Women entrepreneurs develop their business activities in Armenia


Anna Voskanyan. Photo: UNDP Armenia
Anna Voskanyan. Photo: UNDP Armenia

“Physical disability should not become an obstacle on the way to realizing one’s dreams,” says Anna Voskanyan. Based on her own experience, she knows that it is possible to achieve even one’s most challenging goals provided that the conditions are enabling.

Anna, 33, runs a small family hotel in Chambarak, a town in the Gegharkunik Province of Armenia. The desire to popularize her city inspired her to launch her own business. Many foreign and local tourists used to visit Chambarak, though there was not a single convenient hotel in which to stay overnight. Therefore, Anna decided to take the first step herself. Later she renovated her space with the help of various projects and began offering her guests a bed-and-breakfast service.

After some time, UN Women launched the regional project “Women’s Economic Empowerment in the South Caucasus” in Gegharkunik Province. Anna went to the project’s introductory meeting and became one of its participants. Gradually, she started to take trainings and was then awarded with a small grant that enabled her to purchase the necessary furniture for her guest house.

Trainings and workshops were held on business planning, marketing, social media and branding. Anna says that the project enabled her to acquire the knowledge and skills necessary to grow her business and increase her income. “I learned a lot,” Anna reflects. “Thanks to the project, I could plan my activities and finances much better. I was introduced to the best available practices, and I managed to redistribute resources, as well as attract new customers. I also managed to extend my business and social contacts. As a result, my self-confidence was strengthened, and I understood that I could continue growing the business I loved.”

Besides Anna, there were 275 women participants from Gegharkunik Province attending the trainings and workshops. In addition, the women had free consultations concerning their activities within the project, and 128 participants were funded by small grants. Now Anna intends to further develop her business and increase her sales in the future.

The UN Women project “Women’s Economic Empowerment in the South Caucasus” implements its programme in Armenia in partnership with the Ministry of Territorial Administration and Infrastructure. The project is funded by the Governments of Switzerland, Austria and Slovakia.