AXEL’22: Accelerating Impact

Author: Angela Hassassian

AXEL’22: Accelerating Impact

The AXEL'22 Acceleration program was launched in October 2022 and will come to a close in mid-February 2023. It was designed to support the growth and development of social enterprises in Armenia. Over the past four months, seven validated and market-proven social enterprises have been part of a transformative journey, gaining access to professional networks, expert consultancy, entrepreneurship knowledge and mentorship.

The acceleration program was designed to provide an intensive training and mentorship experience, empowering participants to boost their products, scale their businesses and impact, and attract investors. With up to 10 sessions related to investment readiness, impact measurement, scale-up models and more, and up to 12 hours of one-on-one mentoring sessions with accomplished experts and practitioners, the participants have been able to establish strong links and connections, improve their investment readiness and access new markets.

We are proud to introduce you to the seven organizations participating in the AXEL’22 acceleration program, each of them working to make a positive impact in the Armenian community.

First, there's ISSD (Innovative Solutions for Sustainable Development of Communities) NGO. This organization is dedicated to promoting sustainable development through innovative projects in areas such as waste management, agriculture, education, business and women's empowerment. They have been operating in different regions of Armenia since March 2017 and are at the forefront of promoting proper waste management and recycling practices.

Next, there's ZarMan, a social enterprise that produces environmentally-friendly developmental games and toys, including "talking notebooks." Their products are designed to enhance different aspects of child development, such as mobility, speech and math skills, among others.

Another participant is TMM Soft, a social enterprise that focuses on producing napkin boxes with the involvement of autistic teenagers, providing them with employment opportunities.

Source Foundation is also a participant of AXEL’22, working to help children with disabilities become active members of society, while also protecting their rights and engaging their parents in various activities. The foundation has created centers and services to provide comprehensive rehabilitation therapy and skills development activities for these children.

Play It Forward is a soccer club for boys and girls aged 6-16, offering recreational sports, and building new skills and teamwork. All of the coaches are UEFA certified, and all proceeds from the club go to supporting GOALS' sustainability efforts throughout rural Armenia.

Homeland Development Initiative Foundation (HDIF) works to initiate, facilitate and nurture sustainable economic opportunities in rural areas and for vulnerable groups. They aim to empower women through education and training in entrepreneurship, and through the conceptualization, design and development of handmade products.

Finally, there's Aregak Bakery, the first barrier-free and inclusive café in Gyumri. This café employs people of all abilities, including young people with special needs and their mothers, to craft delicious pastries, cakes, sandwiches and more. The café is a project of the Caritas Aregak Foundation, dedicated to empowering young people with disabilities in Gyumri.

The goal of AXEL'22 is to help these amazing, impact-driven founders scale their companies, and the program is working to achieve just that. The workshop topics have been carefully selected to cater to the needs of the participating businesses and the exposure to specific industry knowledge provided by the program is leading to a valuable network of mentors and workshop leaders. The networking opportunities among participants and industry experts, as well as among the participants themselves, is fostering idea sharing, feedback and unexpected potential opportunities.

Furthermore, the program is supporting the participants in creating their impact measurement and management systems, focusing on customer development measures, and commercialising their products. As a result, the most successful participants will be eligible to apply to the Impact Investment Fund (VIA Fund) developed within the Collaborate for Impact Project.

So far, the AXEL'22 Acceleration program has been a success and we are proud to have played a role in the growth and development of these impact-driven businesses. We look forward to continuing to support the participants as they continue to do amazing work, scale their businesses and increase their impact.

We are proud to have them as participants in the AXEL’22 acceleration program and can't wait to see the positive impact they will have on the Armenian community.