On December 12, 2017 the Catalyst Foundation introduced the Armenia Startup Academy and the Hero House to the wider public and the stakeholders of the Armenian startup community. The special guests of the event included the Head of Cooperation Section of the EU Delegation to Armenia Hoa Binh Adjemian, the Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Economic Development and Investments Emil Tarasyan, the Team Leader of SMEDA project Eva Maria Naeher, as well as EU delegation and the GIZ / SMEDA team representatives, tech entrepreneurs, and other representatives of the Armenian startup ecosystem. The event also included a tour of the Hero House - the unique coworking space of the Academy.
In his opening address and introductory speech, Ashot Arzumanyan – cofounder at the Catalyst Foundation and SmartGateVC, mentioned that “this initiative would not come true without our result-focused partners from GIZ and the European Union, hands-on participation and encouragement of our ecosystem – tech entrepreneurs, government, and people who believe that future of Armenia is tech”.
Hoa Binh Adjemian, the Head of Cooperation Section of the EU Delegation to Armenia, empathised that there was a need for such institution (the Academy) in Armenia, because of the lack in knowledge amongst entrepreneurs. The Academy will affect the development of startups and is expected to give them all the awareness about the industry together with appropriate mentorship and instruction.
Deputy Minister Emil Tarasyan emphasised the importance of the initiatives of the founders of SmartGateVC and pointed out that the Academy’s progress is in line with future plans of Armenia’s development and the strategic intent of the Ministry of Economic Development and Investments.
Eva Maria Naeher, the Team Leader of SMEDA project, emphasised that Academy is expected to make a huge impact in the Armenian startup ecosystem affecting the development of the startups and SMEs, which is aligned to the goals of SMEDA project.
The welcome address was followed by presentation of the Academy program and plans by Hambardzum Kaghketsyan – cofounder at the Catalyst Foundation and SmartGateVC.
The Armenia Startup Academy offers a high quality programme incorporating innovative instruments, methods and topics as well as access to a pool of high-profile mentors to facilitate the business success of participating startups. Apart from lectures and talks, the startups get access to mentorship while keeping the utmost focus on the business development. Moreover, the program includes weekly review meetings, evaluations, and regular demo-pitching sessions to analyze the progress and upcoming plans. Thus, the teams have the opportunity to acquire hands-on experience in all knowledge areas that are crucial for the startups’ future growth, customer and product development.
Academy participants and founders of inOne (Artem Torosyan), Coach2All (Satenik Mnatsakanyan), Himnark (Ruben Osipyan), Triple-E (Aryan Behzadi), Breedge (Lian Hakobyan), Embry (Sargis Karapetyan), WooChess (Hrayr Shahbazyan), Smart Blood Filter (Ara Tarumyan) and Arsen Gevorgyan (Rate.am, a spinoff from SFL) presented their startups to the guests with a 30 second pitch.
Armenia Startup Academy is a Catalyst Foundation project implemented in the framework of the Support to SME Development (SMEDA) Project, which is co-funded by the European Union and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and implemented by GIZ’s Private Sector Development in South Caucasus Program.
See also the highlight at SMEDA.