Microsoft Center Armenia Gets $1 Million Investment

Guests receive a tour of the Microsoft Innovation Center in Armenia

YEREVAN (Arka)—Microsoft Innovation Center Armenia has attracted $1 million of venture investment in the last 18 months, Bagrat Yengibaryan, the head of the Enterprise Incubator Foundation (EIF), said Friday.

According to him, in addition to foreign investments from Swiss Seedstarst, there are also Armenian investments from Granatus Ventures and Hovnanian Foundation, which provide assistance to Armenian IT companies worldwide.

“We have much to do in this direction. What is important is that Armenian start-up companies could prove they are competitive and interesting for venture funds and international investors,” said Yengibaryan.

According to him, Armenia is entering a new stage of IT development by shifting from order fulfillment and use of cheap labor force to offering solutions and products.

“It is also important that Armenian IT products are demanded by well-known companies, which also set up their own research and development centers here,” he said.

As an example he pointed out U.S.-based Oracle, which has acquired an Armenian start-up. He said the Armenian PicsArt company is among the 20 best top IT companies in the world.

Armenia’s IT sector is expanding 20 to 25 percent a year. Its share of the national GDP is 3.8 percent. Last year, this sector grew by 22 percent with an annual turnover of $380 million. According to a government designed IT development strategy, this figure is expected to surge to $1 billion in 4 years.

The Gyumri Technology Center will host the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Forum ArmeniaFTW on November 8 and 9, Bagrat Yengibaryan, the head of the Enterprise Incubator Foundation (EIF), said Friday.

According to him, the forum will provide an excellent opportunity to Armenian start-up companies to showcase their potential to representatives of international venture capital funds and investment companies who will be for two days examining Armenian start-up companies’ proposals.

According to Artashes Vardanyan, the head of Microsoft Innovation Center Armenia acceleration program, 20 Armenian start-ups have already registered for participation, which will present their products to representatives of American, Bulgarian, Ukrainian, English, German and Armenian venture funds.

Head of Phillip Morris Armenia corporate management unit Vahe Danielian said the company provided 12.3 million drams worth of grants to the Enterprise Incubator Foundation to organize and conduct the event.

He said the best three teams will receive one million drams worth grants from the company to start their business projects.

The forum is organized by the Innovation and Entrepreneurship ArmeniaFTW, Microsoft Innovation Center Armenia, Public Journalism Club, EIF, the Gyumri Technology Center, Microsoft, Philip Morris, the Armenian government, and USAID with the support of the US Embassy in Armenia and the EU Office in Yerevan. The general partners of the event are the Swiss Embassy in Armenia, Rostelecom, Sixt Rent a Car, MegasportArmenia and Markarian Law Firm.

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