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Armenian Women Pursue Entrepreneurship With the Help of AUA

4 min read

YEREVAN, Armenia — In November 2022, a steadfast supporter of the American University of Armenia (AUA), Dr. Hriar Cabayan, took the bold and far-reaching initiative to launch the Sarkis Cabayan Small & Emerging Business Development Program in Armenian Provinces With Scholarships for Women. This program, named in honor of Dr. Cabayan’s father, emphasizes the important role quality education plays in the lives of women and the impact it could have on the development of a country. The Cabayan program offers full scholarships to female entrepreneurs who seek to advance their business acumen and create private ventures that will contribute to the economic development of Armenia and Artsakh. 

The program constitutes a six-month intensive study covering courses in entrepreneurship, business, financial management, and market exploration. Additionally, participants take English language courses in advance of the core business program. Several participants who are enrolled in the Cabayan Program have shared their insights, expectations, and experiences to date. 

Armenian Women Pursue Entrepreneurship With the Help of AUAGohar Tadevosyan

Home City: Vanadzor

Company Name: Avetis

Description of Venture: Production of hand-made leather products

With great anticipation, I joined the program, recognizing the unique opportunity it would offer women entrepreneurs like me. Although I didn’t have to take English classes in advance of the program, I enthusiastically waited for the business program to start. Throughout the six-month waiting period, Margarit, the coordinator, kept in touch with me, consistently updating me on the start date. Now, I am thrilled and eager to learn.

Through this program, I hope to gain the necessary knowledge and skills training to make significant strides toward realizing my dream of becoming a successful businesswoman. I firmly believe that this training program’s focus on small and emerging businesses in the Armenian provinces, along with the scholarship it allows for the participation of women like me, provides a unique platform for empowerment and growth. I am excited about the prospect of gaining a grasp of various aspects of entrepreneurship, including business planning, marketing strategies, financial management, and networking. Ultimately, my aim is to enhance my entrepreneurial capabilities and establish a strong foundation to sustain and grow my business.

At present, I am actively working towards creating a more sustainable business model that aligns with my long-term goals. I am focusing on expanding my market and boosting sales to cultivate a strong and loyal customer base. Through the program, I aspire to gain practical knowledge and guidance on developing effective business strategies that will help me achieve these objectives. By leveraging the resources and support available through the program, I am sure I’ll be able to implement innovative ideas, explore new markets, and overcome any challenges that may arise along the way. I am grateful for this opportunity and look forward to completing the program, knowing it will be a valuable learning experience.

Armenian Women Pursue Entrepreneurship With the Help of AUAElza Gintetsyan

Home City: Gyumri

Company Name: Zebra Drive Ltd

Description of Venture: Driving school

I have a background in finance and accounting, which had placed me in a business development manager position at “Herbs and Honey,” a restaurant in Gyumri, from 2017 to 2020. I also served as the business development manager for Gyumri’s first inclusive bakery, “Aregak.” In 2020, I ventured into entrepreneurship and opened my own business, Zebra Driving School, in Gyumri and expanded it a year later, establishing a second branch in Kapan.

Throughout my journey, I have participated in various programs aimed at developing women entrepreneurs, including the EU IRIS Business Incubator, AGBU Women Entrepreneurs, and Asian Development Bank’s training. Additionally, I was fortunate to enroll in the AUA Open Education “Strategic Business Development” course from 2018 to 2019, which proved to be very valuable and greatly contributed to my growth. 

In the current program, I am focused on learning about marketing and sales, particularly customer service rather than product only. Despite my extensive business background, I must keep abreast of changes in the business world and be able to address them effectively. As a business professional, I aim to acquire the skills necessary for business development. Moreover, I am also eager to explore grant opportunities that would facilitate the growing Zebra Driving School. We have several ideas we would like to bring to life for which we are seeking additional funding.

At Zebra Driving School, we aim to position Armenia as a leader among countries that have regulated road traffic․ This is our overarching purpose that serves as the basis of everything we do at Zebra. Currently, our work revolves around three main objectives: to provide driver training to wounded and disabled soldiers, to instill in them an appreciation for safe driving, and to attain financial stability in our business.

Armenian Women Pursue Entrepreneurship With the Help of AUALusine Avagyan

Home City: Gyumri

Company Name: Creative Corner

Description of Venture: Hospitality service school

The announcement of this program immediately attracted my interest. As a co-founder of Creative Corner, a hospitality service school in Gyumri, I am eager to receive the support and mentorship to make our business more successful and sustainable.

I am in this program with the goal of gaining a better grasp of industry challenges and also connecting with and learning from experienced professionals in the field to be able to create a greater impact in our community. Learning about real-world experiences from entrepreneurs who have flourished in business will be very valuable. I am confident that this program will equip me with the necessary skills and expertise to succeed. I jumped at this opportunity with excitement, ready to learn, grow, and make a meaningful contribution.

Currently, I am focused on achieving several entrepreneurial goals: Firstly, to establish Creative Corner as the leading service school in Gyumri by expanding the range of courses and services we offer to attract students from across the country. Secondly, to enhance Creative Corner’s sustainability, both financially and environmentally. This entails finding ways to increase revenues from our courses and services and reduce costs and waste. And thirdly, to make a positive difference in the community by helping individuals learn new skills and develop talent to forge ahead in their vocation and pursue their purpose in life. While these goals seem ambitious, we firmly believe they are within reach. With hard work and dedication, we are confident that Creative Corner will thrive.

Founded in 1991, the American University of Armenia (AUA) is a private, independent university located in Yerevan, Armenia, affiliated with the University of California, and accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission in the United States. AUA provides local and international students with Western-style education through top-quality undergraduate and graduate degree and certificate programs, promotes research and innovation, encourages civic engagement and community service, and fosters democratic values. AUA’s Office of Development stewards the University’s philanthropic efforts exclusively for educational purposes.