Stone Processing, Artsakh – TRDP Entrepreneur Pavlik Gasparyan
“The feeling that [you get when] you create one of the building blocks of a house constructed on your land to be used by future generations is indescribable”
Pavlik Gasparyan manages a stone processing plant in the Harav village in the Askeran region, Republic of Artsakh (officially known as Nagorno Karabakh Republic, NKR). Gasparyan, who was previously a senior professor of engineering at Artsakh State University, learned the basics of the stone processing business from his brother.
Now, Pavlik’s plant produces a variety of stone products, including blocks, tiles, rose and green marble, and border stones. Pavlik’s plant sells these throughout the Nagorno Karabakh Republic and plans to sell them in the Republic of Armenia’s (RA) market. On average, the plant produces 500 square meters of tiles per month. Gasparyan’s employees are exceptionally well paid, with a monthly salary of AMD 300,000. Currently, the business supports two households.
TRDP provided crucial assistance for Gasparyan, who says he would not have been able to set up his business without the opportunities provided by the program to people with entrepreneurial skills and inclination. With the program’s financial support, Gasparyan was able to purchase new equipment for cutting and polishing stone ore.
When difficulties arose with the shipment of equipment from China, the program assisted by handling correspondence with the shipper in English on Gasparyan’s behalf. The training provided by TRDP also taught Gasparyan about price economics and cost calculations, and he learned about competitive pricing.
Pavlik’s main motivation for applying to TRDP was his desire to establish something of his own that will guarantee a good standard of living for his family and foster local production in Artsakh. Given Pavlik’s knowledge of stone processing and experience in the stone processing industry, he decided to establish his own stone production business.
The main reason Pavlik applied to the program was to get the financial assistance to be able to start his stone production business. However, after completing the training course, Pavlik realized that it would have been almost impossible to run a business effectively without all the knowledge and skills he acquired from the program.
According to Pavlik, the entrepreneurial education and financial assistance provided by TRDP is a perfect way to foster entrepreneurship in the Nagorno Karabakh Republic, as well as in the Republic of Armenia.
Pavlik shared his knowledge and skills with his brother, who is also running stone processing business, and it was a great help for him.
Nonetheless, the way to success was not smooth and easy; Pavlik encountered many obstacles, especially in the initial years of his business. The major challenge was attracting customers. However, due to the high quality product that Pavlik provides, the number of customers has been constantly increasing over the years. The competition in the stone production business is fierce in Artsakh because major new factories have opened there recently. Pavlik’s business, however, remains competitive due to its high quality product, good service and affordable pricing.
The location of Pavlik’s production area is advantageous. It is near the quarry, which gives Pavlik an opportunity to reduce transportation expenses and offer affordable prices to his customers.
Pavlik states that the cornerstones of his success are, most importantly, high quality products, next, his respect for his employees’ and clients’ time, and last, but not least, good communication skills. All of these factors help him establish connections with individuals in the construction field and find more customers. Pavlik also attaches special importance to innovation.
“If you want to stay competitive, you should follow the trends and be innovative,” adds Pavlik.
Currently, Pavlik employs two people from his community and plans to hire one more. He also plans to purchase more machines for his business.
Pavlik’s contribution to the community is of utmost importance. He provides stones for free or at large discounts to community members for the construction of their houses. Pavlik provided support for the construction of a military cemetery for defenders of the homeland. He also provided support for the construction of the kindergarten in the community.
Pavlik said that what makes him the most happy is that he produces something that is both useful and durable.
“The feeling that [you get when] you create one of the building blocks of a house constructed on your land to be used by future generation is indescribable,” Pavlik states.
Pavlik Gasparyan confessed that without TRDP assistance, he could not have established a business and that he will always be thankful to all the representatives of the program, who struggled together with him to achieve the success he is enjoying now.
Pavlik already imagines that in 10 years his production will appear not only in the RA, but also in international markets.