Celebrating VIA Fund’s New Portfolio Companies Making a Positive Impact
We are thrilled to announce the addition of four inspiring and impactful social enterprises to VIA Fund’s portfolio! These companies are dedicated to creating positive change in Armenia and have unique missions that aim to empower communities in need, promote inclusivity, and advance sustainable practices. Below, we will introduce each company, highlighting its impact missions, target beneficiaries, and future plans. Get ready to be inspired by their stories of resilience, innovation, and social transformation.
Homeland Initiative Development Foundation (HDIF)
HDIF is a social enterprise established in 2013 with the goal of creating opportunities for women and persons with disabilities in Armenia. Their fair trade shop and product manufacturing arm, HDIF Trading LLC, give those who have been traditionally excluded from the global marketplace a chance to make an income. HDIF supports local artisans by utilizing their traditional handcrafting skills and providing them with training and education in business. What sets HDIF apart is the unique story woven into each one-of-a-kind creation. Their Fair Trade certified products, known and recognized around the world, reflect Armenia’s ancient heritage and its artisans’ meticulous attention to detail. With over 235 producers, mostly women, across the country, HDIF aims to scale up its impact by expanding production, establishing new producer groups, and increasing export sales. They help to produce jobs for vulnerable women, refugees, and persons with disabilities, providing them with sustainable income opportunities.
ZarMan Toys is a design laboratory that specializes in environmentally friendly didactic games, toys, and talking notebooks. Their focus is on developing toys that not only entertain but also enhance children’s development. Each toy is meticulously crafted by hand using materials and paints that are safe for children and the environment. The involvement of specialists ensures that ZarMan games are designed to nurture specific skills, such as emotional intelligence and motor skills. What sets ZarMan apart is their commitment to giving back. Proceeds from the sale of their brand help provide free professional services to socially disadvantaged children facing difficult life situations. ZarMan targets children aged 3 and above, aiming to reach kindergartens, schools, development centers, and pedagogical and psychological evaluation centers. By expanding their production, improving toy quality, and capturing new markets, ZarMan aims to make a lasting impact on children’s lives.
TMM Soft is a social enterprise established in 2020 with a mission to create employment opportunities for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) through the production of tissues. By providing meaningful jobs, TMM Soft aims to support the integration of individuals with ASD into society and increase their independence. Their approach includes a training and development program, where teenagers with ASD acquire essential skills before joining the production process. The primary beneficiaries of TMM Soft are 11-22-year-olds with ASD, who undergo an integration stage at the “Teach Me More” Training and Development Center. Additionally, the parents of these teenagers benefit from the opportunity to find supplemental work. TMM Soft plans to expand its production capacity, increase its professional team, and explore new markets both domestically and internationally. TMM Soft aims to make a lasting impact on the lives they touch.
Aregak Bakery is the first inclusive bakery cafe in Armenia, pioneering the concept of providing employment opportunities for young people with disabilities and mothers of disabled children. This artisan bakery-cafe not only serves delectable French and Italian bakery products but also challenges stereotypes surrounding disability. By showcasing the abilities of individuals with disabilities in action, Aregak Bakery aims to change people’s perspectives and foster a more inclusive society. Located in Gyumri, Aregak Bakery caters primarily to customers with upper-middle and high socioeconomic status. The Aregak team has ambitious plans to further expand its impact and reach. One of its current goals is to create a larger, enclosed outdoor seating area for its current cafe and find ways to improve its operational efficiency.
Meanwhile, its long-term goal is to enhance its catering services, enabling them to serve a wider customer base and participate in various events. Aregak aims to expand its training programs, equipping more young adults with disabilities and other vulnerable youth with valuable skills that can improve their employability. Like ZarMan, Aregak also primarily reinvests its profits into its foundation’s therapy center.
VIA Fund’s four new portfolio companies are shining examples of businesses that go beyond profit-making and prioritize social impact. These companies empower vulnerable women, artisans, individuals with disabilities, and children through sustainable income opportunities, educational toys, employment programs, and inclusive employment practices. Their missions and efforts not only contribute to the economic development of Armenia but also create a more inclusive and sustainable society.
VIA Fund is proud to support these companies in their journey to make a difference and is excited about the positive transformations they will bring to Armenia’s social and business landscape. Together, we can create a brighter future for all.