Just 7 years ago, Davit Mnatsakanyan, 34, was discussing with his friend alternative ways of making money. Little did he know that his idea and dreams would become a reality and a successful business in a few short years.
Mountea for everyone
Narine Serobyan, Davit’s mother, was very pleased with the idea of exporting Armenian mountain tea. She supported the founding of his company, while Davit and his friend dealt with the main task: collecting tea from the high mountain regions of Armenia and processing it using traditional methods.
The Mountea company was founded in 2016 with plans to produce teas only for export. They started with four flavours. After a year, they decided to also enter the local market and increased their assortment to 9 flavours: thyme, wild mint, thyme and wild mint, tutsan-chamomile-thyme, mint, rosehip, Indian black, granular black, and Earl Grey.
Today, Mountea produces and supplies an impressive number of supermarkets in Yerevan and the regions. The herbs are harvested by employees from Armenia’s Vayots Dzor Province while the black teas are imported from India.
“We have gone through a lot, turning a family business into a major production and Mountea is now a quite recognizable brand with impressive sales, both in Armenia and abroad,” says Davit Mnatsakanyan, the company’s business development manager. “Our company was affected very much by COVID, but thanks to our expansion strategy, we were able to attract new segments in Armenia and Russia, even during the pandemic. The release of higher priced pure black tea with high-end packaging helped to increase our turnover by at least 40%.”
Dealing with bigger issues
The larger the company became, the bigger the issues at stake, and Mnatsakanyan decided to look for sunder supported by the EU4Business initiative and implemented by the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).
The programme has consultancy projects. Since 2021, it has been supporting Mountea to put together an online sales platform and an e-commerce web-site for B2C customers, and helped to develop a marketing strategy for B2B customers with the main focus on sales channels and better mechanisms.
The company also worked with another EU4Business project – “Ready to Trade” – implemented by the International Trade Centre (ITC). With its facilitation, Mountea participated in the Anuga, a leading annual global trade fair for the food and beverage industry, in Cologne, Germany.
“It helped me to do extensive networking: I made a great number of business contacts with whom we are now actively negotiating for export and distribution. We even have some success with small exports to Europe and Canada.” Mnatsakanyan says proudly. “If it were not for the contacts acquired during Anuga food fair, our active efforts with the German market would not be a reality now.”
Mountea also managed to enlarge its staff and increase profits. “After receiving EU4Business support, we hired a market development specialist and a driver-courier,” notes Mnatsakanyan. “This led to rapid growth of sales points and of sales in general.”