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How an Armenian scientist created an international company using a toy

Asbarez – In 1999, Dr. George Ambartsoumian founded GA International, a company that provides exceptional identification solutions for industries including biopharma, biotechnology, medical, biobanking, healthcare, construction, fashion retail, and more.

A scientist, Dr. Ambartsoumian graduated from Kazan State Academy of Veterinary Medicine in Russia, where he earned his Ph.D. He later earned a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from Armenia’s Yerevan Veterinary Institute, and performed post-doctoral research at Montreal’s Concordia University, Notre-Dame Hospital, and the Shriner’s Hospital. While working in a lab at Shriner’s, Dr. Ambartsoumian realized that the labels used to mark the tubes in the lab were constantly falling off – even becoming wet – especially when stored in sub-zero temperatures.

Years later, Ambartsoumian decided to become an entrepreneur. At the time, an acquaintance of his was selling a small label-making toy called STIKA. Seeing this toy reminded Ambartsoumian of the barely adhesive labels at the Shriner’s lab. After learning all he could about plastic film, adhesives, and paper materials, Ambartsoumian went on to create a label that stuck to tubes even in sub-zero temperatures. He presented his idea to an organization in Laval, Quebec, and began promoting his labels to a number of labs.

In 2004, GA International comprised of George, his wife Armine, and one helper – all of whom worked out of a small office space. After years of dedication and hard work, the company steadily grew. Today, GA International has become the leading manufacturer and supplier of cryogenic and solvent-resistant labels worldwide. With more than65 employees, the company sells over 6,000 individual products.

Dr. Ambartsoumian started the company using only a small toy to make labels in his basement. He would eventually build his company into one of the world’s leading identification solutions companies, selling specialized labels and other products internationally to large companies and healthcare institutions. Ambartsoumian grew his company from a one-person enterprise to one of the worldwide leaders in laboratory identification solutions.

In 2019, exactly 20 years later, GA International won the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year 2019 Award in the Quebec region and two MercadOr 2019 Awards in the “Innovative Exporter of Goods” and “Foreign Expansion” categories.

GA International is celebrating 20 years as a leading manufacturer of specialty labels, supplying laboratory identification solutions to biomedical research labs, hospitals, and other healthcare institutions. Since its inception, GA International has become a worldwide leader in cryogenic and chemical-resistant labels, with a strong dedication to R&D and customer service.

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