In the spring of 2022 due to the war 110,000 Russians arrived in Armenia. Some of them managed to get used to it so well in a year that they have already opened their own business. A year has passed since the first wave of relocation and, in March 2023, we decided to find out how the entrepreneurs who moved to Armenia during this time and filmed about it are doing vlog.
There are a lot of good projects and we have not yet managed to cover them all, although we ran through Yerevan and Gyumri and collected material for you with all addresses, links, appearances and passwords, and also asked for a lawyer and managing partner is hiring a lawyer, Lilit Sahakyan, to comment on the results of the entrepreneurial year, based on the experience of the consulting company.
Move2Armenia tries to support new Armenian entrepreneurs in a variety of ways: we tell our audience about all such initiatives, together with M2A Business lawyers we collect aCurrent instructions on doing business in Armenia, arrange useful lectures and grow supportive business community.
PES (Embassy of Aesthetic Pleasures)
Address: Yerevan, st. Sarmena, 72
Ilya Kusnirovich, co-founder of the institution, says:
“PEU is part of the Moscow creative association aesthetic joys. Our mission here is diplomatic and cultural, which is why we called ourselves the Embassy of Aesthetic Pleasures. Yerevan is a big hub city that lets in a lot of people and stories. And these are not only Russian relocators – we have a lot of guests from Lebanon, Iran and Europe. So an embassy is a very appropriate term for our establishment.
Our first working day was July 15, 2022, exactly three months after the move. We spent about 180,000 $ to open the establishment. Fellow co-founders have solid ferret experience (a segment of the service sector and a distribution channel for goods with direct consumption of goods at the point of sale), so stupid spending was avoided. Our project is designed for payback within a year. The dynamics suggests that the main investments will be repaid by the summer, but since part of the profit is invested in new processes and individual elements, the full payback will come somewhere by December 2023. It is difficult to give an accurate forecast - for example, it was impossible to predict the mobilization, and such things change a lot in the conditions of the task.
Address: Yerevan, st. Arama, 42/1
Aigul Nosulya, co-founder of the brand, says:
“My husband and I, and at the same time my business partner, moved a year ago, and the store was opened after six months of our stay in Armenia. At that time, we already had a chain of stores in Moscow, so the system was debugged and there were no problems. We did the repairs ourselves about 1,000 $ were spent on the openingwhich paid off immediately.
A surprise was the fact that it is very difficult to import essential oils into Armenia, which are part of almost all cosmetics in our country. Need a lot of documents and approvals. But it’s okay, this is just one of the tasks and we are coping.”
Says the founder of the brewery Sasha:
“I arrived at the end of March 2022, and the brewery began to materialize 3-4 months after the move. I do not have a bar, but a brewery, but these introductory notes, unfortunately, did not make it easier for us to get a license to produce alcohol. This document in Armenia is tied to a specific room, and at some point we had to move from that point already recorded in the cadastre, throwing 500,000 drams to the wind.
It took about 5,000-7,000 $ to open, investments have not yet recovered, but everything is ahead .. I like the ongoing processes - I get high from the process of repair and brewing. I could not imagine that brewing beer at the factory would be so much more interesting and at the same time more difficult for me than at home.
Address: Yerevan, st. Raphael Lemkin, 14
Argenika Burmistrova, the founder of the store, says:
“I was born in Yerevan and lived here until the age of six, then I left and returned only on March 7, 2022.
The RageGarage project is not a story about commerce, but primarily about conscious consumption and a safe environment. Manufacturers of clothing, and especially denim, are among the largest consumers of water in the world. Nearly 3,000 liters of water are required to produce one pair of traditional cotton jeans. And this is a huge problem. Therefore, in fact, the main goal of the project is not to recoup the invested money, but to become a kind of mission, to support the environment and local eco-activists. I am not the person who came to teach the locals how to live. But on the contrary, I would like to learn from local activists myself, to understand what is dear to them, to give a platform for expression.
In September, we had a technical opening, but then the store had to close in order to resume work 10 days before the New Year. During this time, we managed to complete the repair, think over some additional details, get used to the conditions. In total, we have invested about 10,000$ without taking into account the cost of things.
Address: Yerevan, Mashtots Ave., 15/3
Mariyka Semenenko, co-founder of the bar, says:
“It took us half a year to prepare for the opening - we arrived in early March and opened in August 2022. Why is the name "2022"? We arrived this year, and this is also the year in which everyone's life has changed dramatically. We are in Armenia, so we didn’t want to name the place in Russian or English and decided that numbers would sound the most honest.
The bar is located in a residential courtyard, and it was a pleasant surprise for us that we were so warmly received here and helped a lot. About 26,000 $ were invested in the discovery, this money should fight back by May. We did the repairs on our own, so there were not so many opportunities for some dangerous expenses. Once, at a local flea market at the Hrazdan stadium, we bought Armenian-made Soviet light music, which was very hot in the summer - at a temperature of 40 degrees in the shade it was completely unbearable to be near this stove, so we gave it to the children of a friend. So in the end, the waste turned out not so stupid.
A lot of Russians come to our bar yearning for domestic craft and take several bottles with them at once. And it often happens that they have nowhere to put these bottles. Here Razdan helped us again - we met Gurgen-dzhan there, who sold bags made from cereal bags. It turned out that he had epilepsy and could not do anything else. We asked him to collaborate and he agreed. These bags hold up to 10 bottles or cans of kraft, the perfect amount.”
Address: Yerevan, st. Alexander Spendiaryan, 4
Nikita Stolyarov, co-founder of the wine glass, says:
“I arrived in Yerevan exactly a year and one day ago, and already on May 13 we had an opening with tinctures, friends and a full range of fun.
Together with our partners, we have invested up to 20 000 $Everything paid off within six months. In general, we were very accurate and even in terms of finances throughout the entire process.
But not everything can be predicted - for example, a neighbor from the top floor sometimes swears and throws bottles. However, this can happen anywhere.”
Address: Yerevan, st. Pushkin, 43
Leah and Anna, co-founders of the cafe, say:
“In June we moved to Yerevan, and in February the opening took place. At first, we rented a small room of 12 square meters, repaired it for almost three months, invested a lot of effort and nerves.
To be honest, we were sure that at the opening we would just sit with friends and eat a cake, but in the end, people even stood on the street, it was quite crowded.
Address: Yerevan, st. Martiros Saryan, 16 p. 3
The founder of the institution Dima Shingarev says:
“Hummus&kimchi is an Israeli and Korean street food establishment. We opened in 4 months - I arrived before the start of the war, on January 2, 2022, and already on April 26 we launched. We could not imagine that there would be such a large number of visitors. We couldn't predict the war.
Up to 30 000$ was spent on the launch, for 7 months recaptured investments. True, the TV set for shogi periodically stops working and you need to spend a couple of hours turning it on.
Address: Yerevan, ave. Mashtots, 28
Lena Chegodaeva, founder and director of the school, says:
“The Free School is a non-commercial project, the goal of which is to give the children who came to Yerevan a quality education, and the teachers the opportunity to continue doing what they love.
I arrived on March 3, and we opened the school on April 7. It took us about 150 000$ for everything about everything - This money has not been recaptured and will not be recaptured, we do not count on it.
It was hard to repair, but the most annoying waste was the purchase of five printers, each of which is buggy and works somehow.
When we started we had 40 children. I did not think that in less than a year this number would grow almost five times. There are currently 186 children studying at the Free School.”
Address: Gyumri, st. Hovhannes Shiraz, 33
Says Lilu, founder of the cafe:
“A huge number of people have lost their homes over the past year, many of them ended up in Gyumri by force of circumstances. People need and it is important to feel at home. And we can let you feel part of this spectrum of emotions here, in our Dom cafe. We have different master classes, lectures, games. And we try very hard to do everything to make people feel calmer.
I arrived in Armenia at the end of October, opened in 2 months. In terms of money - it took 15,000 €, which have not yet been repulsed. In the cafe itself, we did not repair anything - we ordered only furniture. It turned out funny with a used refrigerator - it cost 120, our friend bargained for 70. At first we were very happy, but in the end it became clear that his freezer did not work, so now we are saving up for a new one.
I am still pleasantly surprised that Armenians come to us - there were thoughts that this place would be interesting only for relocators, but in the end I receive daily orders for syrniki from locals who specifically came to the “House” just for syrniki.”
Address: Gyumri, st. Shirakatsi, 199
Roman, co-founder of the bar, says:
“We arrived in May 2022, opened on December 22 (six months after arrival). have invested 13 000$until they got away. This was mainly due to the renovations we were doing in the first room we had to move out of. Helpful advice to all beginners - start by asking all the local grandparents in all nearby yards - if they would mind opening a bar. Otherwise, you run the risk of repairing the premises for 3 million drams and leaving with nothing.
Repair, friends, is a huge expense, but also a lot of fun. Yes, and burn out in business is not at all as scary as, for example, unsuccessfully married. I got married successfully, I burn out in business - and nothing, we live!
Lilit Sahakyan, lawyer and managing partner Move2Armenia_business:
“The lion’s share of relocators — our clients — are opened by legal entities to do business in the IT field, because thanks to the competent policy of the Armenian government, the IT sector is provided with benefits (an entrepreneur pays 0% taxes, and if he has registered employees, then only 10% personal income tax is unprecedented compared to other business areas). Clients in the IT sector make up about 67% of our total number of clients.
It is worth noting that the IT sector, as a rule, requires a large involvement and presence of counterparties from different countries - this is Europe, America, and Russia, so Armenia also attracts with its banking system. The Armenian banking system was not included in any list of offshore zones, it is progressive and systematic, it is part of the global financial system, it adheres to high legal standards and therefore a legal entity / individual can accept payments from any country in the world (Azerbaijan is an exception), plus everything This Russian citizens can open multi-currency bank accounts and cards (Visa, Mastercard) without any problems and with a minimum package of documents.
The second place is the catering sector, and indeed the service sector: cafes, bars, restaurants, beauty salons, beauty spaces, jewelry and cosmetics stores. We attribute this to the following factors:
Firstly, the population of Armenia over the past year has significantly increased, solvency increased, but at some point there was more demand than supply, so the new residents of the country had the opportunity to fill empty niches. The weather in Yerevan and the lifestyle of the city are the best for this. Since the first days of March, the verandas of restaurants and cafes have been crowded, they prefer to spend lunches with friends and dinners with families outside the home much more often, the bar culture has also changed - Yerevan bars have become much more functional and now it’s not just about “drinking”. The guys brought new types of beer, brought their favorite cider to Armenia, which was not so popular here before the influx of emigrants. Now we are witnesses and direct participants in an amazing stage of joint cultural exchange and growth. Local and relocated service businesses now have something to surprise each other with.
Secondly, it is impossible to ignore the unprecedented number of tourists, the flow of which is growing every year. Armenia is becoming a serious hub. A huge number of transfer flights now pass through Yerevan, partly due to this factor, the attractiveness of Armenia for large restaurateurs is also growing - everyone's favorite Novikov already has his own restaurant on the main restaurant artery of Yerevan, Saryan Street, and very soon Moscow's MINA from Aram Mnatsakanov will open next door.
Third place thanks to Move2Armenia Market, in our ranks of principals is small and medium-sized creative business. Everything is simple here - Armenia is very conducive to this. The exclusive work of masters has always been appreciated here, local artists have many fans, however, there were not always enough platforms for such creative projects to make themselves known. We hope the trend will improve.
A slightly less popular niche for immigrants from Russia is the real estate business: rent, purchase, construction. But still there is a certain interest in it. Armenia is experiencing a boom in construction, there are many jobs in this area, as well as a large demand for finished real estate. Investors are ready to invest in the construction of cottage areas, high-rise and club houses, and the consumer shows unprecedented interest in buying them. If earlier, as a rule, local Armenians and the foreign diaspora acquired real estate, but now they are joined by employees of international corporations, who were relocated: more and more people are considering Armenia as a place of permanent residence.
Armenia, represented by its state structures, in every possible way supports those who have moved (this is felt even by the loyalty of the migration policy: according to the law, a citizen of the Russian Federation can stay in the RA for only 180 days a year, but the customs service turns a blind eye to this so as not to create additional problems for those who have moved ).
The relevant ministries are open to dialogue with entrepreneurs: Move2Armenia business has become a kind of bridge between the state and business: through our principals, we collect feedback from entrepreneurs, fix emerging problems, come up with specific solutions and offer them to the state for implementation.
For a year by trustees Move2Armenia business more than 70 IT companies, more than 50 creative business projects, 15 catering establishments in Yerevan and Gyumri, 4 large real estate projects in different cities of Armenia have become.
Move2Armenia business one of the directions Move2Armenia, a project that aims to help adapt those who have already moved to Armenia and provide all the necessary information to those who are just thinking about moving. Move2Armenia tries to be a support platform not only for individuals, but also for entrepreneurs at all stages: from registering a business and searching for commercial real estate, attracting investors and helping in obtaining government benefits. Move2Armenia business provides free consultations to everyone who wants to open their own business in Armenia, deal with taxation and bookkeeping. Move2Armenia regularly organizes and hosts large markets, which involve both local brands and projects of those who have moved.
One of the important missions of a consulting company Move2Armenia business - educational, within the framework of which business days are regularly held. Next business day April 29, but registration for it has long been closed. If you want to be among the first to know about the next business day, leave your mail in order to be contacted and added to the waiting list.