The German software corporation SAP and the Business Angel Network of Armenia have announced about the establishment of the SAP Startup Factory by BANA in Armenia, in June of this year.
The establishment of the SAP Startup Factory was made possible through the support of the EU4Business “Innovative Tourism and Technology Development for Armenia (ITTD)” project implemented by GIZ and co-funded by the European Union and German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).
Over the past months, selection of startups was conducted and one-on-one work with the latter commenced. Itel.am talked about the activities and goals of SAP Startup Factory with the ITTD project Advisor Mariam Babayan, SAP CIS Chief Operating Officer Alexey Petunin and BANA Director Grigor Hovhannisyan.Armenian Startups Facing Challenges in Going Global
“Within the frame of various projects, we have provided support to number of startups ranging from idea generation stage to already mature companies having number of employees,” says ITTD project Advisor Mariam Babayan.
In addition to consultancy and expert support, financial assistance has been provided to the most successful ones, through various grant projects for further development of their products.
“The same problem was spotted in almost all cases: the Armenian startups face difficulties in entering the international market”, says Mariam Babayan.
According to her, the only exception in this context, is the US market.
“The US market is rather open for Armenian startups, since we have a large diaspora there, and the ties are stronger, providing more opportunities for achieving success in the US market. The difficulties mostly occur in the European market. So, this was the main reason behind our decision to cooperate with SAP, which expressed its interest in supporting the promotion of Armenian startups in the European market”.
SAP corporation is active almost in all markets worldwide, and the startups, offering solutions to the problems set, will gain an opportunity to sell their products on SAP platform.
“In cooperation with Business Angel Network of Armenia (BANA), we decided to establish a structure, which is called SAP Startup Factory by BANA. Thus, the SAP will sell the products made through the joint efforts on his platform, and the BANA team will further develop them, working with each startup individually, to bring them into compliance with the European market and SAP requirements”, says Mariam Babayan. Mainly B2B startups were selected
The activities of SAP Startup Factory by BANA have progressed entering already the second phase. During the first stage, mentors were recruited and the selection of startups was conducted.
“10 startups are selected for the acceleration programme. The BANA team is already working on the development of their products, and another 5 startups have been selected for the incubation programme, this being the startups still at idea generation phase,” says Mariam Babayan.
The two batches of startups were selected through competitive process, with the involvement of independent jury.
“Mostly, B2B startups have been selected, since this was one of the criteria set by the SAP. We also attach high importance to the selection of B2B startups, their further promotion, since currently in Armenia the B2C format is more widespread”, says Mariam Babayan.
“One part of the acceleration programme participants develops their business solutions in the "future of work" topic covering potentially interesting scenarios, that will help our customers improve their recruiting, employee engagement and workforce management processes”, says SAP CIS Chief Operating Officer, Alexey Petunin.
“Another part of the participants provides their solutions in the area of e-commerce, that may be considered as one of the most challenging and thriving for innovations”.Individual Work with Each Startup
According to Mariam Babayan, the main component of SAP Startup Factory by BANA is the educational, mentoring support.
“We have other development projects as well, where the most successful ones receive funding, however, in this case, we do not provide any financing. The support is about the creation of this platform and promotion of the growth of startups”.
The BANA team, which is to work and promote the selected startups, has already completed the needs assessment. Individual work will be carried out with each startup, e.g. one may receive assistance in improving the quality of the product, the other one- in marketing, while the third one may get technical assistance.
“The BANA team starts working with premature startups, helping them to develop their products. After assessment of their needs, individual road map is developed for each startup with the assistance of SAP and BANA teams” says BANA Director Grigor Hovhannisyan.
The largescale BANA network, made up of industry professionals, in cooperation with the global team of SAP mentors is providing guidance to the startups, helping them to achieve the goals set.
“Every startup seeks to enter the SAP market and take advantage of the opportunities offered by the largest B2B customer database in the market. It should be mentioned, that the growth road map of each startup is revised and updated regularly to make it as efficient as possible” says Grigor Hovhannisyan.
“Armenian startup market is very broad and welcoming for the new opportunities, that big enterprise players may bring into the ecosystem. We can see a great enthusiasm from startups to use the potential opportunities of entering international markets in the case of the successful integration to SAP products and appearing in SAP Store”, says Alexey Petunin.
“The startup market is probably one of the most dynamic ones in Armenia. This progress is very impressive also in the context of the global trends”, says Mariam Babayan.
According to her, there are already successful role models in the industry, that motivate and contribute to the growth of others.
“We are trying to facilitate this process by providing assistance”. Yana Shakhramanyan