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CBE Guest Lecture on Starting a Successful IT Company

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YEREVAN, Armenia — Adapting to a rapidly changing world impacted by COVID-19, the American University of Armenia (AUA) continues to keep its students engaged with online courses on current topics. 

On February 8, 2021, the AUA Manoogian Simone College of Business and Economics (CBE) hosted the CEO and Co-founder of Hexact technological company, Stepan Aslanyan, as an online guest lecturer. Aslanyan was invited to discuss his experience on starting a successful and promising company — a popular topic among young business people today. 

Adjunct lecturer Armen Avak Avakian introduced Aslanyan as a sharp-minded entrepreneur with a great skillset in strategic planning. He added that as an entrepreneur, “Stepan Aslanyan is extremely time responsive.” Smart Systems, a leading IT company founded by Aslanyan, created most of the websites for various Armenian organizations during the 2000s. He later co-founded Menu Group UK, an online food delivery platform in London. Currently, Aslanyan is the CEO and Co-founder of Hexact, an IT company, which has grown rapidly in just two years with customers from 135 countries. 

Aslanyan’s lecture on “Starting business without a product idea: ‘Problem first’ strategy” commenced by stressing the importance of the startup idea. “In the IT sector, we tend to focus on the product/service we want to offer rather than the problem we want to solve. Only after you find a way to solve a legitimate problem can you find people willing to pay for it.” 

Aslanyan mentioned that the idea for starting Hexact was conceived from grasping a simple truth — people want to make money online and they need help with that. Further on, the guest lecturer shared his experience with future entrepreneurs addressing the problems and solutions, “In most cases, the best result comes from those users who pay for the services they need, rather than free-for-life users.” Using lifetime deals (LTDs) as a tool for growth hacking and ultimately bootstrapping revenue was a key point the lecturer brought to bear. 

In conclusion, Aslanyan noted that creative leaders are needed in Armenia now more than ever and the startup scene is a great place to find them. The CBE students greatly enjoyed the lecture, feeding their curiosity with numerous questions. 

Founded in 1991, the American University of Armenia (AUA) is a private, independent university located in Yerevan, Armenia, affiliated with the University of California, and accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission in the United States. AUA provides local and international students with Western-style education through top-quality undergraduate, graduate, and certificate programs, promotes research and innovation, encourages civic engagement and community service, and fosters democratic values.

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