The project aims to enable successful interaction between entrepreneurs of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) sphere, developers, designers, marketers, product managers and start-up enthusiasts from Armenia and Turkey and create new opportunities for cooperation amongst them.
As Karen Vardanyan, executive director of Union of Information Technology Enterprises (Armenia) notes, “Support to entrepreneurship is a key condition for the development of our countries, which should be strategically important for both the state and individual companies. It is essential that we create a conducive environment for establishing enterprises, give opportunities to the youth for self-promotion and always be in the center of these developments. Startup support events like the Startup Weekend are another format that contribute to their development since the young people are able to interact among their peers, find like-minded people, learn from established entrepreneurs, their successes and their advice”.
The project includes a series of activities such as exchange visits, business meetings and round table discussions for entrepreneurs to be organised in Armenia and Turkey. The activities will be focused on ICT entrepreneurial eco-systems of both countries. Delegations from both countries will visit leading ICT innovation centers and engineering laboratories, and will meet leaders in the ICT spheres.
First stage of the project will take place in Yerevan and Gyumri, Armenia, from November 6 to November 10, 2014. А group of 20 entrepreneurs selected through an open call, including representatives of investment funds, entrepreneurs, programmers, designers and other ICT sphere representatives, as well as Startup Weekend facilitators from Turkey will visit Armenia for taking part in business meetings and round table discussion.
Selected through an open call ICT sphere representatives from Armenia and Turkey will participate in the Startup Weekend, planned to take place in Yerevan and Gyumri, from November 7-9. During this weekend-long, hands-on experience entrepreneurs and aspiring entrepreneurs will come together to share ideas, form teams, launch startup projects, build products, demo prototypes and find out if those projects are viable. A professional jury with members from both countries will select the most significant projects. In addition, entrepreneurs and investors from the Silicon Valley and other major entrepreneurial hubs will hold master classes during the Startup Weekend event. "This event is a great opportunity for Turkish investors to explore investment opportunities in the neighboring markets and for Turkish entrepreneurs to explore new partnerships", - says Ussal Sahbaz (Economic Policy Research Foundation of Turkey).
The Startup Weekend will be held simultaneously with Hackathon[YAN] 2014. The HackathonYAN, a competition of innovative ideas and projects, is an initiative by the Public Journalism Club (PJC) and Microsoft Innovation Center Armenia (MIC Armenia), which is conducted in Armenia since 2011. Hackathon[YAN] 2014 will be organized by PJC, MIC Armenia in partnership with mLab ECA Regional Mobile Application Laboratory and will have a regional and international scope. The Startup Weekend, Hackathon[YAN]2014 and other related events will give the representatives of IT sector an exclusive opportunity to expand their network, establish new connections and find investments for their projects.
The 2nd study trip will take place in December 2014. A group of 10 entrepreneurs from Armenia selected in advance will visit Turkey. They will take part in Insiders’ round table-discussion event, visit leading ICT companies, innovation centers and engineering laboratories.
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.