ASF Awards First Small Business in Warconflict Region
In July, small-businesses were greatly impacted by the conflict at the border with Azerbaijan. Armenia Support Fund’s first small business awardee was a family-owned bed and breakfast located in the Tavush region of Armenia.
Azerbaijan violated the ceasefire treaty with Artsakh and Armenia, and advanced into the Tavush region of Armenia, attacking mask factories, kindergartens, and taking Armenian citizens as hostages. Amid a pandemic, Azerbaijan threatened to jeopardize Armenians' health and safety.
ASF and The Paros Foundation representatives in Armenia traveled to the Tavush region to share the situation with the world. One particular small business, The Edge Of The World, captivated our hearts and illustrates the perseverance, warmth, and strength of the Armenian people. The Edge Of The World is a significant contributor for the Tavush community. It is a Bed and Breakfast extraordinaire.
When touring Armenia, it is easy to be overwhelmed with the beautiful historical monuments and sites that are located in Yerevan. However, Garik Patyan, the founder of The Edge Of The World, encouraged and attracted tourists into the hidden gems of Armenia; the villages. Specifically, the region of Tavush in the village of Norashen.
Three years ago, Garik and his family started an agricultural tourism business in Norashen. While working on the fields, Garik was captivated by the natural serenity and decided to open his own bed and breakfast in hopes of attracting local Armenians, diasporans, and other international tourists to the extraordinary region of Tavush.
Norashen didn’t have any hotels open at the time and Garik’s small business, The Edge Of The World Bed and Breakfast, initiated tourism to Norashen.
During the past two years, Garik attracted many international guests. He and his family created a hospitable environment in which they cooked meals for their guests and ate with them. They taught the guests Armenian cultural norms and how to make traditional Armenian food. The guests were fully emersed in Armenian life by living amongst locals and appreciating the villagers’ stories.
Villages, like Norashen, were hit the hardest by COVID, and local small businesses that were the backbone of these villages began to crumble.
Many bookings were canceled, and the Edge of the World was unable to make any income.
The Armenia Support Fund has helped the Edge of the World with their financial burdens in order for the bed and breakfast to maintain their presence and continue to work in Norashen.
Garik and his family hope to use the ASF Small Business Grant to continue their unfinished project of building a restaurant for the locals and tourists. He is determined to keep Norashen’s spirit alive and show the world the tradition, warmth, and breath-taking sceneries of Tavush, Armenia.