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EPIC’s First Industry Tour to Explore Beirut’s Tech and Innovation Ecosystem

Spring break at the American University of Armenia (AUA) will be marked this year by 14 entrepreneurs of the Entrepreneurship and Product Innovation Center (EPIC) visiting Beirut, Lebanon, in the first EPIC technology industry trek. Sponsored by Tamar Capital, the trek will include visits to manufacturing operations run by successful Armenian entrepreneurs, startups and investors in Beirut’s Digital District (BDD) and the American University of Beirut.

The industry trek is designed to provide EPIC’s startup entrepreneurs with a first-hand perspective on the organizational structure, operations, work culture in companies outside of Armenia, as well as networking and sharing experience with international entrepreneurs and investors and, most importantly, connecting with Diasporan Armenians. EPIC also plans to have an industry trek to Silicon Valley this summer.

Annman Kantsyan, Founder of Edwise, says, “This trek will give me a chance to see businesses outside Armenia and discern similarities and differences with those in Armenia. I am also really excited to visit Beirut Digital District and meet entrepreneurs in artificial intelligence.” Edwise is using artificial intelligence to give filmmakers more time for creative editing by automating the most routine tasks, such as continuity editing, color correction, proper ordering, cropping shots, and sound synchronization.

BDD is the center of startup ecosystem in Lebanon. Throughout the day, the EPIC residents will meet with venture capitalists, incubators, as well as like-minded entrepreneurs who have been building and developing their startups within the difficult Lebanese ecosystem. While both Lebanon and Armenia may be different in their economic and political infrastructures, they share several commonalities, including an educated workforce and a large percent of young talent living abroad. As such, entrepreneurs from both Lebanon and Armenia will have the opportunity to discuss their challenges and opportunities, to share experiences, and to pitch their startup ventures to one another.

Margarita Muradyan from COWnet shares her anticipation: “I expect to shape our idea and our company’s steps by exploring how the startups in Beirut have tackled them. I also wish to see the infrastructure supporting startups and young people like us. And last but not least, I hope to have a wonderful time with my fellow startupers from EPIC.”

This trip has been carefully designed to enrich and to foster growth for Armenia’s young entrepreneurs. More broadly, the partnership with Tamar Capital aims to nurture the ecosystem and to continue to put Armenia on the technology map to attain international recognition.  

The team members of Evi are looking forward to this trek as they hope to meet entrepreneurs from the food waste management industry in Beirut. “I’ve recently read an article on how Lebanese entrepreneurs are taking on food waste management; this is new to their country, too. I wonder if they are going through the same hardships that we are,” mentions Elmira Poghosyan from Evi whose startup is trying to help food businesses to sell their surplus food at the end of each day thus earning revenue from waste and gaining new customers.

EPIC will be sharing photos and stories from the trek in real time. You can join this trip online by accessing EPIC Facebook page.

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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