loans and money transfers are of the highest demand among SMEs, and the most important factors when choosing a bank are the speed and quality of service, tariffs, professional competence of the staff, etc.

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Compared to the previous similar research by Ameria CJSC (2012), currently SMEs make more short-term investments, such as investments in the working capital, renovation, etc., and relatively less long-term investments, such as investments in intangible assets or buildings and constructions.

Emphasizing the use of innovative and digital technologies in the financial sector, Ameria CJSC’s research also includes the study of demand for distance services. According to the results, on the average 6 out of 10 companies prefer an extensive branch network, while the remaining 4 opt for distance banking; and the bigger the SME, the more important is the availability of distance banking.

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This is the second comprehensive research of the SME sector conducted by Ameria CJSC. The first one was performed in 2013. The works were based on both secondary (available publications and information) and primary data – the results of SME sector research initiated by Ameria CJSC. Particular attention was paid to comparable data collected in the same sector of other countries.