This year BSC Business Support Center (BSC) is celebrating the 25th anniversary of foundation. Being the first business consultancy and training company, most of the time BSC experts have spent in the marzes of Armenia.
BSC founding director Samvel Gevorgyan, through the authorial project “The business face of Armenian marzes’’, will represent all the peculiarities and uniqueness of the business approaches in marzes in the Banks.am.
I myself travel a lot: because of work, also by personal interest. I am on the ways all the time. There are years, for instance in 2018, when I have traveled from Vanadzor to Gavar, than to Goris, Idjevan, in some days to Stepanakert. And so on.
Yerevan is like a hotel. During the process I come here to spend the night, to renew my luggage to restart my traveling. Already 25 years like this. During these years I have been in 880 communities, villages, residences.
TRAVERSING THE BOARDERS OF MARZES
When I traverse the boarders of marzes, on one hand, it seems that nothing is changing, on the other, I can say that my feelings certainly change. You feel the breath and the differences of the marz. I have always searched the peculiarities. How the Gyumri people do business? And people from Vanadzor? What about Goris? I will ask a more global question: how the residence or marz belonging effects on the style of doing business and business thinking? Does it have an effect? How the Armenian marzes differ from one another?
I can say, almost with everything: the pragmatism of Idjevan people, the imagination of Armavir people, the riskiness of Martuni, the purposefulness of Artsakh, cold judgmental feature of Meghri people… All these things are beyond the obvious. For me, these things are reflected in business. Who and how imagines the business, who and how manages the business, who and how does the business.
When I was writing the book “Your Own Business in Armenia”, first thing that came to my mind were these sentences: “There is no better place than Armenia.Whoever, whatever says, I am sure on this. Armenia is a business country”.
The key point of this project is to show the peculiarities and uniqueness of the business approaches in Armenian marzes that describe precisely that marz, place, residence. I have been in hundreds of residences, have known thousands of people, have had millions of emotions, I will try to share my thoughts about the business face of every single marz.
THE SMALL MODEL OF ARMENIA
Kotayk is one of the most important territories of Armenia. First, Kotayk is the only marz that does not have any border with the neighbour countries. Second, one of the visit cards of Armenian tourism is in Kotayk. It is impossible to imagine a tourist, who is in Armenia and has not visited Garni-Geghard. Next, the best apple fields of Armenia are in the Kotayk marz. Fourth, in this region there is a great quantity of sanatoriums. Finally, the greatest part of Armenian industrial capacity is in Kotayk.
Kotayk is full of numerous mountains, rivers, lakes, gorges. Also another privilege is that Kotayk is situated in the immediate neighbourhood of Yerevan. Kotayk is like Armenia’s small model by taking into consideration the above-mentioned privileges. The region has numerous settlements, structures and complexes from ancient times to medieval ages.
From another point, the main cities of Kotayk are young, comparing to other cities of the state. Specifically, Hrazdan got a city status in 1959, Charentsavan in 1961 and Abovyan in 1963.
The most part of the cities in the marz have been constructed during 60-70 years in the vicinity of industrial big centers.
THE INDUSTRIAL CENTER OF THE COUNTRY
Thanks to its beneficial position, since the Soviet times the region has been able to set up various manufacturing enterprises, making the region the industrial center of Armenia. One of the stable developing fields in Kotayk region is energy industry. Its guarantees are the existence of 17 hydroelectric stations and “Hrazdan-5” power unit.
From industry field the leader is considered automobile industry, building materials, specifically cement production, wood-processing, stone-processing. Charentsavan, Abovyan, Byureghavan factories have been used since the Soviet Union times, although there are factories founded in recent 20-25 years: “Semur and Co” production of metal building materials and “Armbazalt” basalt fiber manufacturing factory are the best examples. Pharmacy field is also developing, for instance “Arpimed” pharmacy enterprise.
Expensive and semi-precious stone processing is also developed in Kotayk (including gold). Nor Hajn diamond processing factory is the brightest example. The region is the only one where glass containers are produced, specifically “Saranist” glass containers production factory. One of the leaders of the industry field is food processing. One of the essential productions of this field is dairy production. “Tamara” milk processing factory and “Ani product” enterprise of dairy products are the leaders of the field and export their production abroad. Meat quality standards are set by “Bacon” enterprise, and in canned production field, “Aragats Food” sets the standards.
Non-beverage drinks, beer and spring water production is diverse and numerous. Several of them are “Sipan” non-beverage factory, “Bdjni and Noy” water factory, “Kotayk” beer factory. New projects are also coming out. This year, a memorandum has been signed among several local and Chinese companies with the aim to start elevator production in Kotayk.
Overall, when you search “production+Kotayk” word combination in “Spyur”, one can find 201 production enterprises in the territory of Kotayk region.
The opportunities of active and passive rest, various touristic activities, rehabilitation of health are different in the marz too. Kotayk marz is exceptional with the quantity of sanatoriums. Aghveran, Hankavan, Arzakan, Bdjni, Arzni: the list can be continued. There are several decades, that a great part of Armenian citizens, mainly medium and higher ages, spend their rest in the sanatoriums of the marz.
Adventure and eco tourisms belong to most important directions in the marz. The winter rest options of Tsakhadzor like zeppelin, mount climbing, mount-rivers, parachute sports make the marz an exceptional one. The stone symphony of Garni is like a magnet for thousands of visitors. Tsakhadzor is also one of those places in Armenia, which is a “mandatory” place to visit no matter you are a fan of winter sports or just want to have a promenade in the city. With the number of hotels and guest houses, Tsakhadzor is in the leading position, although the marz yields Yerevan. There are 3000 historical-cultural values and monuments in the marz, which are creating a serious foundation for engaging tourists from abroad.
The next advantage of Kotayk is favourable climate conditions, especially for agriculture development. That advantage allows to develop all the branches of agriculture in the marz: cattle breeding, fruit growing, grain and vegetables cultures, intensive gardens etc. Model experimental projects can be implemented in locations at different heights, for further reproduce of succeed examples.
Some names of the marz communities have become a real agriculture brand in the country: Aramus, Nor Hajn, Ptghni, Nor Geghi, Aragyux: “Arzni” pedigree farm was also one of the first ones, which founded the further development of big farm economy in Armenia. “Kanach Arahet” (Green trail) NGO in Dzoraghbyur have become one of the leaders in organic agriculture practice education in Armenia.
TO RAISE THE USEFULNESS FACTOR OF OPPORTUNITIES
Kotayk marz has a strategic location by being in the neighborhood of Yerevan. The road to Bagratashen is crossing the whole marz, from the South to the North, allowing the marz to become a logistic center. The main consumer market of Armenia is right next to the marz stimulating foundation and increase of various productions. From the geographical point of view the conditions in Kotayk are priceless for tourism and agriculture development.
These opportunities can have an essential role for investors starting businesses in the marz. Here the Italian model of small and medium enterprises can work: enterprises with 80-100 workplaces by the clustering principle. I have always imagined that near the road from Zovuni to Eghvard will be dozens of small and medium production enterprises.
The same model can work for sanatoriums, which de facto exist, although it needs to be operated, branded and be presented to inside and outside consumers with the model of consumer competitive.
The marz also gives big opportunities for small business by providing a firm foundation to act in different fields and to collaborate with large businesses. Levon Stepanyan is one of the best representatives of small business, who motivates the young of the marz to start own business by implementing different projects. There are big opportunities for greenhouses in the highlands, as well as for development of refrigerated farms.
Thus, Kotayk marz, by appropriating its opportunities, should prove that is worth being the small model of Armenia.