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Michael Kouchakdjian in DigiWeek21
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EPIC Participates in DigiWeek21 Venture Summit

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YEREVAN, Armenia — On November 3, 2021, the Entrepreneurship and Product Innovation Center (EPIC) of the American University of Armenia (AUA) was invited to participate in the DigiWeek21 Venture Summit, an event focusing on the intersection of Armenia’s emerging technology industry with venture development, investment, and the road forward to growth. At the summit, EPIC made presentations on its vision for the future and planned activities on that envisioned path.

The three-day DigiWeek2021 summit was organized by the Ministry of High-Tech Industry of the Republic of Armenia (RA), in partnership with the Union of Advanced Technology Enterprises (UATE) and featured a series of events, panel discussions, and presentations on November 1-3, 2021. DigiWeek21 had structured the summit under three themes: science and sustainability, artificial intelligence, and new ventures, aiming to create a dialogue among local and international tech and venture communities on the opportunities and challenges of the high tech industry. 

Industry experts, entrepreneurs, and investors from Armenia and abroad shared their potential actions that would contribute to the future growth and development of the industry. In the segment dedicated to venture discussions, topics covered included technology adoption, fundraising, and building science-oriented startups in Armenia.

On the third day of the Venture Summit, AUA-EPIC Director Dr. Michael Kouchakdjian and Assistant Director Nejdeh Hovanessian presented EPIC’s engagement in and vision for Armenia’s startup ecosystem. Portraying EPIC as one of the few university-based startup incubators in Armenia, Dr. Kouchakdjian emphasized EPIC’s role as an early stage, idea phase engine for new entrepreneurs, especially highlighting the benefits EPIC derives from engaging the full capabilities of AUA’s programs and faculty. In his words, “EPIC sits at the top of the funnel for generating new ventures and startup entrepreneurs in the local ecosystem. EPIC’s goal is to generate both quantity and quality of startup talent, which will eventually work their way through the funnel to other downstream partners within the ecosystem, such as our accelerators, investors, and training partners.” 

In his presentation, Dr. Kouchakdjian emphasized key performance indicators that denote EPIC’s strengths and assets, including the number of AUA students, alumni, as well as non-AUA participants (41%) in its incubation program, while emphasizing that over half of EPIC resident entrepreneurs are females. 

Following Kouchakdjian’s presentation, Hovanessian discussed the highly successful Entrepreneurship World Cup (EWC) Armenia 2021, which was organized under the leadership of EPIC. Hovanessian expounded upon the role of EWC in the Armenian entrepreneurship ecosystem, asserting that “EWC has been successful in providing Armenia’s startups with global visibility” and recounting the distinctive journey of each of Armenia’s two winning teams, Denovo Sciences and Zoomerang, as EWC’s global 100 Finalists. Hovanessian reminded the gathered audience that the announcement for the EWC Global 25 Final teams would be forthcoming in the weekend ahead.

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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