PanARMENIAN.Net - With successful initiatives existing in Armenia, we now need to scale up achievements that would not just double, but multiplex the profits, creating new jobs and opportunities.
In this context, startups are of particular importance: they need assistance in the initial period in order to make their ideas accessible to users and create competitive products. For this purpose, Enterprise Incubator Foundation, the region's largest business incubator and advisory company was established in Armenia in 2002. For 13 years, the Foundation has been promoting the development of IT sphere in Armenia, creating favorable conditions for innovation, improvement and expansion of technology companies.
To support the startups, the Foundation, in cooperation with the Ministry of Economy and the World Bank, organizes co-financed grant competition in the technology field.
Program Manager of the Foundation Mari Barseghyan told PanARMENIAN.Net that startups, working in the provinces are of particular value. The Foundation offers co-financed grants, enabling Gyumri and Vanadzor-based startups to receive financial support. However, all the projects should have a clear commercialization strategy and implement the business projects in Gyumri and Vanadzor.
Co-financed grant programs, implemented by the Incubator, promote adaptation, improvement and development of new solutions, products and services. This, in turn, contributes to the introduction and use of technology in the private sector, as well as development and commercialization of innovations. This applies particularly to the creation and development of viable companies in Gyumri and Vanadzor, with 33 startups having already won the contest.
According to a 2014 survey, the number of Armenian IT companies has reached 400, up 4% against 2013. An average of 24 such companies per year have emerged in 2004-2014.
The Incubator also conducted a survey to identify the main obstacles to the development of high technologies. 58% of executives of surveyed companies noted a shortage of highly skilled professionals as a major obstacle to development, which indicates a growing demand for experienced workers. Moreover, 41% of those companies think brain drain is the main reason behind the current situation.
About 20% of respondents mentioned difficulties related to global market penetration. In fact, many international companies don't know about Armenia or simply don't trust representatives of countries with low or average income.
Thus, we can say with confidence that the Armenian IT industry has huge export potential and can make a major contribution to the development and growth of the economy. Armenian companies are able to offer products and services that meet the highest international standards. Some problems, however, including access to world markets and training of qualified specialists still exist.
Around 1,700 highly paid jobs are created for IT specialists per year. On the other hand, Armenian universities have 2,000 graduates every year, with the best of them finding jobs after some training.