AUA TRDP-Supported Startups Transform into Growth-Oriented Businesses

YEREVAN, Armenia – The American University of Armenia (AUA)’s Turpanjian Rural Development Program (TRDP) has been providing assistance and support to startups in rural areas of Armenia, Nagorno-Karabakh, and Javakhk since the program began in 2006. As a result of their ongoing mentoring, they’ve helped establish 265 new businesses that are continuing to expand and become successful, growth-oriented ventures.

Kamo Hambaryan, who runs a fish farm in Bazum Village in the Lori region, is one of TRDP’s thriving beneficiaries. Mr. Hambaryan applied to the program in 2012 with the intention of developing the small fish farm he was operating in the village. After successfully completing the entrepreneurial training course, he presented his business plan and was awarded financial assistance. He now runs seven fish ponds located along the river Bazum, where he breeds trout, karp, and sazan. According to Mr. Hambaryan, his farm produces high quality fish because the river is rich with natural resources for the fish to consume.

Encouraged by the success of his fish farm, Mr. Hambaryan decided to diversify his business and create a rest zone in the area, which he knew there was a high demand for. After successfully completing the requirements of his first loan, he applied for a second loan from TRDP in 2015. Currently, Mr. Hambaryan is in the process of organizing the rest zone, which includes constructing dining rooms, hay harvesting, tree planting, electrical installation, and other activities. Within the framework of the TRDP mentoring program, the regional team is working closely with Mr. Hambaryan to develop eco farming and eco tourism in the area.

In addition to the personal success that Mr. Hambaryan has found through his business ventures, he has also greatly impacted the community. His business has created several jobs, and his family members are all actively involved. With the support of TRDP, Mr. Hambaryan also occasionally organizes various community events. In April 2015, he organized a tree planting ceremony in Bazum village to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide. Mr. Hambaryan’s socially conscious business practices served as a great example and helped foster a sense of community among the villagers.

Artsakh Harutyunyan, from Martakert town in Artsakh, is another TRDP beneficiary who continues to develop and expand his business with the support of the program. After graduating from the Faculty of Law program at Artsakh State University, Mr. Harutyunyan successfully completed TRDP’s entrepreneurship training and received his loan to establish a car service business in Martakert. The success of his business prompted him to do market analysis, after which he found out there is a high demand for tire vulcanization and balancing services in his region. He then applied for a second loan through TRDP and was able to increase the services his business offers. Mr. Harutyunyan’s business has created three jobs in the community.

Since TRDP’s start, the program encourages economic development in rural areas of the Republic of Armenia, the Nagorno Karabakh Republic and Javakhk, Georgia by providing entrepreneurs with education, access to funding, and support to start businesses, create jobs, and improve their communities.

Founded in 1991, the American University of Armenia (AUA) is a private, independent university located in Yerevan, Armenia and affiliated with the University of California. AUA provides a global education in Armenia and the region, offering high-quality, graduate and undergraduate studies, encouraging civic engagement, and promoting public service and democratic values.