Ruben Harutyunyan
In order to be successful in the modern world one should not only have an IQ, but also an EQ

Angels Network, AYB Foundation, UWC Dilijan, Aurora Prize, Repat Armenia Foundation - the core values of sustainable excellence in all aspects of development are what unite all of these organizations. They create the perfect ecosystem for those intellectual giants who are or are going to be the game changers.

Entrepreneur, influencer, businessman and a Global Armenian Ruben Harutyunyan has been one of the pioneers who has believed in, invested in and impacted Armenia’s future through these initiatives. Born and raised in Yerevan, Ruben graduated from the State Engineering University of Armenia. In 1993 he moved to Moscow, Russia where he founded and became general director of the Henderson-Russia Group of Companies, which is currently the largest menswear retailer in Russia that manufactures its products worldwide.

Repat Armenia talked to Ruben Harutyunyan about success, education and mentorship during one of his visits to Armenia.  
Ruben Harutyunyan
-Ruben, in the interview with Entrepreneur titled: “Want to be a millionaire? Forget about the millions!”, you talk about the importance of setting the mission of a business. The quote says: “If one doesn’t know to which port one is sailing, no wind is favorable”. The world of business is full of ups and downs, constant changes, and realizing your mission and priorities can be quite hard. Any tips for the beginners?

-First of all, an entrepreneur is a leader who should have the strategic vision and mindset to create a completely unique offer for the market. He/she has to answer to the question of how to make the right things and then how to make things right.

You think that the time is your most valuable asset, but in reality, it’s not. You need to prioritize your energy on making right things with excellent execution. 

Prioritize the problem you want to solve. Actually, the right solution to an actual problem can be your key to success - look on a problem as on opportunity to solve it and improve your company and yourself. 

Prioritize honesty and trustworthiness, as these two things can help you to overcome many different obstacles and gain your value. Being honest in front of our customers, business partners and employees and trustworthy for investors and banks have helped Henderson throughout its path to overcome financial difficulties more than once.

Prioritize the necessity of a great and strong team. The people who surround you should have a common vision with different approaches in order to build the product that can meet everybody’s needs.

Some of those who have been at the roots of Henderson with me still continue their everyday work to make the product better after 24 years of operation.

On the other hand, the ecosystem at our company attracts professional managers from leading companies around the world in France, Poland, Spain. This helps us to get the best market practice and be more effective in successfully competing with the leading international retailers.

At the end of the day, everything is interconnected. Missing one of these components can break the chain while the combination can make quite a priceless necklace.

-You are the member of the AYB Foundation Board of Trustees, the distinguished supporter of UWC Dilijan. Why is it important to invest in education in Armenia?
-Armenians have immensely contributed to the progress of world civilization. Armenian scientists, artists, artisans, intellectuals - they all have put the responsibility on this small country’s shoulders to be a global actor by generating education, innovation and values. These educational projects differ from each other, but what unites them is the intention not only to give world class knowledge, but also develop personal skills like responsibility, effective communication, and project education. In order to be successful in the modern world one should not only have an IQ, but also EQ. 

Another important aspect of these schools is the presence of scholarship support for those students who don’t have the ability to pay for their education. More than 50% of the students are getting their education due to scholarship support from donors. In my opinion, it’s one of the best examples of cultivating responsibility in the student.

The creation and development of AYB school is a perfect proof that Armenians can unite for the things that are most important for the future of the country. More than a hundred people support AYB foundation because they know that an educated and responsible new generation will advance Armenia and integrate it on the world’s leading stages.

Thanks to UWC Dilijan college, the brightest minds of the world come together in Armenia every year to get the educational experience that will lead them to success. They get the opportunity to rely on themselves and their abilities as most of the students study through scholarships. The goal is to empower everyone who dreams big, works hard and strives for knowledge right here in Armenia. This is a long-term investment for both the country and the world where our ambassadors will create change.

Besides, investing in education is the real working solution for preventing poverty. We have to encourage the mindset of a self-confident citizen who believes that the acts and choices of today impact tomorrow and the future.
Ruben Harutyunyan
-The Aurora Prize for Awakening Humanity is another initiative that has written a whole new chapter in the world’s history. It’s also changed our national perception from one of victimization to being the ones who lend a helping hand to those in need. What’s really amazing about the concept is that everyone is free to nominate their hero. Ruben, who are your heroes?
Honestly, business scale and the constant challenges that we have recently faced in Russia require my full engagement at the operational level. It’s very hard for me to give a direct answer to this question within the context of all the requirements considered in nominating a hero for the Aurora Prize. Heroes are those people who build a better world by becoming role models for others. On the other hand, we usually have our heroes and want to be like them in childhood or during our teenage years. We all can agree that we should leave the world a better place than it was before.

Undoubtedly, Charles Aznavour and what he did for Armenia after the 1988 earthquake is the best example of heroism. For a short period of time he was able to take on a leadership role to support his homeland, and he engaged the full potential of not only the Armenian Diaspora but also individuals from all around the world. 

-On October 19th of 2017, the Foundation for Armenian Science and Technology (FAST) announced the creation of an Angels Network. The initiative unites 15 Armenian entrepreneurs to provide financial and consulting assistance to Armenian startups. As a member of Angels Network, what expectations do you have?
First of all, I want to congratulate all of us for creating one more platform to support the development of Armenia: FAST Foundation. It’s very important that the supporters and the board members of the fund are willing to offer their resources to all those initiatives that are on the same page with regards to science and technology development in Armenia. The initiator of FAST Angels is a very successful IT entrepreneur from the US and a friend of mine Igor Khalatyan. It was great to have all that encouragement from the creators of FAST foundation and the community of famous entrepreneurs, professional venture investors and leading managers of global companies in Russia, Europe and USA. 

The main goal of the FAST Angels club is to change the success model of Armenian entrepreneurs by giving them the needed resources and opportunities to realize their business ideas and projects in Armenia. There is no need to leave the country to create a successful business oriented to the global market. 

One of the privileges of our club is the “Smart Money” concept. The club will not only offer financing, but also it will take part in management by sharing their experience and knowledge with young entrepreneurs.
Ruben Harutyunyan
-Last, but not least, you support repatriation through Repat Armenia Foundation. You moved from Armenia but never lost the connection with it. Do you have any practical tips for those who want to be engaged with Armenia?
It’s all about love. If you love your country, you don’t want to loose the contact with it. You think about it and you always try to be useful. Antoine de Saint-Exupery has a great quote for this case “If you want to build a ship, don't drum up people to collect wood and don't assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea”.

On the other hand, Armenia is far from ideal, like many young post soviet republics, but we all can see the ongoing progress in education, IT, solar energy, etc. Yes, the giant part of this progress comes from the private sector, but let’s admit that without mutual cooperation with the state, nothing would be a reality today. 

I can imagine that a number of Repat Armenia’s followers have already made their decision to be part of the change happening in Armenia today. Hopefully, the rest are considering taking a serious step in this direction as well. 

My practical tips for engagement are pretty simple. Just come to Armenia, start your project and inspire people around you. Support the ideas of your friends and like-minded people and take part in them! Just try, you’ll love it! 

Posted byRima Yeghiazarian
Share this Article on

Read More