Highlights From Global Entrepreneurship Week Armenia 20235 min read
“Entrepreneurs Thrive Here.” With this succinct yet powerful slogan, a global campaign recently unfolded aimed at fostering entrepreneurship across the globe. Launched on November 13, 2007, Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) was the mastermind of Global Entrepreneurship Network (GEN), the Kauffman Foundation, and former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown. It has since evolved into a monumental force inspiring millions of current and future entrepreneurs worldwide. Armenia has proudly joined this international movement, spearheaded by the Entrepreneurship and Product Innovation Center (EPIC) of the American University of Armenia (AUA).
As the official representative of GEN in Armenia since 2021, EPIC has become a catalyst for entrepreneurial initiatives in the region. Having introduced the Entrepreneurship World Cup (EWC) and Startup Huddle Yerevan community platform to the Armenian ecosystem, EPIC embraced the challenging task of orchestrating Armenia’s full-scale participation in GEW 2023. Recognizing the pivotal role of active ecosystem players, EPIC garnered support from 14 partners, including a university, a government entity, and 12 private organizations. Their collaborative efforts resulted in GEW Armenia 2023, a groundbreaking initiative that emerged not only in Yerevan, but also in Gyumri, Goris, and 16 other communities all over Armenia. GEW Armenia 2023 successfully engaged and inspired approximately 1,500 participants, marking a significant and thrilling achievement. Participation in GEW duly raised the global visibility of AUA and Armenia as a dynamic center of innovation, technology, and entrepreneurship.
Throughout the week, GEW Armenia 2023 examined the core themes of entrepreneurship, dedicating each day to one of the five crucial aspects: innovation, business, education, society, and ecosystem. Facilitated by AUA’s EPIC, the week-long celebration brought together representatives from Armenia’s entrepreneurial ecosystem, providing a platform to collectively unlock and elevate the spirit of entrepreneurship.
In this article, we cover highlights of GEW Armenia 2023, spotlighting events and discussions that encapsulate the essence of this unprecedented celebration of entrepreneurship.
“Coffee with Angel” With Rem Darbinyan
On November 13, The Factory, an innovation hub in Yerevan, hosted “Coffee with Angel” at Unicorn Community Café, featuring Rem Darbinyan, founder and CEO of ViralMango and SmartClick. The event aimed at providing aspiring entrepreneurs with a glimpse at Darbinyan’s expertise through his talk about “Mistakes That Kill Startups.” Despite being planned for 14 participants, all 18 registered individuals were able to attend. The event’s success was measured by its meaningful content, which extended beyond the talk to a rich dialogue among participants on fostering support within the Armenian entrepreneurial community.
NCIE’s Round Table: Science, Economics, Technology Transfer
On November 13, the National Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship Technology Transfer Office (TTO) organized an event at the National Academy of Sciences of Armenia on the commercialization of university-based academic research. Keynote speaker AUA Professor Mihran Aroyan discussed “What is Technology Transfer?” followed by a thematic analysis of the topic. The event created a platform for further discussion and interaction among scientists, investors, and businessmen, exploring avenues of technology transfer for driving economic growth and innovation.
The Buissup Conference exceeded all expectations, drawing over 350 participants, including influential businessmen and leading specialists from diverse companies in Armenia. Under the theme “Unlocking Business Trends,” the event explored two pivotal trends: “The Battle of Titans: Online vs. Offline Retail Business” and “Work Arrangement Dilemma: In-Office vs. Remote?” The panel discussions stood out for their remarkable interactivity, fostering engaging dialogues among attendees. The lineup of distinguished speakers comprised founders and top managers from major Armenian companies. From Edgar Karapetyan, director of strategy and innovation at Galaxy Group of Companies, to Nikolay Mkhitaryan, co-founder and CEO of Ibari, the speakers provided invaluable insights into industry trends, business strategies, innovation, and the evolving landscape of retail and workplace dynamics. Beyond the dynamic discourse among participants, the conference also offered unparalleled networking opportunities and knowledge exchange among industry leaders and other professionals.
How to Master Case Solving: A Practical Workshop by CaseKey
On November 14, the AUA Faculty Lounge was the site of the immersive “Mastering Case Solving” workshop by CaseKey’s Hovhannes Yeritsyan. All fifteen students in the workshop were immersed in hands-on exercises that dealt with the intricacies of strategic thinking and problem-solving. Beyond having an academic focus, the event fostered a collaborative atmosphere, creating a community of learners passionate about mastering case-solving techniques. Students left with not only valuable insights, but also a heightened resolve to approach problems strategically.
To Start or Not to Start — Overcoming Business Fears: A Round Table Discussion
The Gyumri branch of the Armenian State University of Economics hosted a roundtable discussion on November 14 tackling the theme “To Start or Not to Start: Overcoming Business Fears.” Speakers Tigran Minasyan, Elza Ginetsyan, Asya Galstyan, Karen Gasparyan, and Alyona Movsesyan shared strategies for overcoming common fears hindering entrepreneurship. The discussion had a profound impact on the 20 participants, while shaping a supportive community for sharing experiences as well as expertise and transforming fears into motivation for entrepreneurial endeavors.
Panel Discussion: Unveiling the Power of Academia-Industry-Government Partnerships
On November 15, AUA’s Manoogian Hall was the site of an event organized by EPIC and the Union of Advanced Technology Enterprises (UATE). The session, titled “Academia-Industry-Government,” covered the power of partnerships in the entrepreneurial process. Featuring a panel discussion moderated by AUA’s C. Judson King Endowed Visiting Professor Dr. Naira Campbell-Kyureghyan, the event highlighted the transformative potential of partnerships that create significant advantages for advancing innovation.
Impact Hub Yerevan: A Day of Insightful Exchange and Innovation
Impact Hub Yerevan’s day of events featured meaningful exchange and innovation. From a meet-up with Russian and local social entrepreneurs to a workshop on social entrepreneurship impact models and rapid-fire presentations by emerging social entrepreneurs, the day offered a holistic view of the social entrepreneurship landscape. The diverse range of activities contributed to building skills and connections to fuel ongoing efforts in making a positive impact on society.
GEW Armenia 2023 Celebration at Impact Hub Syunik
Impact Hub Syunik hosted a networking event on November 16 to mark the culmination of the Women’s Entrepreneurship Incubation Program (SWEIP). The ensuing vibrant exchanges provided invaluable networking opportunities. The winners were awarded seed funding for implementation of their business ideas. The day was a true celebration of innovation, empowerment, and the achievements of female entrepreneurs in making a positive impact in social entrepreneurship in Armenia and beyond.
Startup Speed Dating by Startup Grind
Startup Speed Dating, a unique networking event organized by Startup Grind Yerevan Chapter within Global Entrepreneurship Week, took place on November 17 at the community workspace COWO Mergelyan. It brought together startups, investors, mentors, and connectors from the Armenian startup ecosystem for facilitated networking. With over 80 attendees, the event stimulated personal interactions among the participants that included prominent startups, investors, and other representatives of the entrepreneurial ecosystem. Due to its success, the event will be systematically organized by Startup Grind Yerevan Chapter.
Startup Huddle Yerevan: Ecosystem Meetup
On November 17, the AUA Akian Gallery hosted Startup Huddle Yerevan: Ecosystem Meetup, featuring speakers Karlen Madoyan and Nairi Baghdasaryan. The event, part of the Global Entrepreneurship Network, gathered local community and business leaders, founders, investors, and others. It offered a platform for local founders to present challenges and receive constructive feedback. The event highlighted the importance of community support and concluded the full week of celebrations of entrepreneurship in Armenia.
Navigating the Accelerator Program Journey: Panel Discussion and Workshop by Triple S Ventures
The “Navigating the Accelerator Program Journey” event, held at AUA’s Manoogian Hall on November 18, offered a rich blend of panel discussions and hands-on workshops. Panelists Tat Ajamyan, Vardan Harutunyan, and Tigran Chakhalyan shared their experiences in startup accelerator programs. Subsequently, the workshop on leading accelerators by Karén Gyulbudaghyan added more practical insights. The event, attended by 40 participants, provided networking opportunities and valuable discussions on the dynamics of accelerator programs. Triple S Ventures held an additional workshop on the same day, further contributing to growing the entrepreneurial landscape.
Armenia as the Bridge to Silicon Valley: A Tête-à-tête discussion
On November 19, a captivated audience gathered at AUA’s Manoogian Hall for the wrap-up event of GEW Armenia 2023: a tête-à-tête discussion featuring the vice president of the Armenian National Assembly Hakob Arshakyan and Karén Gyulbudaghyan, founding partner at Strategic Values Ventures. The event explored the untapped opportunities for startups and tech companies in the region that could position Armenia as a strategic bridge to Silicon Valley. The discussion emphasized leveraging this tremendous advantage to benefit local entrepreneurs and the tech ecosystem. The high level of audience engagement reflected enthusiasm for shaping the future of tech and entrepreneurship in Armenia.
The American University of Armenia’s (AUA) on-campus start-up incubator, the Entrepreneurship and Product Innovation Center (EPIC) helps students, alumni, and other entrepreneurs to advance their ventures from idea to success. EPIC provides an ecosystem for AUA’s emerging entrepreneurs that consists of first-class facilities and collaboration space, programs and events, and a network of mentors, advisors, and investors.