Lori marz resident Vigen Mnatsakanyan has managed to make his long-standing dream a reality thanks to EU support. The Armbee apitherapy centre he has established in Alaverdi hosts tourists from different parts of the world and helps them discover the secrets of apiculture and the advantages of apitherapy.
“Api is Latin for ‘bee’. Visitors can undergo apitherapy in our api-cabins, which has a positive impact on the immune and nervous systems,” said Vigen.
His Armbee honey farm, which is the only apitherapy centre in the region, received support from the Boosting Competitiveness of regional SMEs project, co-funded by the European Union and implemented by the SME Development National Centre.
Vigen decided to continue the work done by his grandfather, who was a renowned beekeeper in Lori. “I started working in apiculture 13 years ago. I learned from my grandfather. He taught me all the secrets of beekeeping in 4-5 years and I decided to continue his work after he died.”
In the words of this beekeeper, his objective is to raise awareness among people about apiculture and apitherapy in Armenia and beyond its borders. The training component of the programme was critical in helping Vigen transform that desire into a business plan and establish his own company.
“The training sessions organised with EU support helped me learn about fundraising. The objectives of that training included teaching us business strategy and how to scale up our company,” he noted.
In Vigen’s words, he wants his api-cabins to make Alaverdi more attractive to tourists visiting Lori marz. “Because Alaverdi is known for its tourist spots, we have a large flow of visitors, I decided to create something that did not exist in the region and could turn into a good business. At first, I wanted to work only in apiculture, but when I found out about the SME support programme implemented with EU funding, I decided to apply with my idea of the apitherapy centre. I wanted to create a place where visitors could learn about beekeeping while being hosted here as part of their holiday.”