Family business in Baghanis: Fulfilling the dream

01.02.2017 | 10:17 Home / News / Articles /

A fashion designer by occupation, Nuneh Yedigaryan dreamed for years to own a fashion design business. She set up a small tailoring workshop in the remote borderline village of Baghanis, hundreds of kilometers away from Armenia’s capital, and sells the products of her work in adjacent communities.

Banks.am tried to figure out what purpose the program for family business development has in Baghanis village, Tavush marz, and what stage it is undergoing now.

Source of stable income

All residents of Baghanis, young and old, know Sahman NGO well. For years, Sahman has been involved in the village’s greenhouse and beekeeping businesses.

Co-founder of Sahman NGO Anahit Nazaryan, who also heads the support program for family business development in Baghanis, told Banks.am that in the course of their activity, as a rule, they focus on families, trying to create sources of stable income for them. After years-long successful business experience in Baghanis and communication with residents, they decided to promote family enterprises in the community.

“We had greenhouse and beekeeping projects for different communities in Noyemberyan, but some families didn’t have a place for a greenhouse or couldn’t keep bees for some reasons. We decided to change the model a bit, ask the people what they wanted to do and try to implement that in their communities,” Anahit Nazaryan told.

Five beneficiaries

After announcing the program we gave the villagers 15 days to come up with ideas. We held a business plan training and received 9 applications, 5 out of which were on aeration, haymowing, and tailoring services, a fish store (and foundation of self-owned fish nursery later on), and a coffee-making machine.

The program is financed by the newly-funded US-based Armenian Eagles Foundation, which provides each beneficiary with equipment in the value of USD 600 000.

“First the condition was that we provide support only in the form of equipment, that is, we don’t give out money, but buy the equipment and transfer it to the beneficiaries,” Anahit Nazaryan said, adding that it was just a way to reduce risks.

So the community benefits

Sahman NGO selected the best plans by voting. According to Anahit Nazaryan, the criteria for selection were feasibility of the idea and its relevance for primary needs of the community.

“We chose the plans that were more or less useful for the village. For instance, we have projects on fish nursery and haymowing services, which are in demand and will be useful for all villagers, not just the given beneficiary. We have a tailoring workshop that will provide for its own needs and those of the community as well,” Anahit Nazaryan said.

In this stage of the program equipment was provided to the tailoring workshop and the fish store, as the businesses unaffected by seasonal changes.

“I applied for the program and… I won a car!”

“There was no tailoring factory in Baghanis, and I dreamed for years to open one,”Nuneh Yedigaryan said.

34-year-old Nuneh is the only female beneficiary of the program. Nuneh worked for some time as a fashion designer at Noyemberyan tailoring factory, all the while dreaming tp own a similar business.

“When I learned about the program, I applied and… I won a car!” Nuneh joked, referring to the car lottery, widely popular in Armenia. She clarified that the program actually provided her 2 sewing machines and a professional electric iron with all necessary items.

Nuneh’s workshop is currently located in a separate room of her home. The mother of two children noted that she started sewing bedclothes and selling them in the shops of Noyemberyan and adjacent villages.

Although Nuneh is the only staff member yet, she is certain that she’ll have more orders once she hangs the sign. The business will develop, she believes, and with time she will need to hire more staff.

Consultation

Apart from financial assistance, the beneficiaries receive consultation on business skills.

In particular, after completing provision of the equipment, the organizers will hold a training to teach the beneficiaries how to do business and marketing, and will conduct courses on accounting and taxes.

“We will monitor their activity throughout the year, keeping in touch with them and giving them advice on how to advertise their product, how to make posters, choose the name for the business, set the prices, etc,” Anahit Nazaryan said.

So that villagers think of migrating no more

Touching on the support program for family business, head of Baghanis administration Narek Sahakyan struggles to find words to estimate its efficiency.

According to him, main sources of income for the villagers are cultivation and husbandry, and some locals enlist in the army, serving as contract soldiers in the Baghanis unit.

Nevertheless, the head of administration observed that despite the present potential, the community residents don’t come forward with personal initiatives. People still have the Soviet era mentality that makes them wait for someone to create jobs for them.

In this context Narek Sahakyan attaches extreme importance to the support program for family business, noting that it can solve both the issue of employment and the migration problem.

“The program is indeed very important, and notably selected young beneficiaries who will be able to found their own business and stop thinking about migrating,” the inspired official said.

Victoria Andreasyan

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