"AraratBank wasn’t my first stop in search of a loan. I tried other banks first. But they would not give me a loan without collateral."
Anna Kyaramyan entrepreneur/maquette and model maker
Step into Anna Kyaramyan's small workspace located beneath her house in Yerevan, and you'll discover a place where painstaking craftsmanship is clearly evident. Positioned right in front of the few steps leading down from the street, you'll come across her latest project: a maquette of a water basin to be constructed by a Chinese company in the Armenian countryside (Anna was requested to visualize what it would look like when it is finished).
The maquette is incredibly lifelike, from the verdant green pastures, to the seemingly-running water that is actually hard as glue upon inspection, to the little irrigation canals and the water pipes. "And this is the area that catches the overflow, if necessary," says Anna, pointing at a little strip that looks like a cement tub.
Anna is one of the nearly 750 micro entrepreneurs who qualified for a loan under AraratBank's NASIRA guarantee, not requiring collateral. Two years ago, she applied for the loan after losing her job as a maquette maker when the company she worked for decided to cease operations due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"AraratBank wasn’t my first stop in search of a loan, actually," she shares. "I tried other banks first. But they would not give me a loan without collateral."
Starting her own company wasn't necessarily a dream come true, she admits. "But I love making maquettes and models: it's my life. Landscapes and bridges are my favorites. It never gets boring. So, this way, I could continue doing what I love."
Her passion is what caught the attention of the loan officer at AraratBank, along with Anna's solid credit history, once her application landed on her desk. The loan officer, who is present at the interview and greeted Anna with a hug upon entering, adds, "You can immediately tell she creates something of value."
With the loan from AraratBank, Anna was able to purchase two laser cutting machines, providing her with the necessary equipment to meticulously shape the PVC foam sheets to build up her models. The smaller laser machine, roughly the size of four office printers stacked together, is located at the back of her workspace, while the larger one is situated at a different location, too big to fit in her under-house workspace. "Without the lasers, I wouldn't be able to work as efficiently or produce the same level of quality as I do now," Anna explains. "And I wouldn't have the opportunity to take part in business projects like the water basin." The maquette is nearly complete, she explains, and only the white wooden box that holds the model still needs to be decorated to match the landscape.
Having had her models featured in Armenian newspapers, a national television show, and even at the Railway Museum of Armenia, Anna receives new assignments through word of mouth. This is sufficient for sustaining her thriving business, and providing not only for herself, but also for her parents who live upstairs with her. And even though entrepreneurship has never been her dream, she now does have plans for expansion. Anna requires a bit of encouragement to share her aspirations, naturally gravitating towards a subdued modesty. While gently brushing the little green pastures in her water basin maquette, she reveals, "I would like to find a larger workspace, go abroad for a few specific trainings in model making, and eventually build a team to work with me."