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More EPIC Startup Teams Receive Cash Grants

YEREVAN, Armenia ‒ Two weeks ago the American University of Armenia (AUA) had reported on three startup teams of the Entrepreneurship and Product Innovation Center (EPIC) receiving €40,000 in grants from the EU4 Business Entrepreneurship program. This trend of success continued as more EPIC teams were awarded grants last week. December has been a very rewarding month for EPIC startups.

Rendchain, which is currently enrolled in the EPIC Fall 2018 Incubator program won 1,000,000 AMD from the Product Bootcamp program, jointly initiated by Microsoft Innovation Center Armenia and Beeline Armenia. In the upcoming three months, the Rendchain startup team will use this award money for developing its first prototype.

Following the initial selection phase, ten finalists from different industries, such as financial services, tourism, and health services, presented their innovative technological solutions and ideas to a jury of experts from the Armenian startup ecosystem. On the demo day, the Armenian startupers had the opportunity to interact with the members of the jury and received valuable advice. The main criteria for choosing the winners included originality and feasibility of the ideas.

Recently, Rendchain had won a larger award in the EU4Business STEP2 grant competition. Arman Sargsyan, AUA student and Founder of Rendchain, remarked, “When you have a good idea and the willingness to invest your time in developing it, it will get noticed and find its way to success. We can proudly say that Rendchain is now well-known in the Armenian startup ecosystem. But this fact alone is reason for us to take even more responsibility in pushing forward our idea.”

Another EPIC startup team She(FF) received 3,000,000 AMD in grant from the Armenian General Benevolent Union (AGBU) Bridge for CSOs project, funded by the EU.

The founders of She(FF), Anahit Andriasyan and Alisa Chalakhyan, are both senior students at AUA and EPIC alumni from the Fall 2017 Incubator cohort. They created an online network connecting women with diverse crafts and creative products with people who value the art and creativity of handmade products. Anyone interested in these products can use She(FF) to search, choose and place an order with a few clicks thus making supplier-customer contact simple and easy.  

Andriasyan recalls, “We were really happy to find out that we received the grant; it was unbelievable for both of us. We shared our emotions with each other in a five-minute phone conversation, then had to go back to studying for the final exams.”

As part of the prize, She(FF) also received two waivers to participate in the “Non-Profit Management” Certificate Program, launched in the framework of the cooperation between Bridge4CSOs project and AUA Extension.

Dr. Michael Kouchakdjian, Director of EPIC, noted, “This has been a December to remember for many of our EPIC teams. With the infusion of these funds, the startups will be able to accelerate the development of their ventures. We are proud of all the teams. They serve to remind us that persistence, hard work (and a good pitch) eventually pay off.”

The Entrepreneurship and Product Innovation Center (EPIC) is a platform for promoting entrepreneurial education, cross-disciplinary collaboration, and startup venture incubation. EPIC provides an ecosystem for the American University of Armenia’s (AUA) emerging entrepreneurs consisting of first-class facilities and collaborative workspace, programs and events, and a network of mentors, advisors and investors. EPIC fosters the understanding and application of entrepreneurship with students and faculty at AUA to craft high-impact multidisciplinary ventures.

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