EU4Business “Innovative Tourism and Technology Development for Armenia” project (ITTD) has conducted a high performance training of trainers (ToT) for representatives of incubators supporting Armenian startups.
The training consisted of 8 weeks of intensive work, gaining new skills, sharing experience and interacting with other industry representatives of industry.
EU4Business ITTD project is co-funded by the European Union and the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and implemented by German Development Cooperation GIZ.The international entrepreneurship expert Jesus Lozano delivered the ToT course . The participants learned how to best fine-tune the business ideas they are supporting, responding on the market requirements.
“One of the key objectives of our project is to support the entrepreneurship ecosystem in Armenia. By assisting technological enterprises, we aim to contribute to further development of innovation in the economic landscape of the country,” – said Wilhelm Hugo, Team Leader of EU4Business “Innovative Tourism and Technology Development for Armenia’’ (ITTD)project.
Hugo underlined the importance of the specific training course which covered a series of pivotal topics, such as the identification of entrepreneurial talents, the validation of business ideas and the management of incubators.
“I hope the training proves useful and helps deliver more targeted support to the startups in ideation stage thus transforming them into successful enterprises. I am convinced that you will transfer the knowledge obtained to young entrepreneurs providing them a more coherent insight on the viability of their future business. All these changes will, in their turn, impact the development of business environment in Armenia,” – said Wilhelm Hugo.
Wilhelm Hugo and Hovhannes Yeritsyan
Silja Kasmann, Deputy Head of Cooperation Section in the EU Delegation to Armenia, stated that the European Union was pleased to support the development of the technological start-ups during the last years.
“Entrepreneurial Technological sector in Armenia is progressing very fast, and we are happy to support its growth and development! We hope that with the help of this course startups can more easily validate their ideas and choose the right strategy. Soon we will hear more success stories from Armenia's technology sector!”, - said Silja Kasmann.
Kassman highlighted the importance of women’s active engagement in the training courses, affirming the commitment of the EU Delegation to support women entrepreneurs on an ongoing basis.
“A strong entrepreneurial ecosystem is one of the key factors of a long-term sustainable development. In this regard the European Union is happy to support initiatives like the training of Incubator managers, that not only will improve entrepreneurial knowledge and skills of the participants, but also provide a wonderful opportunity for professionals to exchange, network and build up a strong united community”, says Antonis Tsamoulis, Cooperation Officer at the European Union Delegation to Armenia.
The international entrepreneurship expert and facilitator Jesus Lozano delivered the training (ToT) course where the participants learned how to best fine-tune the business ideas to support and respond on market requirements. Jesus Lozano, presented key aspects addressed during the training and highlighted the value of developing this industry in Armenia.
“In Armenia, copious number of startups are established, yet few of them succeed, therefore it is a must to have incubators that are highly effective. We are trying to understand the challenge and fill the gaps. It is pivotal for the incubator representatives to have the ability to say someone at a certain point: “You are great, but your idea is not, or the opposite – your idea is amazing, but you are no entrepreneur, stop wasting your time.”
Hovhannes Yeritsyan, a trainee, co-founder of AgriTech Incubator, in addition to gaining new skill sets, highlighted the interactions and the connections established among participants:
“What is most important is that we do not see each other as competitors. Let us be sincere – in the Armenian ecosystem incubators are competitors with each other. Over this period, we realised that if we plan everything adequately, we will no longer need to compete, but rather enjoy the opportunity of being partners.”
Arpine Sargsyan, a trainee of ToT, representing Gyumri Branch of Economic University, pinpointed the importance of involving not only Yerevan, but other regions as well, in such projects.
“For us it meant everything to attend this initiative, since we were working strenuously to establish a Startup Academy in Gyumri for quite a while now. We had delivered training courses for students and school children in two cycles, we had student startup teams, however, we lacked sufficient experience for the incubation process and had a hard time to understand the overall process. From that perspective, participation in this project equipped us with the knowledge of practical tools and interactions with rock-hard players of the ecosystem such as FAST, BANA, EPIC etc.”
Arpine Sargsyan also mentioned that they have launched series of meetings with other participants from various incubators to discuss potential collaborations.
“There is a huge potential in Gyumri, particularly among school children and undergraduates. If we work resourcefully with the youth from the outset, we can end up with a lineup of great businesses.” Yana ShakhramanyanPhotos: Emin Aristakesyan