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AUA Students Prepare for 10-day EPIC/HIVE Tour of Silicon Valley

3 min read

YEREVAN, Armenia — On June 12, a group of AUA students will depart Yerevan for a ten-day tour of Silicon Valley. The program is organized by the American University of Armenia’s (AUA) Entrepreneurship and Product Innovation Center (EPIC) in partnership with HIVE Ventures and San Jose State University. The organizers have arranged for the group to 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 the H. Hovnanian Family Foundation.

The EPIC/HIVE tour provides students with an exceptional opportunity to learn about the latest innovations in technology and business entrepreneurship and meet and network with ICT and diasporan business leaders, entrepreneurs, and technocrats in the industry. 

The EPIC group will comprise student entrepreneurs from various programs, including the EPIC Incubator and STRIVE, some of whom have already launched their own startups. Half of the participating students study computer and data science at AUA’s Zaven & Sonia Akian College of Science and Engineering (CSE). The others are students from the Manoogian Simone College of Business and Economics (CBE). The group comprises six female and six male students. 

During the 2023 EPIC/HIVE tour, students will visit large, high-profile companies, such as Google, Nvidia, Synopsis, and Pinterest, among others, and hear from fast-emerging companies like Lucid Motors, Lightcast, and They will also have the opportunity to visit with leading players in the Silicon Valley ecosystem. The students will tour the world-renown design firm IDEO, the Stanford Institute of Design, and the global innovation platform Plug and Play. In the realm of investments, the EPIC/HIVE tour includes scheduled meetings at leading venture capital firms in Silicon Valley, such as Index Ventures, and with Armenian entrepreneurs from HIVE Ventures, including CodeSignal and Shopmonkey.

“It will be a busy ten-day program of a unique learning experience for our students,” says EPIC director Prof. Michael Kouchakdjian, who is leading the trek. “Talks and workshops will be focused on leading-edge topics in information and communication technologies, especially those that have a great impact in Armenia today, such as semiconductor R&D, design, intellectual property, and tools, artificial intelligence and machine learning, blockchain, cyber security and digital assets, big data, and the internet of things.”

The program will provide an opportunity for the AUA students in the group to network, grow relationships, and interact with ICT professionals in the Bay Area through several community events and meetups. To this end, Friends of AUA has organized a panel discussion on “Connecting Diaspora & Homeland: The Perspective of Young Professionals,” bringing the student group together with the Armenian community and AUA alumni in the area. 

The panel discussion is scheduled for June 16, 7 p.m., at St. Andrew Armenian Church Hall (11370 S Stelling Rd, Cupertino, CA)

At the event, Dr. Mary Papazian, former president of San Jose State University, and Dr. Yervant Zorian, president of Synopsis Armenia and AUA board member, will make introductory remarks. Elize Manoukian, radio and podcast producer at World Affairs, will moderate the panel discussion. The student panelists are Gayane Yesayan (BAB, ‘23), Joseph Alakach (CS, ‘23), and Yervand Tadevosyan (BAB, ‘23).

EPIC will share photos and stories from the trek in real time. Interested individuals can join this trip online by accessing EPIC’s 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.