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smeuite2017 “Armenia lacks the system for protection of whistleblowers in the business sphere, which is based on the innovative technologies,” Mr. Karen Zadoyan, President of the Armenian Lawyers’ Association says. “We shall try to solve this problem in the scope of “Evidence-based Advocacy for Reform” project. Our program includes innovation aimed to identify the problems in business sector, as well as protection of SME of rights and the dialogue with the Government aimed to implement reforms in the business sector,” Karen Zadoyan said at the meeting with the lawyers of business sector. The project is funded by the German International Cooperation (GIZ), which signed a Grant Contract for implementation of the project with the Consortium of the Union of Information Technology Enterprises, Armenian Lawyers’ Association and European Business Association (Lead applicant of the Consortium is the Union of Information Technology Enterprises). “When there is a good idea, it is also easy to find partners,” Karen Zadoyan said during the meeting.

“The main trump card of this program are innovative solutions for the collection of information on business-related issues and corruption risks in the business sector; the web platform, which will also allow to ensure privacy of SMEs’ representatives.” Ms Anna Karapetyan, UITE Projects Manager hopes that the project will create incentives for efficient business operations, she referred to an Internet platform saying, “We must have a platform where people can freely, and sometimes unanimously represent their problems, which should have very quick solutions, if possible.”

Mr. Garegin Galustov, Business Development Manager of European Business Association said that the enquiry, which the organization carried out among 140 companies showed that people are reluctant to express their concerns in an open and transparent way.  “It talks a rather long time before the dialogue may take place, or in other words we are able to assure the respondents that there is no danger,” he said.

Awareness is another problem that must be solved. International Expert Carl Ulbricht said, “Half of the case will be done if we always inform the people about the platform, so that they are aware of it and use the platform.”