Story and Photos by Anna Arakelyan | Business Education Expert | Development Principles NGO
Translated by Liana Hayrapetyan | Communication and PR Coordinator | Heifer Armenia
Shushan Khachatryan, a 16-year-old girl from the Saramej community of Armenia's Lori region, is engaged in Heifer Armenias Young Agriculturists Network of Armenia (YANOA) project and belongs to the YES! Youth Club in her community, where she is a member of the business direction, or area of study. Through the project, Shushan received a small grant of $100 after presenting her business plan and started her business in April 2012.
I was extremely happy to learn that my business plan was approved," Shushan said. "I was happy because I would be provided with an opportunity to practice the business skills that I gained attending the classes of business education at YES! Youth Club in our community. Receiving the youth grant, I was able to prove to myself, my parents and friends and neighbors that, although I am so young, I am already able to run my own small business and generate income due to the knowledge and skills I gained at YES! Youth Club."
Shushan bought 30.8 pounds of haricot, a type of bean, seeds for 14,000 drams, or about $33.50. She also purchased bio-humus and two spades. Shushans total expense, including travel, reached 40,000 drams, or $100.
"When I was developing my business plan I took into account many details," Shushan said. "I made SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) analyses, as we were taught at the club, and selected a business idea that required minimum risks. I developed a business plan for growing and selling haricots. Yet, in my simple business idea I invested an innovative approach. I decided to provide recipes of dishes prepared from haricots to all the customers who would buy haricots from me. Everybody in the neighborhood talked about my new business approach of providing recipes to the customers."
From late June to August, Shushan harvested about 265 pounds of string beans, which she sold for a total of 42,000 drams, or about $105. In mid-September she harvested about 110 pounds of kidney beans, which she sold for 50,000 drams, or about $125.
My total income was 92,000 drams (about $230)," Shushan said with a nice, modest smile. "I kept 40,000 ($100) to fulfill my pass-on (Passing on the Gift®) responsibility. The rest of the money, which is my profit, Im going to invest in the same business to enlarge it.