In Armenia, much like many countries across the globe, social entrepreneurs struggle to make a real impact in their communities. Despite so many innovative ideas and such passion for making a difference, there always seems to be a lack of the necessary funding to bring these amazing projects to life.
It was with this problem in mind that the idea of the VIA Fund was born.
The VIA Fund is the first social impact investment fund of its kind in Armenia, specifically designed to support and develop social entrepreneurship. It was established on December 14, 2022, by Impact Hub Yerevan, within the framework of the "Collaborate for Impact" regional project, implemented by EVPA in Eastern Partnership countries, with funding from the European Union.
The VIA Fund sets out to stimulate investment flows in the social enterprise sector, and to act as a link between social enterprises and investors. By providing a combination of loans and grants, the fund aims to support social enterprises in achieving their goals and increasing their social impact.
The fund has already received the first investment of €300,000 from the European Union, and another €1.2 million will be needed to implement the first 5-year Fund's goal.
Thanks to the fund’s first investors and supporters, C-QUADRAT Ampega Asset Management Armenia LLC, The Whitt Family Foundation, and DONOS Conseil, the fund already has €380,000!
Over the next two years, the fund will provide interest-free loans and financing with a combination of grants, and starting from the third year, the transition to a more traditional investment toolkit will take place.
"The social entrepreneurship ecosystem in Armenia needs more business-oriented financing. The VIA Fund is our first step in that direction," said Gevorg Poghosyan, CEO of Impact Hub Yerevan.
The VIA Fund will support social enterprises in achieving their goals and increasing their social impact, bringing international investment experience to the Armenian social entrepreneurship ecosystem.
They will be able to grow, increase production, reach new markets, improve the lives of their employees and so much more. By expanding their operations and reaching more customers, so many social enterprises will be able to achieve the financial sustainability necessary for them to make a real impact on their communities.
As the VIA Fund continues to grow, it aims to become a beacon of hope for social entrepreneurs all over Armenia, providing them with the resources and support they need to succeed. This in turn will help to create a culture of social impact investment in the country.
The VIA Fund aims to produce brilliant examples of how a small idea, with the right support and funding, can make a big difference in the world. It strives to prove to the world that when we invest in social entrepreneurs, we invest in a better future for all of us.