The representatives of 10 startups from Armenia had a unique opportunity to participate in the “StartupIstanbul” Regional Forum and Challenge held on October 6-10, 2016, with the coordinated support of Public Journalism Club (Armenia) and TEPAV - Economic Policy Research Foundation of Turkey – (Turkey) within the framework of the “Exchange of Entrepreneurs” Project.
Two Armenian startups, Skycryptor and Earlyone, were included in the list of the top 50 by the prominent mentors and had a unique opportunity to tender to the investors on the stage on October 8.
Aram Jivanyan, the founder of the newly established Scycryptor Company, overcame all the levels of the challenge and was included in the list of the top 15, pitching in front of 4000 attendees during the finals on October 10. Jivanyan who considers the event significant in terms of business connections, consultations and new opportunities for cooperation said: “I have already established business relations with people whom I wanted to make collaboration with”.
Burak Büyükdemir, organizer of StartupIstanbul, Turkish Seed Accelerator and Founder of Etohum investor organization, states that he was impressed by the Armenian Startups participating in the Challenge. Büyükdemir said, “I think Armenian startups have made very successful presentations in the finals, which have also been very inspiring for all others. All in all, StartupIstanbul is a bridge for the entrepreneurs that creates them the opportunity to meet with investors and mentors, and allows them to see the global opportunities.”
Seda Muradyan, Head of the Public Journalism Club, indicates that Armenian Startups have limited experience of participation in global and international challenges and expos. Participation in such events, first of all, requires financial investments that our startups cannot often afford. Besides, even in case of the financial means, startups have to overcome the selection procedure.
“As a result of the negotiations with StartupIstanbul, we were able to provide the full participation of Armenian 10 startups both in Expo and mentorship trainings; moreover two of the Armenian startups entered the Challenge to compete with the companies from various different countries. The participation itself in this international forum is a big experience, and the involvement in the Challenge is a real opportunity to have an access to the global investment environment.”
Cansu Saraç, a policy analyst for innovation and area studies at TEPAV (Turkey), is impressed by the achieved results. “Our objective was that the Armenian 10 selected Startups establish networks with different international investors.”
“StartupIstanbul” is a very unique organisation with its format: it includes lectures, panel discussions, presentations and information sessions with outstanding investors, representatives of investment companies, media and professionals representing ICT international investment field, fostering the establishment of networks with the investors and ICT leaders from Europe, USA, Turkey and other states. Along with all these, Startup Expo was held where each company had its booth.
The Armenian delegation was presented in “StartupIstanbul” regional forum with the following companies:
Seda Muradyan gives much importance to the continuity of Armenia-Turkey “Exchange of Entrepreneurs” Project, launched in 2013 together with partner TEPAV. Within the scope of the programme, PJC and TEPAV jointly organized exchanges and trainings for ICT entrepreneurs during the previous years, due to which the representatives of the two countries learned and explored the opportunities, differences and advantages of that field in both Armenia and Turkey. According to Muradyan, “Participation in “StartupIstanbul” reinforced our efforts made before.”
Before StartupIstanbul, Public Journalism Club held special trainings for the participants on “Mastering the Art of Pitching” and ''Business Negotiation Skills and Intercultural Communication''.
This year 24.646 startups applied for “StartupIstanbul” leading forum from 135 states, and only about 500 startups had the chance to participate in the event. These 10Armenian startup companies, participating in the Exchange of Entrepreneurs project, were among those 500 startups. Exchange of Entrepreneurs project is part of the “Support to the Armenia-Turkey Normalization Process” (ATNP) Program with the funding of the European Union.
Ms. Arpine Aleksanyan and Ms. Sona Baloyan from Yerevan, from “Matenadaran” Mesrop Mashtots Institute of Ancient Manuscripts, were supported with the travel grant to visit Istanbul, Turkey for meetings with the Armenian Patriarchate, Armenian high schools, foundations and publishing houses to discuss possibilities of further collaboration on preserving the Armenian culture.