BMO Academy aimed at strengthening Armenian business associations successfully accomplished
Thirteen Armenian BMOs (Business Membership Organisations) participated in a study tour to Austria and Czech Republic in the framework of the BMO Academy from March 12-18, 2018. The BMO Academy is a 4-stage capacity building initiative consisting of trainings, on-line coaching, study tour and on the job training, supported and organised by EU-SMEDA project aiming at strengthening the overall capacities and know-how of the selected Armenian BMOs to ensure that the latter will engage in improved and more efficient dialogue with governmental entities and ministries, will be able to better interact with their members, will achieve more effective membership management and enhance their PR, communication, surveying and networking skills.
The first stage of the academy had been successfully convened in January 2018 with inputs from international experts who during a 4-day intensive workshop had trained the Armenian BMOs on a number of essential topics for business associations such as membership development, advocacy and communication strategies, development of membership databases and surveys, development of individual action plans and projects, etc.
Within the study tour to Austria and Czech Republic the Armenian BMOs had a chance to observe best practices and successful cases from leading European business associations. In particular the following was achieved:
The participating BMOs got acquainted with various types of Business Associations of different structures and operating methods and observed the advantages and disadvantages within the different types of associations. Based on this, discussions began on the merits and disadvantages of implementing mandatory membership in certain organisations in the Armenian context. Furthermore, they realised the importance of need assessments and surveys among their stakeholders and how essential it is to ensure effective communication between the members and management of business associations to avoid misunderstanding and different expectations between the management and the members, based on practical example from the Austrian business association - VIDA flex.
Additionally, the participants obtained information on membership and membership directories within a number of business associations they had visited, in particular membership based on advocacy (Federation of Austrian Industries) versus membership based on services (VIDA flex) or a mixture of it. Aspects of visibility of members and associations were discussed in the light of directories. Different forms of directories and visibility for members were introduced.
The participants were informed on Public Private Dialogue as it is organised within BMOs in Austria and the Czech Republic, and what makes such dialogue effective. In addition, examples of Public Private Partnerships with business associations providing services usually considered as public services through business associations were outlined. In this context, the Austrian system of Social Partnership was introduced. The systems were shown from both sides, in the view of the government and associations.
Through the information from the Austrian and Czech BMOs it was possible to highlight the success factors essential for business associations and to identify the reasons why certain business associations are more successful than others. Based on this highly productive learning experience the Armenian BMOs are now well prepared and ready for improved and "member-oriented" performance with some tangible results to follow soon."
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