“If you believe in success, you will be a success”
With the assistance of Turpanjian Rural Development Program (TRDP), Ishkhan Harutyunyan expanded his toilet paper made with recycled paper production business in his village of Harich in the Shirak region. With the expansion, he tripled the production of toilet paper and now provides his product to more than 50 supermarkets and stores throughout the entire Shirak region. Ishkhan started to attract customers from Yerevan, the capital of Armenia.
After leaving for Russia and working there for a period, Ishkhan realized that he could not live far from his homeland and returned to Armenia. After deciding to live and work in his country, Ishkhan established his toilet production business in 1998. Initially, the products were distributed in the community. Later, not being able to meet the demand, Ishkhan decided to expand his business. However, Ishkhan lacked the necessary means for the expansion. It was at that time that he learned about TRDP and decided to apply to get financial assistance.
After participating in the TRDP training course in 2010, he expanded his business by purchasing new equipment to increase toilet paper production. In the past, the business produced 8,000 – 10,000 rolls of paper per month. After receiving a loan, his business drastically increased the production to 35,000 – 40,000 rolls per month. After paying off the first loan, Ishkhan applied to TRDP for the second time and acquired a vehicle needed for product distribution.
The most useful skills Ishkhan acquired in the course of TRDP trainings were accounting, marketing, and record keeping skills. The acquired marketing skills helped Ishkhan to expand the market for his business and attract new customers.
“It seems to you that because you have business management experience you know everything about marketing, but it is not the case. When you start learning, you understand that the field is much deeper, there is both philosophy and a lot of new information in the field to be explored,” Ishkhan stated.
Ishkhan notes that though he is a teacher by profession, his business has long been his second profession. Due to his business, Ishkhan is now able to both foster production and provide for the well-being of his family.
Ishkhan continuously researches the field of sanitary paper production and always applies new, innovative technologies to raise the quality of the products, meet the demand of customers, and stay competitive in the market.
The business created two places of employment for the residents of Harich community. Ishkhan’s toilet paper production is one of the few businesses in the community. Ishkhan donates a portion of his income to the renovation or construction of irrigation water pipes in Harich.
What Ishkhan Harutyunyan loves most about his job is the management process. The fact that he is the owner of a business that employs local labor for production makes him feel quite satisfied and happy.
“For me our product is like a child who grows gradually. When after the process of hard-work and huge effort, you see high quality product that is demanded by the people, you feel satisfied and happy,” Ishkhan added.
According to Ishkhan, keys to his success are hard work, thorough knowledge of the field, and entrepreneurial characteristics.
Ishkhan thanked TRDP for all the assistance he has received throughout the years. “TRDP is an unprecedented, unique program in Armenia that brings a real change,” added Ishkhan.
Ishkhan, motivated by his success, plans to apply to the program for the third time to expand his business and raise the quality of the paper produced.