Our eat-pray-love journeys most likely end up in a small souvenir store, trying to objectify and document our memories. However, when purchasing something that will remind us of our trip, we never think of who is behind the scenes of our documented memories.
Gayane Khachatryan is an entrepreneur from Vanadzor who back in 2014 founded Apricot brand to highlight the role of people with disabilities in our society by providing them with employment opportunities.
First, there were wooden souvenirs, which quickly spread the word in Christmas markets in Yerevan.
-It was hard for me to sell the product, as people thought of it as a source of bad energy and bad luck, Gayane told CivilNet.
Over the past years of working on the wooden souvenirs, Gayane decided to expand the business, producing Armenian Herbal Tea and chocolate․
-Though the souvenir business was very interesting, we still needed to keep up with our finances and this was the time that I came up with an idea of expanding the business and at the same time increasing the staff.
With this in mind, she started reaching out to people from regions and villages on the fringe and even though the idea did not specify a gender, it turned out that all of the new team members were females.
Each year, Gayane organized special trainings for women, teaching them how to collect the herbs so as not to damage the nature.
Year after year, as the company started to grow, COVID-19 global pandemic hit the world and everything went wrong since then. Gayane couldn't afford the company any longer, as losing most of her workforce was not the best option at that time. Year after struggling with the business, Gayane received an email, announcing the open call for Accelerator#5 women-led-business program which seemed to be a good source for boost of her business. ACC#5 for women-led businesses is designed to support women-led businesses affected by COVID-19, aiming to support them in digital transformation, market positioning and sales increase.
-As for me, the most important expectation was the fact that I was going to be able to develop my skills in marketing, especially in social media marketing.
The classes are still on the go and Gayane continues to actively participate in the program with a hope that everything will turn into their places, as soon as possible.
*ACC #5 program is designed for women and kids who are ready to dive into the tech world and become a part of the life-changing community.The core mission of the Accelerator #5 program is to empower women and kids living in Armenia to make the first steps in the tech world by delivering tech and business trainings, as well as helping them to come up with their own startup projects. The program is tailored to the needs of kids (girls and boys) and women, who have little or no field knowledge.
*Accelerator #5 (ACC #5) vol.3 is implemented by UNDP in Armenia’s ImpactAIM Accelerator in cooperation with Innovative Solutions and Technologies Center (ISTC Foundation), Enterprise Incubator Foundation (EIF), and UNICEF Armenia. The project is funded by the United Nations (UN) COVID-19 Response and Recovery Multi-Partner Trust Fund (COVID-19 MPTF).