Yet another American University of Armenia Turpanjian Rural Development Program (TRDP) beneficiary, Slavik Chapanyan, marked the opening of his TRDP-supported business. The new business, Arevashogh, which means sunshine in Armenian and was inaugurated with a red ribbon-cutting ceremony on November 2, will be involved in cheese production.
TRDP Chair Dr. Haroutune Armenian, Mr. Chapanyan, TRDP staff, and many villagers and others participated in the opening ceremony. In his speech to the guests, Mr. Chapanyan expressed his gratitude for TRDP’s support and explained that, without the program’s assistance, he could not have made the necessary renovations nor purchased the equipment to produce the safest and highest quality cheese.
The location of the factory in the village of Berdashen places it in one of the most remote villages of Armenia’s Shirak region. Berdashen is home to only 62 households and borders both Turkey and Georgia.
When Mr. Chapanyan learned about the opportunities that TRDP offers, he decided to apply and establish a business in his village. The goal-oriented and forward-thinking entrepreneur successfully completed the TRDP training courses and, with TRDP’s financial assistance, opened the cheese factory, which now has the capacity to produce a variety of high quality cheeses, including Roquefort cheese, in clean, sanitary conditions. Mr. Chapanyan intends to export some of his cheeses to the Russian Federation.
The cheese factory is of strategic importance for the small and isolated village of Berdashen, creating five new jobs and contributing in other ways to the village economy. Arevashogh will buy raw milk from the villagers. Some Berdashen villagers, who were motivated by Mr. Chapanyan’s venture, are now considering applying to the program to obtain support for their own business ideas.