January 31, 2020 - 16:12 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - Forbes has unveiled a fresh article about the rapid development of technology in Armenia, suggesting that rather than diving head first into the promises of industrialization, the country is wagering their chips on a completely different table: technology.
A landlocked country in the bowels of the Caucasus with scant natural resources, all Armenia has is human capital, which it’s doubling-down on as high-tech research and development has become a national priority—a do or die objective to connect and do business with the outside world and break the blockade that’s building up around it, the feature says.
Tech is now the largest foreign investment in Armenia and many of the world’s most powerful technology firms—including Intel, Microsoft, Google, IBM, Synopsys and Cisco—all have a physical presence there, as the country’s tech sector grew 33% in 2018 to become a $250 million a year industry, the publication says.
“Influenced by Armenian diaspora companies like Service Titan and native Armenian firms such as Shadowmatic, which won the Apple Design Award in 2015, Armenia’s startup scene has been growing rapidly,” the article says.
Other good examples and major Armenian success stories include The Crowdfunding Formula, one of the world’s top crowdfunding marketing firms, PicsArt, one of the top photo editing apps for Android, Zoomerang, a video editing app which is rivaling Tik Tok with its 100,000 daily downloads and 10 million users, and ggTaxi, which takes the place of Uber in Armenia and is available in Georgia and Russia.
“One man that has made improving the technological studies of Armenia’s students his life’s mission is Karen Vardanyan. In 2014, he started a program called Armath, which sought to put robotics laboratories in rural schools across Armenia,” the piece says.
“The free program spread rapidly, and there are now 575 Armath labs throughout Armenia and Georgia which have over 15,000 students—84% of which are admitted to universities.”
While the Armenian government doesn’t offer much in the way of direct funding for startups they do provide preferential tax breaks specifically designed for IT companies and tech startups. Basically, they don’t pay any income taxes and only face a payroll tax of 10%, along with other perks and incentives. The new government is also making it easy to start a business in Armenia, offering an “open door” policy which is designed to attract foreign businesses and investors. According to the World Bank’s Doing Business report, Armenia is the 10th easiest country in the world to start a business in.