Vahik Grigoryan is the founder of “Rest Zone” complex in the community of Astghashen, Askeran, Artsakh Republic. Mr. Grigoryan became aware of the AUA Turpanjian Rural Development Program implemented in Nagorno Karabakh Republic from other beneficiaries who suggested to him to apply. Mr. Grigoryan had 15 years of experience in business, but no formal education or business training. He owns land and an organization that specializes in trade and agriculture. His idea of and justification for building a resort center in Astghashen Village, Askeran region, combined with the potential of successfully running other concurrent businesses convinced members of TRDP to provide financial assistance and make his business plan come true. Having many ideas in his mind prior to applying to the program, Mr. Grigoryan revealed that his participation in the entrepreneurship training course under TRDP’s framework allowed him to make those ideas more specific and goal-oriented. The training courses helped him to plan and successfully organize the activities presented in the business plan, and to make his goals more explicit. During the courses, he also learned how to run the business, how much to invest initially, what the investment might be worth at first, and when he could anticipate a return on his investment.
Mr. Grigoryan received two TRDP business loans: one to build a resort center and the other one to establish a fish farm. Future plans include building a wedding hall and hotel cottages to make the business profitable throughout the year rather than running the business only during the seasonal periods. Moreover, he disclosed that he already prepared a business plan for these projects, adding that he is greatly thankful for the collaboration with TRDP. Previously, he did not invest in any advertisement and did not pay enough attention to the quality of services provided. He now realizes that in today’s competitive business environment, a business needs to excel at providing higher quality services and making the services more attractive to potential clients. When asked about how successful his business was, there was a short and confident answer: “Extremely successful!” Mr. Grigoryan noted that one sign that he is running the business well is that it has been growing since its establishment. He acknowledged, however, that the current year (2016) was an exception as there were fewer guests this year, but he explained that this was due to the war threat in April and May. While the resort center provides clients a broad range of services, Mr. Grigoryan indicated that he plans to expand the resort’s capacities.
Another indicator of success was reported to be the preference of clients to come to his resort center rather than visiting two other nearby resort centers. The guests come primarily from Armenia and different regions of Nagorno Karabakh, but they also come from abroad. The resort center also builds trust among its clients in the sense that all weekdays and weekends are open and there is a flexible system of sales for clients.
Mr. Grigoryan also participated in and donated to charitable events and companies. For example, he invested in the preparation of a memorial in his village devoted to the heroes of the war. Furthermore, every year, meetings are conducted near the memorial and Mr. Grigoryan provides financial assistance to all the victims’ families. At the end, Mr. Grigoryan reported that after five years he expects to have all indicated business plans realized to make the impact of his project greater in the region and financial contributions to different initiatives even more appealing.