US IT Firm in Armenia Shortlisted For U.S. Global Award

YEREVAN (RFE/RL)–Armenia’s largest information technology (IT) firm was honored by the U.S. Embassy in Yerevan on Wednesday for being shortlisted for an annual U.S. government award given to American-owned companies around the world.

The U.S. State Department established the Award for Corporate Excellence (ACE) in 1999 to promote “good corporate citizenship, innovation, and democratic principles” worldwide. This year’s selection process has involved about 80 companies nominated by U.S. ambassadors abroad.

Twelve of them were recently chosen by the department as finalists. The shortlist includes Synopsis-Armenia. The company employing more than 400 people is part of the California-based Synopsis group, one of the world’s leading suppliers of software for semiconductor design and manufacturing.

The shortlisting earned Synopsis a special award from Marie Yovanovitch, the U.S. ambassador to Armenia. It was given at a ceremony held in the company’s Yerevan headquarters.

Speaking at ceremony, Yovanovitch said, “Synopsis was recognized for its promotion of U.S. and foreign investment by showcasing Armenia as a potential IT hub, its collaboration with universities on IT training programs, and its reduction of pollution levels in Armenia by planting hundreds of trees to counter recent deforestation.”

“The main significance of this award is that our work is appreciated,” Hovik Musayelian, the Synopsis-Armenia chief executive, said for his part. “Appreciated not just by our company management or the [Armenian] government but by a country that is interested in seeing its companies invest all over the world and act as carriers of corporate excellence.”

The State Department is due to select the winner of the 2010 ACE and runners-up of the contest next month. Among the shortlisted contenders are subsidiaries of U.S. corporate giants like General Electric, Cisco Systems and Intel.

“I very much hope that Synopsis-Armenia will be one of the top three companies,” Musayelian told journalists.

Successive Armenian governments have declared the development of IT a top economic priority. Armenia’s IT sector is dominated by Synopsis and several other Silicon Valley firms that have branches in the country.

The sector’s development had for years been hampered by a legal monopoly on telecommunication services enjoyed by the ArmenTel national phone operator. The Armenian telecom market was liberalized five years ago.

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