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Ashot Mirakyan | Owner | Logistics and Cargo Transportation Company, Armenia
In less than a decade, Mira Trans has grown from a young man's ambition into a solid cargo transportation company with a sterling reputation. "My first job fresh out of university was with a logistics company," reminisces Ashot Mirakyan, who is now in his early thirties. "That's where I developed a passion for the field."
In 2011 Ashot decided to go it alone: "I may have been a bit naÃ¯ve at the time, but I felt that all you needed was a laptop, a phone, and determination."
Barely a year later, he found himself at a crossroads. He could just continue providing services as a middleman to customers who didn't have an in-house logistics department; or he could actually go into cargo transportation himself, too. Ashot chose option two. He had some savings, but it wasn't enough. So, business plan in hand, he approached EFSE partner ACBA Bank for his first loan. ACBA Bank is one of Armenia's leading providers of financial services to micro and small enterprises, and Mirakyan hoped he would be in good hands.
He was right. "ACBA Bank understood the complexities of growing a business and has been able to offer me financing tailored to my needs along every step of the way," recalls Mirakyan. "Logistics is a challenging field. That makes it exciting of course, but you need to consider things like changes in fuel costs, consumer price index, manufacturing sector development, all of those external considerations in addition to simply buying equipment. Various loan products have helped me over the years to navigate these factors successfully." Today, ten years and several further loans later, Mira Trans has grown from two employees to 30, serving exporters and importers, some of which are large blue-chip companies, from the main office in Yerevan.
The road has not always been smooth: political instability, changing government regulations, and inflation are just a few of the challenges Mirakyan has faced over the years. But learning from these obstacles to grow even stronger seems to be in Ashot Mirakyan's DNA.
"Working with the right people and partners is key, of course, but having the right financial partner by your side simply makes you more resilient," he says. "In this branch, markets are dynamic: supply chains have become longer and more complex, and yet customers expect even faster and smoother delivery. Investing in new and innovative technology, such as automation software, has enabled us to adapt and keep exceeding our customers' expectations."
Mirakyan continues: "This experience has certainly helped us deal with the COVID-19 situation. Business has not been easy for many of our customers, and that of course has had complex ramifications across the whole value chain. But we are exercising our ability to be innovative and look for new solutions. Flexible financing from ACBA Bank has really supported us here. New loan payment mechanisms and products have enabled us to keep cash flows stable while we invest in new training and equipment.
"I think these efforts will even strengthen our position later,â€ he remarks. â€œWhen the global situation improves and shipping gets back to the levels we had before, we will come out even stronger and more agile than before."