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Agripreneurs creating tomorrow: Promising project for Armenian youth

It was just last year when YPARD Armenia team organized a meeting with juniors from Agribusiness Teaching Center (ATC) to present YPARD and the opportunities that it offers. 

As it was expected fruitful discussion with students followed the presentation. Students ''tortured'' YPARDians with questions concerning agricultural research funding opportunities, agribusiness start-up processes and grant proposal writing techniques. 

This very productive discussion revealed the big need of consultancy for future agripreneurs who are willing to start a business in the agricultural sector in Armenia. Very soon YPARD Armenia active member Armen Ghazaryan with ATC alumni Gayane Sargsyan initiated the Agripreneurs Creating Tomorrow (ACT) project that will help young and creative agripreneurs to turn their great ideas into reality. It’s worth mentioning that the project received funding from United States Department of State and is free of charge thus allowing for the active participation of vulnerable groups of youth. 

A seven-month-long training is going to have 1-2 mandatory training sessions every week with field trips to existing agribusinesses and networking opportunities with representatives from private and public sectors.  By the end of the program, participants will have ready business plans and will be equipped with necessary skills and knowledge to find right financing sources for their businesses. 

Visit YPARD Armenia member Anna Hovhannisyan's greenhouse

Field visits are very accepted practice at Agribusiness Teaching Center (ATC). They are very important and at the same time enjoyable part of education at ATC. 

Along with visiting local agribusinesses, undergraduate students have the chance to hold interviews with senior management staff of the companies to gain insights into company's production, management and marketing strategies and finalize their impressions and recommendations in a report that they submit after each field visit. 

The recent field visit of senior UAB class was made to BYUR-AKN agricultural cooperative specialized in dried fruit production and to its neighboring organic strawberry greenhouse. Students were warmly welcomed by the co-founder of cooperative Anna Hovhannisyan who is ATC Alumni and YPARD Armenia country representative.  Students already knew Anna since she had a presentation for their class in the beginning of 2017 and she kept her promise of inviting them to her farm located in Byurakan village of Aragatsotn region to share her experience as a young agripreneur with them. 

The meeting with Anna Hovhannisyan was particularly motivational for students, as she worked hard on implementing her business idea in Armenia since she was junior at ATC. Correctly assessing available resources and being well aware of funding opportunities in Armenia Anna and her family successfully started this business that was just an idea some years ago. And this is not only a family business, she and her family work hard to prosper their community making it a tourist attraction center.  

Anna's case comes to prove the simple fact that in an agricultural country like Armenia, it is very important to be proactive and innovative to achieve your goals. 

 

Photo courtesy: Agribusiness Teaching Center