STEPANAKERT—Following three months of intensive training sessions, Verelk Business Bootcamp was launched on June 14 with 13 finalist teams getting hands-on pitching preparation for June 18. The best proposals will receive financial support and continuous mentorship throughout the implementation phase.
Verelk is a Capacity + Capital + Capabilities hybrid entrepreneurship program initiated and organized by the Youth Office of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF) and the Armenian Youth Federation of Artsakh in collaboration with Revolve Consulting and other specialist groups. It is a program for aspiring young entrepreneurs and change-makers in Artsakh with a mission to accelerate the economic reconstruction at a local scale and ensure increased and sustainable living standards for the youth (18 – 35 year-olds) in the aftermath of the Artsakh War. Its purpose is to develop and scale a set of complete skills and technical knowledge for aspiring microentrepreneurs to start their microbusiness in order to leverage the development of an entrepreneurial ecosystem in Artsakh.
The vision of the program lies in the cultivation of a series of microbusiness successes that will act as a testimony for a new definition of national economic success in the most hostile surroundings. The format of the Verelk program was broken down in three different phases: Capacity building, Capital Injection (the bootcamp period) and Capabilities (performance monitoring).
The first phase of the Verelk program took place from March to May with 109 participants. During this period, the program organized 12 training sessions focusing on the fundamentals of entrepreneurism and the following six sectors:
- Mobile Development
- Hospitality and Tourism
- Sustainable Agriculture
- Green Energy
- Food and Beverage
- Innovative Agriculture
After the conclusion of phase I, the top candidates entered the five-day reinforcement business bootcamp which began on June 14, 2021. The primary objective is to cultivate the ideas created in Phase I into entrepreneurial concepts.
Ultimately in phase III, the pitch laureates will enter a 24-month period of monitoring to assist their concept’s developments toward active market penetration. Verelk Program partner, Riviera Capital, will work with the selected candidates in the Capability booster phase (Phase III) throughout a two-year period.
Through this initiative, the ARF Youth Office is actively working to address some of the dire issues the youth of Artsakh face following the 2020 Artsakh War. Among these include the risk of emigration, disparity and the need to reconnect Diaspora Armenians and their expertise with the youth of Artsakh. The 2020 War also revealed limits of traditional philanthropic schemes. Therefore, through the efforts of the Verelk Program and all of its volunteers who have already spent months in Artsakh, the ARF Youth Office hopes to produce long-term and sustainable solutions for the youth of Artsakh.
The Verelk Business Program was established through the donations and support of the ACAA“Artsakh Fund” of the Eastern Region USA. For any investors, entrepreneurs and young professionals interested in contributing to any of these programs, please contact the ARF Youth Office at [email protected]. Additional information will be provided in the coming weeks. Please make sure to follow ARF Youth Office and the Armenian Youth Federation of Artsakh to receive periodic updates.