Startup Boost Weekend to promote entrepreneurship skills among youth

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17-09-2018

Startup Boost Weekend to promote entrepreneurship skills among youth

The Startup Boost Weekend – Volume 2 (SBW)  – a unique 54-hour event targeting around 120 university students not only form Yerevan but from various marzes of Armenia, took place from Sept. 14-16, 2018. In the framework of SBW the students had a chance to define and shape their startup ideas, develop teams, and under the supervision of experienced mentors present fresh and creative startup ideas. 

For the second year now the event was supported by the “Support to SME Development in Armenia” (EU-SMEDA) project operating under the EU4Business initiative of the European Union, aiming to seed healthy entrepreneurship among young and talented students thus boosting the startup ecosystem in Armenia. The main organiser of the event was Catalyst Foundation in partnership with the Entrepreneurship and Product Innovation Center (EPIC) at AUA. For the first time, four Armenian Universities partnered up to hold this event, namely American University of Armenia; Russian-Armenian University; Yerevan State University; National Polytechnic University of Armenia.

SBW was opened by the newly assigned Head of Cooperation Section of the European Delegation in Armenia Mr. Gonzalo Serrano. In his speech Mr. Serrano highlighted the European Union’s support to the Government of Armenia in a number of interventions aimed at development of  entrepreneurship, civil society, youth, innovation and business environment of Armenia. He encouraged the students from different backgrounds and skills from universities of Armenia to use the opportunities of the 3-day friendly competition by learning, sharing and generating new and creative startup ideas and most importantly to dare and be bold without a fear of mistakes, as they are also part of the learning and future achievements.

In their welcoming words both Mr. Hakob Avagyan, Deputy Minister of Economic Development and Investments, and Mr. Hakob Arshakyan, Deputy Minister of Transport, Communication and IT emphasised the huge importance of the event for the overall entrepreneurial, startup and IT ecosystem of the country. The RA Government fully supports and encourages such events and formats as they are the best platforms for generating innovative business ideas that could be turned into life and the Government stands ready to support and help the winning teams in the later stages of developing the ideas into real products. The students were advised by the Government representatives to learn and practice their entrepreneurial, public speaking and presentation skills and spread the word about startups and innovation among the general public.    

In her welcoming speech Ms. Eva Naeher, EU-SMEDA’s team leader, noted that the event is part of the support the project implements in Armenia to strengthen the business environment and entrepreneurship. She encouraged the students not to be afraid in presenting totally fresh and bold ideas as such ideas make human lives better in the future. Apart, from that a new opportunity that EU-SMEDA offers - the EU4Business STEP grant competition open until Oct. 1, 2018 - was presented with a message to actively apply and benefit from it.

The following days of the event were full of lively discussions, sessions on idea generation, prototyping, hypothesis and validation, pitching techniques, learning from 25 knowledgeable and experienced mentors, presentation of success stories and many more that enabled the students to team up, work and improve their startup ideas. All of the hard efforts culminated by the award ceremony following the final pitches of the teams.

And the winning teams competing for 3 prizes are: Renderchain – formed by two co-founder students of the AUA that received the opportunity to be accepted to AUA’s EPIC Startup Incubator programme, a bundle of mind blowing books on entrepreneurship and a grant of EUR 600. The team will work in optimizing the rendering process of films. 

The second winner is Creatr - formed by 3 AUA and 1 Yerevan State Linguistic University student. Creatr will match the film-makers with investors/sponsors. They went home with books and a grant of 400 EUR.

The third winner is IOC team with 3 students from Russian Armenian University, one of them from Gavar. They will be working on an app designed for farmers to gather information and track the health condition of cows. They received a cool set of entrepreneurial books.

Apart from the mentioned prizes there were a number of others to encourage and cheer up the participating students to continue their entrepreneurial efforts in the future.

The Startup Boost Weekend has formed new teams, generated a number of innovative startup ideas and helped over 100 students to gain new skills and know-how on entrepreneurship.

A footage on the SBW was prepared by the 1st Public TV of Armenia available at: https://youtu.be/HzUXhMgNsnU

An article prepared by Hetq online: https://bit.ly/2OBR1mA

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