July 13-July 14 Extreme Build-A-Business weekend took place in the framework of Armenia StarUp Cup business model competition at AybHigh School in Yerevan, Armenia. This was an exclusive opportunity for 48 participating teams to develop their business models with the help of professional coaches and judges.
Like last year, the weekend was facilitated by Sean Griffin and Kristen Bergman, the founders of StartUp Cup, and the teams had a unique opportunity to be coached by Armenian and foreign entrepreneurs, bankers, consultants, lawyers, and capacity builders.
David Sahakyan, the Principal of Ayb High School, greeted everyone expressing his excitement to host such an important event under the school roof, and noted that Principles of Entrepreneurship is a mandatory course at Ayb.
Continuing the greeting ceremony, Hayk Asriyants, the organizer of Armenia StartUp Cup, said: “We often forget that startups have the difficult task of competing with real companies in the marketplace. Armenia StartUp Cup offers local entrepreneurs a long incubation period, unlike other competitions, during which they work with experienced entrepreneurs to get all of the advice and help needed to accelerate their ideas into the market. We strive to help them develop something customers actually want for as inexpensive as possible. After the amazing success we had last year, we are here to kick-off the second Armenia Startup Cup! Everybody here needs to know that WE ARE HERE TO CREATE!”
The travel and accommodation for the StartUp Cup founders is made possible through the USAID-funded Enterprise Development and Market Competitiveness (EDMC) Project. “At EDMC, we aim to not only offer a competitive process that educates young entrepreneurs about how to create a viable business but to also support the development of a mentorship institute in Armenia; both are important components of startup development,” said Fred Levitan, Value Chain Competitiveness Team Leader at EDMC Project.
Then the participants had the opportunity to hear Sean Griffin, the Founder and CEO of StartUp Cup, who came up with an interesting presentation advising the participants take the initiative, feel comfortable with uncomfortableness, be coachable, stay focused and see problems as opportunities.
During the interview with iTechnology.am, Mr. Griffin mentioned that Armenia has a spirit of entrepreneurialism: “I have been travelling along the country and what I have seen is an internal desire inside people to be more entrepreneurial, to create their own independence through startups. IT and engineering is for sure the best path, as the Armenians have natural talent and inclination for it, but other sectors can also be successful, like textile, tourism, etc.”
StartUp Cup and events like this have an objective to encourage entrepreneurialism among the young, to give them a chance to learn how to create a successful business model, test their models and to develop needed skills. It helps to make clear if the young people see the entrepreneurship as a viable career path and to choose their way in to the market.
The first day of the weekend passed with the workshops and the whole day long the coaches provided their advices, opinions and ideas on the presented 48 business models. The second day was even more productive according to participating teams as they already had the opinion of coaches and could do changes on their business models. Besides the productiveness the second day of the weekend was the right time to choose top 25 startups among 48 participating ones. The judges voted on which 25 teams which will continue their path with Armenia StartUp Cup this year. Most creative and initiating teams were chosen, among them the authors of brand garden, creative gift website, online taxi website, eco architecture project, etc..
And as Mr. Sean Griffin mentioned, entrepreneurs are not breaking the rules, they are rewriting them, so let’s see till November how the teams will change the rules and will make themselves seen as future gamechangers in business.
iTechnology.am will be with Armenia StartUp Cup and will cover everything that is going on in the startup community in the framework of this year’s competition. Let’s wish good luck to all the participants and wait for the news!