EWC 2024 Armenia feature_for Newsroom

Entrepreneurship World Cup Armenia 2024: Applications Now Open

6 min read

YEREVAN, Armenia — The Entrepreneurship and Productive Innovation Center (EPIC) at the American University of Armenia (AUA) is delighted to announce that applications for the Entrepreneurship World Cup (EWC) Armenia 2024 are now open.

Since its launch in 2019, EWC has evolved into one of the largest and most diverse startup pitch competitions and support programs worldwide. With over 370,000 entrepreneurs from more than 200 countries and territories in participation, EWC offers winners life-changing prizes, including more than $1 million in cash prizes and in-kind prizes.

EWC goes beyond mere competition. It provides hundreds of coaching and training hours tailored to entrepreneurs at all stages of their journey. The network fostered throughout the duration of the competition offers invaluable guidance and support to propel companies toward their growth objectives. EWC alumni, whether cash prize winners or members of select cohorts, continue to make significant contributions to their communities with innovative solutions to pressing challenges.

As the national organizer in Armenia, EPIC has hosted two successful editions of EWC, bringing together key players in the Armenian startup ecosystem to make this nationwide event a reality. 

Mapping EWC Armenia’s Success

The launch of another exciting edition of EWC Armenia marks an opportunity to reflect on EPIC’s past achievements and contributions to this prestigious competition. Over the years, EPIC has played a pivotal role in shaping the landscape of entrepreneurship in Armenia. EPIC, along with the National Leadership Committee in Armenia, successfully hosted two EWC Armenia finals, in 2021 and 2022, receiving over 200 applications. The Center’s active participation and effective organization led to the exclusive allocation of an extra Armenian national finalist slot to the global competition, highlighting the country’s growing prominence in the entrepreneurial sphere. The Global Entrepreneurship Network (GEN) allowed Armenia to nominate two finalist winners for the international stage of the competition, an exceptional opportunity considering that many countries are typically allocated only one slot, including Armenia’s neighbors.

In 2021, EPIC hosted the first-ever EWC Armenia, during which Denovo Sciences emerged as the winner of the national final. Denovo Sciences, a deep-tech company creating novel therapeutics through AI-based algorithms, showcased Armenia’s innovation on the global stage by securing a place in the Top 25 at the EWC Global Finals. The startup received $750,000 of in-kind services and support from top service providers in the field, including Amazon Web Services (AWS), Segment, Brex, Hubspot, and others. It competed in a live event with the other 24 finalists in the last stage of the competition in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Additionally, Zoomerang, the national runner-up, represented Armenia’s vibrant entrepreneurial spirit with its short-form video creation platform, amassing over 25 million downloads since 2018. That year, Armenia was the country with the highest number of startups per capita in the Global Finals.

Building on this success, EPIC continued its journey as a national organizer in 2022 with another remarkable edition of EWC Armenia. Two local startups, Text’nPayMe and Hopshop, emerged victorious in the 2022 National Finals. Text’nPayMe, revolutionizing banking with its innovative keyboard interface, and Hopshop, offering a unique shopping experience akin to “Shazam for fashion,” secured their places in the EWC Global Finals. The journey to the Global Finals involved rigorous competitions and activities worldwide, with the Top 250 companies participating in a three-day boot camp, and the Top 100 finalists, known as the EWC 100, receiving $100,000 worth of in-kind services from esteemed partners such as AWS, Freshworks, Google Cloud, Hubspot, Stripe, and Zoom. HopShop made it to the Top 100, receiving a trip to Riyadh for the Global Competition. 

EPIC’s commitment to fostering entrepreneurship extends beyond hosting events, into broader collaboration and partnership. When approached by the leadership of the Global Entrepreneurship World Cup to organize national events in Armenia, EPIC embraced the opportunity to collaborate with ecosystem partners across the country. This collaborative approach aligns with EPIC’s vision and strategy at AUA, emphasizing the importance of engaging external stakeholders and community members to drive innovation and entrepreneurship. Stay tuned as EPIC announces its partners for the upcoming year, continuing its mission to empower Armenian startups and entrepreneurs in the international arena.

Selection Process and Eligibility

EWC stands as a global platform open to creative and innovative individuals across the entrepreneurship spectrum. Whether at the idea, early, or growth stage, EWC offers tailored categories and prizes designed to encompass diverse industries. Eligible startups, defined as those less than ten years old at the date of the Global Finals, are encouraged to participate. 

Moreover, starting this year, the competition will warmly welcome social entrepreneurs, recognizing the paramount significance of ventures focused on creating positive social impact. Social entrepreneurship, a vital component of EWC, embodies the spirit of innovation aimed at addressing pressing societal challenges while fostering sustainable development. Socially-driven ventures tackling issues like poverty alleviation, environmental sustainability, healthcare access, and education reform are integral to EWC’s mission of fostering inclusive and impactful entrepreneurship moving forward. Importantly, participation in EWC incurs no application fees, making it accessible to aspiring entrepreneurs worldwide.

The selection journey commences with contestants entering the EWC Global Pool for thorough review and assessment. From there, the highest-scoring contestants progress to compete in a series of National Finals events. Winners of the latter advance to the EWC Group Stage and engage in the Virtual Bootcamp, which offers invaluable resources and mentorship. In countries with a high number of applicants, multiple winners may be selected to advance, presenting an even greater opportunity for entrepreneurial success. Notably, Armenia has been granted up to two finalist spots. Ultimately, the Top 100 startups from all stages earn the prestigious title of the EWC 100 and gain the opportunity to pitch at the esteemed EWC Global Finals.

This year, unlike the previous two years, the national finalists will be chosen by GEN’s headquarters committee, whereas the independent juries invited by EPIC were previously responsible for this selection process. For EWC Armenia 2024, EPIC will provide the number of slots available for finalists, and the GEN committee will make the selections. For instance, if the national organizing committee decides to have 12 national finalists, GEN will choose 12 startups from the Armenian application pool, from which the independent jury will select up to two startups as national winners to advance to the global competition. Therefore, EPIC highly suggests attending the upcoming information sessions and keeping in touch with the Center to ensure that applications are well-prepared and eligible for selection as finalists.

Next Steps Upon Startup Selection

After the national finalists are chosen on May 25, the journey for EWC Armenia 2024 participants continues with preparations for the global stage. The EWC Global Finals, slated for early December 2024 in Riyadh, mark the culmination of a year-long quest to identify some of the world’s most promising entrepreneurs. This multi-day event features a series of pitches and offers unparalleled opportunities to engage with investors from across the globe. The timeline for the EWC journey includes qualifiers and national finals from January 1 to August 15 around the world, followed by the selection of the EWC 250 on September 1. The EWC Virtual Bootcamp will take place during the period of late September to early October (final dates to be confirmed), with the selection of the EWC 100 set for October 15th. Armenian applicants should note that the application process for national selection closes on April 21.

EWC Global Timeline

Navigating the Application Journey: EWC Information Sessions

In a recent online information session, EPIC hosted selected startups, aiming to offer guidance tailored to their needs and aspirations for EWC 2024. The session emphasized providing personalized insights and support to empower these startups in their journey toward global competition. Among the participants were 35 invited founders, including Tigran Chakhalyan from Hopshop, who generously shared tips and his experience as the national winner. Notably, the session attracted mostly semi-finalists from last year’s competition and EPIC Incubation program alumni. Looking ahead, EPIC is excited to announce that future information sessions will be open to all interested startups and the dates will be announced very soon. These upcoming sessions present valuable opportunities for aspiring entrepreneurs to gain insights, ask questions, and learn more about EWC 2024, increasing their chances of selection into the global pool.

EWC Armenia Timeline

Now is the time to embark on your EWC 2024 journey! Don’t hesitate to apply and take your startup to new heights. Stay connected with EPIC on social media to ensure you don’t miss out on any upcoming info sessions and updates. For any inquiries or further details about participating in EWC Armenia 2024, consult EPIC’s freshly updated FAQ section on the EWC Armenia website or reach out to the Center directly at +374 (60) 612 587 or via email at [email protected]. EPIC also welcomes partnerships to make EWC Armenia 2024 a resounding success. Reach out to the Center for collaboration opportunities at +374 (60) 612 630 or via email at [email protected].

EPIC looks forward to making EWC Armenia 2024 an unforgettable experience and helping an Armenian startup become the next EWC Global Champion.

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.