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EPIC Entrepreneurs Prepare for 10-day Tour of Silicon Valley

In one week, student entrepreneurs from the Entrepreneurship and Product Innovation Center (EPIC) of the American University of Armenia (AUA) will depart Yerevan for Silicon Valley – the global center for high technology, innovation, investment, and social media. In partnership with San Jose State University (SJSU), a dozen students will visit cutting-edge technology companies, interact with entrepreneurs, and participate in workshops and seminars with world leaders in innovation, business, and the tech ecosystem. The program is funded by EPIC benefactor Sara Chitjian.

Students will learn about innovative concepts in both technology and business entrepreneurship, as well as meet and network with Diasporan business leaders, entrepreneurs, and university students. Earlier in the spring, a different group of EPIC student entrepreneurs toured companies in Beirut and visited startups and entrepreneurs in the Beirut Digital District.

Besides the student entrepreneurs from EPIC, all of whom have launched their own startups, the trek will include top performing students from AUA’s Akian College of Science and Engineering (CSE) and the Manoogian Simone College of Business and Economics (CBE).  During this tour, students will visit large, high-profile companies, such as Google, Amazon, Facebook, and Pinterest, as well as fast-emerging companies like Doordash, and Parkstash. They will also have the opportunity to visit Silicon Valley’s leading startup incubators, accelerators and investors, including Berkeley SkyDeck, Draper, and Index Ventures.

“It will be an intense 10 days of new information and experience for our students,” said Professor Michael Kouchakdjian, Director of EPIC. “In addition to talks and workshops on leading-edge topics, such as the sharing economy, disruptive innovation, self-driving vehicles, big data, machine learning, and the internet of things, we have organized meetings with the Innovation group at Paypal, the Disruptive technologies team at Google, and a tour of the robot-operated Amazon Fulfillment Center.”

This trip has been carefully designed in partnership with SJSU to enrich and to foster knowledge and growth of Armenia’s young entrepreneurs. This is the first trip to Silicon Valley for most of the students in the group and will be a memorable learning experience while providing them with opportunities to network and advance in their entrepreneurial endeavors. Aside from building business contacts, the students will have time to explore San Francisco and Santa Cruz over the weekend.

“Being a business student, I always dreamed about visiting Silicon Valley – the center of high technology and innovation,” said Naira Paronikyan, an AUA student. “On this trip, I expect to meet influential people who will inspire me to continue to grow. I look forward to hearing about their experiences and career paths, which I hope to apply in my own startup.”

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 of the American University of Armenia (AUA) for promoting entrepreneurial education, cross-disciplinary collaboration, and startup venture incubation. EPIC provides an ecosystem for 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 in students and faculty at AUA to craft high-impact multidisciplinary ventures.

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