Vahagn Torosyan learned about the Turpanjian Rural Development program many years ago because his family has obtained financing for other businesses from this program. His mother already applied and received two loans from TRDP. The first loan was for the reconstruction of a food store and the second one was for enlarging their store to include clothes and household goods. His mother learned about the program from the program leader during his usual visits to villages to present the program. Vahagn decided to participate in the program since he knew that it provides a lot more than just a loan at low interest rate. Before applying to the program, he already had the business idea of opening a car wash in his own community of Nor Kyank, but training courses helped him change many things in his general business idea. He did not have any practice in this field of business, but he was sure that his idea was going to work.
Within the scope of the TRDP training, Vahagn obtained new skills in marketing and financial management. He learned to present business ideas on his own. Moreover, as a result of training, he understood how different kinds of businesses are taxed and what kind of taxes he should pay. Training helped him to understand marketing strategies, and to differentiate profit from income, etc. The training course helped him picture his business a lot better and understand what kind of strengths and weaknesses his business had. He liked the working environment and attitude of staff and trainers in the training. Their attentiveness helped him a lot. Before applying and after the training course, his view about the program changed a lot. Now he knows that the training course really helps one be confident when establishing any kind of business. There was no need for him to share his knowledge now, but he is always ready to help with everything he can if someone needs his help in the future.
Vahagn got the building for the car washing service station in 2014. In 2015, he participated in the program and started the reconstruction of the building, and he opened his car wash in 2016. The station is situated near the Artik-Gyumri highway and is close to the road. There are no other such stations. Moreover, the station is different from others since there are no workers in the service; rather it is a self-service station. A special car washing machine is used for that. As a result of the training course, he uses a special marketing strategy in his business. Compared to other car washes, prices in his station are lower. Moreover, the quality of used materials is higher. People can use the car washing machine longer than in other stations.
Vahagn thinks that his business is successful, since it met his expectations. He uses marketing techniques that he learned during the training and they helped him develop his business. Moreover, the station’s location is very favorable for that kind of business. As Vahagn said; “I am successful because my business is successful”.
Currently Vahagn has many faithful customers. His main customers are his relatives, friends and people who were satisfied with the quality of the services he provides. Among his customers are those who drive on the main highway and also people living in his community.
As Vahagn said; “Each step was a challenge for me while opening my business, starting from electricity finishing with water…With the dedication and help of TRDP staff, I was strong enough to overcome these challenges”. Currently he doesn’t cooperate with other TRDP beneficiaries as his business is different from theirs, but his store gets drinks and bread from other TRDP beneficiaries.
His business had a positive impact on his community, since there were no car washes in the community in the past, so residents were forced to go to the city. He thinks that running a business is better than working for others because you are the organizer of your business and you enjoy the joy of counting your income at the end of the day and month. He is very proud of his business since it is successful and people like the quality of the services he provides. His three main strategies for successful business are low prices and high quality, correct financial planning, and dedication to his work.
As advice to future applicants of the program, he encourages them to apply and not be afraid to establish their business. Moreover, he advises applicants to count all the risks and think thoroughly about their businesses. As Vahagn said; “Without the support of TRDP and its staff, I would have many difficulties. This program gave me a loan at a low interest rate and supported me during the whole preparatory process of establishing my business”.
In five years, he imagines he will be working in the same place, but in an enlarged and more developed car wash with two car-washing machines.