On September 16-18, 2016 six successful rural businesses supported by the American University of Armenia’s Turpanjian Rural Development Program (AUA TRDP) participated in an annual event known as Armenia EXPO 2016, which took place in Yerevan, Armenia. The businesses from various regions of Armenia and Artsakh showcased their products to different national and international companies as well as to individual visitors of the expo. They included a sewing workshop from Noyemberyan in Tavush, a felting buisness from the Aregnadem village in Shirak, a cheese production plant from the bordering village of Voskepar (Tavush region), a B&B located in the Areni village of Vayots Dzor, as well as a honey, wine, lemonade, and confectionery production plant from Martuni in Artsakh.
The event was an unprecedented success. The AUA TRDP booth was constantly full of visitors from different countries interested to buy handmade scarfs, felted shoes and to taste some delicious honey or wine from the mountains in Artsakh. The businesses from Artsakh received a substantial number of offers of cooperation from national as well as international exporting companies to enter Armenian and foreign markets. The products sewn and made in the sewing and felting workshops received many orders from kindergartens, tour agencies as well as from individual visitors. The business from the bordering village of Voskepar, Tavush, Armenia received orders of 100 kg of the delicious tasty cheese produced under very difficult conditions of constant fire on the border.
The program itself got a lot of attention from international visitors, mass media for being a unique program in Armenia that gives rural residents an opportunity to realize their potential and develop their own communities through their own capabilities. The beneficiaries were very grateful to the program for supporting their participation in the event that greatly increased their marketing potential and opened new opportunities for further development of their businesses.