On the road to Armenia – field trip
31. May – 2 June 2016
Here are some impressions from the latest BlueOrchard field trip, which took place in Yerevan, Armenia. Our trip started on Monday, 30th of May from Zurich. After a long flight we landed in Yerevan and got swiftly through airport customs control. The hotel we stayed in was very tidy and modern.
Our first meeting point on Tuesday morning was the Central Bank of Armenia. There we were explained the current economic situation of the country by the governor. Armenia’s aim is to reach higher independency, despite the significant influence of the Russian Confederation. From the monetarist point of view, the country is stable with a healthy inflation rate.
Our next destination in the afternoon was the InecoBank. There we were welcomed by the CEO and his translator. He informed us that the bank is one of the larger Micro Finance Institution and additionally very profitable. After the meeting we visited three microloan customers of InecoBank.
The first client was “Gic Ev Guyn LLC”, a painting material store, which is led by Mr. Qanqanyan. He imports his goods from Russia and the Czech Republic and sells it to the local artists. Following, there was a successful and stylish flower and wedding accessories store named “Any Rose LLC”, positioned in the heart of Yerevan.
To meet the third customer we were taken to Garni, which is located a one-hour drive from the capital. We had the pleasure to meet with “Aquarius LLC”, a travel agency which is specialized in inbound tourism. The loans taken from InecoBank were mostly invested in the construction and equipment of a Guest House in Garni.
The next day we gathered with representatives of FINCA Armenia UCO, a non-bank microfinance company. Its CEO explained us that the values of the institution are very ethical. He says that nevertheless trust is the key of their business and not only the money from the investors.
Following the example from the day before, we visited the micro entrepreneurs, who are FINCA’s clients. In the beginning we were introduced to Artyom Tsatryan, a young man who followed his passion of goldsmithing. He had to go through different struggles in his carrier, but thanks to FINCA, he now owns his own store with different employees. For the future he hopes to improve his machinery, to be able to supply a higher quality of jewels.
Lastly, we met Vazgen Sirakanyan in Araqs, based in a village in the region of Armavir. Thanks to microloans he was able to buy land for greenhouse. He is now efficiently harvesting different vegetables and plants.
It is always a unique experience to have the chance to meet micro entrepreneurs on field, to talk with them, to feel the energy and culture of work. Armenia is a beautiful country which is worth to be seen.
By a participant of the Armenia field trip