With the aim to promote partnership in the field of information and communication technologies (ICT) between Turkey and Armenia, the Public Journalism Club and the Economic Policy Research Foundation of Turkey (TEPAV) will continue carrying out the Exchange of Entrepreneurs component under the “Support to the Armenia-Turkey Normalization Process” (ATNP) Program.
As part of the first stage of the “Exchange of Entrepreneurs” project, PJC and TEPAV have initiated the biggest ever industry to industry exchange between Armenia and Turkey, with the involvement of overall 90 ICT investors and entrepreneurs, technology industry leaders, designers and startup enthusiasts from Turkey and Armenia.
One of the highlights of the first stage of the project – the Armenia-Turkey Startup Weekend, brought together over 27 startup entrepreneurs from both countries, as part of the larger INNOWEEKEND forum with 300+ participants. The first stage also involved round table discussions, study visits and awards for startup teams from Turkey and Armenia. Given the unprecedented nature and impact of the Project, the U.S. Embassy in Armenia proposed to provide longer term support for the startups, due to which 6 startup teams from Armenia and Turkey involved in a 6 month capacity building project.
Building on the results and lessons learned of the previous stage, PJC and TEPAV will carry out the following activities during the second stage:
a) For the first time Armenian start-uppers will participate in the Startup Istanbul regional forum. For the first time the Armenian startup ecosystem will have the exceptional opportunity to take part in the Startup Istanbul Regional Forum to be held in Istanbul, Turkey, on October 6-10. The Startup Istanbul is the leading startup event which brings together founders, investors and executives in the region to come together for professional exchanges, mentorship and networking with the best founders, executives, entrepreneurs and investors all around the region. This year a delegation of minimum 10 best startups and prominent ICT leaders from Armenia, together with more than 500 startups, 500 investors, 4000 attendees and 50 speakers from other countries, will also be in Istanbul to be involved in a 2-day mentorship program, to showcase their startup ideas and exchange their experience with the experts and investors. Booths of participating startups from Armenia will feature at the Startup Istanbul, including one PJC-run booth representing Armenia’s ICT industry with a focus on the startup ecosystem. The participation of the Armenian startups is a great opportunity to present the Armenian startup potential and promote partnership between the ICT professionals from Turkey and Armenia.
Before the launch of the Startup Istanbul, PJC will identify the best innovative startups from Armenia and support them in developing the design and visual content of the booths.
b) Investors and ICT representatives from Turkey will visit Armenia to learn about ICT developments in the country.
A group of Turkey-based investors and ICT industry leaders from Turkey will visit Armenia to learn about ICT developments in Armenia through participation in EXPOs, series of workshops and conferences.
During the study visit, the participants from Turkey will visit ICT centers of excellence in Armenia, having an opportunity to improve their understanding of ICT developments and trends in the country. The visit will be conducted during a big high-tech expo in Armenia, giving an opportunity the participants to get to know the local professionals showcasing their ICT products and services on the spot.
In addition to the study visits, there will be a separate session on angel investment where angel investors from the US and Turkey will present the international and Turkish best practices of angel investment, and the ICT experts from Armenia will introduce the ICT investment climate in Armenia.
Duygu Bostancı, currently based at Institute of Contemporary Art - Yerevan (ICA) and conducting a research on folk dances in Armenia and Turkey, and Anna Kamay, the Artists in Residency Programme Coordinator at ICA, shared their experiences about the Turkey-Armenia Fellowship Scheme as well as suggestions for the future fellows and host organisations.