AUA EPIC Startup Teams Shine at Sevan Startup Summit
SEVAN, Armenia – The Sevan Startup Summit 2019 (SSS) that took place on the shores of Lake Sevan, July 28-August 3, brought together over 1,000 entrepreneurs and business experts for seven days to take part in various workshops and presentations delivered by successful entrepreneurs, mentors, investors, and business people from various sectors. SSS is a unique event for startups to stress-test their team’s capacity and build meaningful relationships with potential investors and advisors while competing for prizes, awards, and investment.
This year’s summit had received over 1,000 applications of which only 120 teams were selected to participate. Students, faculty, and alumni from the Manoogian Simone College of Business and Economics (CBE), the Akian College of Science and Engineering (CSE), and the Entrepreneurship and Product Innovation Center (EPIC) of the American University of Armenia (AUA) attended SSS 2019 as mentors, facilitators, volunteers, startup teams, and jurors in the final pitch day competitions. Among the startups, there were ten AUA EPIC teams, including Breedge, Creatr, COWnet, UniQ, Smart Green, Eventor, and others.
AUA and EPIC teams stood out among others and made a strong showing in the week-long event. Under the Starter program, designed for aspiring entrepreneurs and idea-stage startups, four of the sixteen semi finalist teams were from AUA and EPIC: Creatr, UniQ, Eventor, and CowNet. EPIC’s CowNet and Eventor also were among the six teams selected to go to the finals under the same category. Moreover, Areg Vardanyan, AUA adjunct lecturer and co-founder of ForgeFiction, placed second in the Booster program, designed as an intensive micro acceleration program for already operating startups..
AUA teams not only took several awards in various categories, but also received financial prizes that will enable them to further grow their ventures.
About Some of the Winners of SSS 2019
Eventor, an online event organizer tool, won first place in the Tourism and Travel category. It provides all-inclusive creative birthday packages that help organize an entire party with a single click.
“Sevan Startup Summit was a great opportunity to expand our professional network, get instant feedback from successful entrepreneurs and get fresh ideas on how to progress our business,” explained Elina Hovakimyan, co-founder and CEO of Eventor.
UniQ ranked first in the Gaming and Entertainment category. UniQ is a platform connecting social media influencers and small businesses with writers who offer unique captions for their posts as well as optimized hashtags that boost engagement.
Creatr, which is an online collaboration space for filmmakers and marketplace for film studios, won first place in the EduTech category.
“The best thing about SSS is probably the networking opportunity. During these seven days we met so many people from different industries and got an overview of our startup from their perspective which is priceless,” shared Nane Vardanyan, co-founder and CEO of Creatr.
CowNet placed second in the Starter program and first in the CleanTech and GreenTech category. The device developed by CowNet will be the first monitoring tool for this region’s livestock industry, and will track cows’ body temperature, heart rate, oxygen level in blood, calories, and other variables, thus exposing and communicating health problems as soon as the symptoms appear.
Over the course of the summit, the Director of Entrepreneurship and Product Innovation Center (EPIC), Dr. Michael Kouchakdjian, held a campfire talk where, along with a few EPIC startupers, he discussed the lessons learned from the trek to Silicon Valley in the previous month. Dr. Kouchakdjian also mentored over a dozen Booster startup teams during the week and served as a jury member for the final round of startup pitches.
EPIC Operations Manager Arman Arakelyan ran a workshop on design thinking for over 80 new entrepreneurs during which the participants explored various approaches to tackling problems and created their visions of desired outcomes that would benefit end users.
During the workshop, Arakelyan also presented EPIC’s new “Create Up” pre-incubation program, which is a three-week intensive program at AUA EPIC that focuses on design-led innovation. The program was developed to help new entrepreneurs shape their business ideas and strengthen their teams while using visual ideation techniques in a structured environment.
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.