YEREVAN, Armenia – This week the American University of Armenia (AUA) community is excited to announce the kick-off of the AUA Entrepreneurship and Product Innovation Center’s (EPIC) first startup incubation program. Starting on November 17th, EPIC started accepting applications for the first phase of its residency program, which aims to foster the development of new ventures at AUA.
The AUA EPIC is the first university-based entrepreneurship center in Armenia to fully devote its resources and facilities to the startup incubation process on a university-wide level. Located in the heart of AUA’s campus, the EPIC’s newly launched incubation program is designed to give both AUA students and alumni the means to start their own businesses. With this, the Center aims to develop Armenia’s brightest entrepreneurs by giving them hands-on experience in a fully-equipped space and mentoring environment. The EPIC Startup Incubator also goes one step further by opening the program to teams with at least one current AUA student or teams where at least half of the team are AUA alumni, allowing a larger group of entrepreneurial visionaries to realize their products and services.
Within the framework of the program, EPIC will assign the participating teams desk space and computers located on the 5th and 6th floors of AUA’s Main Building (MB). Additionally, lab space in the basement and conference room will be available for EPIC residents to use for the duration of their residency.
Applications are due on December 12, 2016 and the program will run from January to May 2017. In June, selected teams from the first phase will be admitted to the summer program, allowing them to focus intensely on developing their products and services. Within the first phase of the program, all participants will have the opportunity to realize their proposed concepts, create prototypes, and work with respective mentors to refine them. During the second phase of the incubator program, EPIC will also provide a summer stipend to each member of the admitted team with the possibility of being awarded a seed grant to develop their startup further. With the goal of fostering creativity, the second phase is specifically designed to allow entrepreneurial visionaries to continue developing products and services without financial burdens.
EPIC serves as a platform for promoting entrepreneurial education, cross-disciplinary collaboration, and startup incubation at AUA, committed to developing knowledgeable and efficient entrepreneurs with the savvy to address global and local needs. By combining classroom lectures, prototyping capabilities, and experience of a diverse network of business and technical advisors, EPIC allows students to effectively utilize their knowledge and develop new ventures.
In addition to providing foundational resources to develop future businesses out of the AUA community, one of EPIC’s unique attributes is startup support with company registration and intellectual property (IP) protection. To this end, the Center also regularly organizes presentations, panel discussions, conferences, and workshops led by esteemed local and international guests, entrepreneurs, and scholars from all disciplines.
EPIC was inspired by and founded upon the rapid emergence and growth of the IT sector in Armenia. Thus, the Center’s founding visionaries initiated the creation of a platform that would not only help serve the demanding need for employees in the tech and other industries but also would produce the next generation of innovators to later become employers.
The center remains committed to training young Armenian professionals to become the innovators of the future while incentivizing them to create in Armenia. The EPIC team looks forward to receiving applications for the Startup Incubator program and working to turn the ideas of today into the realities of tomorrow!