The Near East Foundation is the oldest nonsectarian, apolitical development organization in the United States. It was founded in 1915 to respond to the needs of Armenian Refugees fleeing Turkey during the genocide there. Almost a century later, the Near East Foundation is returning to Armenia to offer its sustainable development method, one that has been replicated the world over since its inception, most notable by the US Agency for International Development and the Peace Corps.
Since 2007, the Near East Foundation started teaming with Business Paretta and the Gegharkunik Chamber of Commerce and Industry to identify business models that could help develop economies in the rural areas of Armenia. Once they proved the busines model, they began a program of microfranchising, replicating these models in other areas and other industries in Armenia, with Armenian entrepreneurs. The program includes microfinance, business training, and technology training.