YEREVAN, Armenia – On June 3rd, the American University of Armenia (AUA) opened its new Entrepreneurship and Product Innovation Center (EPIC) during the course of an all-day conference on Innovation and Entrepreneurship. The EPIC is aimed to bring together the AUA community and collaborative partners from multiple disciplines and foster an ambiance driven to create new innovative technologies, start-ups, and businesses. The anticipated result would benefit the AUA community, the emerging IT market in Armenia, and contribute to Armenia’s place on the map as a global leader in the IT sector.
With only under a year of major construction, the creation and opening of the EPIC was made possible with generous support from the American Schools and Hospitals Abroad (ASHA) program of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). The new facilities were constructed according to the design prepared by Ket Architect Architectural studio, and the actual works were implemented by Mane Interior LLC, a construction company selected through open bidding. Thanks to the effective teamwork of AUA facility department and contractor, weekly meetings of the construction team under the leadership of Project Manager VP for Operations Ashot Ghazaryan, as well as contribution by the procurement committee and leadership of EPIC, including Director Dr. Armen Mkrtchyan, EPIC Manager of Operations Aram Keryan, CSE Dean, Associate Professor, and Director of the Engineering Research Center Aram Hajian, the students, and community at large have received new, state of the arts facilities.
The EPIC facilities are located on the 5th and 6th floors of the AUA Main Building and on the basement level. Additionally, the newly constructed collaborative study area in the Mihran and Elizabeth Agbabian hall and the tiered classroom next to EPIC will provide important venues for study and research, as well as for presentations and discussions on contemporary concepts of innovation and new product development technologies. The new spaces are furnished with all-in-one computers and have comfortable seating to encourage interactive engagement among the future innovators of AUA.
One of EPIC’s unique attributes, in addition to providing foundational resources in order to develop future businesses out of the AUA community, is supporting start-ups with company registration and intellectual property (IP) protection. In addition, presentations, panel discussions, conferences, and workshops led by esteemed local and international guests, entrepreneurs, and scholars from all disciplines, will be organized.
The emergent IT sector in Armenia is growing so rapidly, that the visionaries behind the EPIC realized that they needed to create a center that would not only help serve the demanding need for employees in the tech and other industries, but a center that would also produce the next generation of innovators to later become employers.
One of the main topics of discussion at the EPIC Conference was training young Armenians today to become innovators for the future, and keeping them in the country. “We look forward to witness the birth and growth of incipient businesses which are creating jobs in Armenia, harnessing the latest and greatest technologies, and providing an exponent for Armenia’s talent and creativity”, explained CSE Dean, Associate Professor, and Director of the Engineering Research Center Aram Hajian.
More information on AUA’s newest addition can be found on the EPIC’s official website at: epic.aua.am
AUA has been receiving support from ASHA for many years, with past projects including the renovation and expansion of the university library, remodeling of the cafeteria, creation of integrated technology classrooms, and replacement of university windows and Main Building elevators. Projects that are currently underway include the Student Services/Student Excellence Center and the Innovation & Technology Incubation Center (ITIC).
ASHA provides assistance to schools, libraries, and medical centers outside the United States that serve as study and demonstration centers for American ideas and practices. ASHA’s grants help these institutions train future leaders in a wide variety of disciplines, support local and regional infrastructure to foster development, and cultivate positive relationships and mutual understanding among citizens of the United States and other nations.
Media coverage of the EPIC Opening can be found at: http://newsroom.aua.am/2016/06/07/
Founded in 1991, the American University of Armenia (AUA) is a private, independent university located in Yerevan, Armenia and affiliated with the University of California. AUA provides a global education in Armenia and the region, offering high-quality, graduate and undergraduate studies, encouraging civic engagement, and promoting public service and democratic values.