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EPIC Applauds EWC Armenia 2024 National Prizewinners

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EPIC Applauds EWC Armenia 2024 National Prizewinners

YEREVAN, MAY 29, ARMENPRESS.The Entrepreneurship and Productive Innovation Center (EPIC) at the American University of Armenia (AUA) as the National Organizer of the Entrepreneurship World Cup (EWC) in Armenia congratulates the three startups that became the EWC Armenia 2024 National Winners. These startups advance to the global competition to represent Armenia.

Since its launch in 2019, EWC has evolved into one of the largest and most diverse startup pitch competitions and support programs worldwide. With over 370,000 entrepreneurs from more than 200 countries and territories participating, EWC offers winners life-changing prizes, including more than $1 million in cash prizes and in-kind prizes.

EWC goes beyond mere competition. It provides hundreds of coaching and training hours tailored to entrepreneurs at all stages of their journey. The network fostered throughout the competition offers invaluable guidance and support to propel companies toward their growth objectives. EWC alumni, whether cash prize winners or members of select cohorts, continue to make significant contributions to their communities with innovative solutions to pressing challenges.

As the national organizer in Armenia, EPIC has hosted three successful editions of EWC, bringing together key players in the Armenian startup ecosystem to make this nationwide event a thriving reality while launching the best Armenian startups to the global stage where they will receive international exposure and recognition.

This year's EWC Armenia National Finals was an electrifying event, truly a nationwide celebration of innovation and entrepreneurship. The excitement was palpable as people from all corners of our ecosystem gathered to witness a spirited competition between ten leading Armenian startups to see which three teams would advance to the EWC 2024 Global Finals. The engagement was extraordinary, with productive networking sessions during breaks and while the jury deliberated. Startups were approached by audience members, investors, and entrepreneurs eager to explore their ideas further, showcasing the dynamic interest and support within our community. The participants themselves were brimming with excitement, motivated to deliver their best pitches and thoughtfully answer the jury’s questions.

By decision of the independent jury of the EWC Armenia 2024 National Finals, from the 10 competing National Finalist startups, Archestr, MAquaponics, and Nomiq were announced as national winners and will join the EWC Top 250 startups selected from participants in the Entrepreneurship World Cup (EWC) competition’s global pool, who get the chance to go through GEN’s virtual boot camp designed to provide selected startups with valuable skills, mentorship, and resources to prepare them for the global finals

According to EWC Armenia National Organizer Nejdeh Hovanessian, "Year by year, we see how diverse and exciting the ideas become in the EWC competition. If you check different industries and very interesting teams, ranging from agri-tech to construction startups. One trend that was well-predicted is the use of AI technologies; most startups are utilizing that. It’s inspiring to see Armenia participate in EWC for the third time, and we are immensely proud of the progress our ecosystem has made. Our winning teams are a testament to the talent and potential within our community, and we are confident they will represent Armenia exceptionally well on the global stage."

The National Finals took place at AUA on May 25, 2024. The event commenced with special video remarks by GEN (Global Entrepreneurship Network) President Jonathan Ortmans, followed by remarks by Dr. Ruben Simonyan, RA Deputy Minister of High-Tech Industry. Dr. Michael Kouchakdjian, Director of EPIC, delivered the National Organizer’s remarks, emphasizing the significance of entrepreneurship in driving innovation and economic growth in Armenia. We were thrilled to have Narek Ghazaryan, the CCO of AUA, as our Master of Ceremonies, who expertly guided us through the exciting pitches and networking sessions. The event then proceeded with pitches from five idea-stage startups, followed by a short networking session, and finally pitches from five early-stage startups.

Serving on the National Finals jury were Ruben Simonyan, Deputy Minister of High-Tech Industry; Karén Gulbudaghyan, Executive Board Member of the National Council for Science and Technology Development and Ambassador & Key Advisor at UC Berkeley, SkyDeck; Grigor Hovhannisyan, Partner at Formula VC, President at BANA Angels; Beniamin Gyurjyan, Director of EPAM Yerevan; and Aram Pakhchanian, Chairman of the Board at Ayb Foundation.

The announcement of the three prizes by FAST Foundation and STAN (Science and Technology Angels Network) was made, followed by the invitation of their representatives to hand over the prizes. Subsequently, there was an announcement for the two prizes by Rooqet & InnWork, with their representative Suren Matevosyan invited to present the prizes. Lastly, Hayk Yesayan, the Co-founder and General Director of Team Telecom Armenia, was invited to present special awards to the winning startups.

The national stage of the competition has been held for the third year in a row with the support of Team Telecom Armenia. The company's CEO, Hayk Yesayan, as a technology partner, presented awards to the members of the three winning teams and emphasized the role of startups, stating, "This competition is a great opportunity for Armenian startups not only to present themselves on international platforms but also to attract large investments for the development of their businesses. I am glad that our company supports this important initiative. Startups can become a driving force for the economic development of our country, and we should encourage and support them in every possible way. I congratulate and wish success to the winning teams on the global stage."

The first team announced to advance to the global stage was Archestr, the only early-stage startup among the winners. Archestr is a SaaS platform that streamlines the design-to-construction process, enhancing workflows for building designers, general contractors, and suppliers. They already have a paying user base and customers worldwide.

Next was MAquaponics. They design and install systems that convert animal manure into organic fertilizer. The nutrient-rich fertilizers are suitable for hydroponic setups, drip irrigation, and traditional agriculture.

Their co-founder and Ponic Systems Engineer, Melineh Bilbul, who delivered the pitch mentions that this win reaffirms the significance of their work for Armenia's future and the broader field of green agriculture. “It motivates us to continue progressing and take our efforts to the next level in the competition, helping us to elevate our startup to greater heights.”

Finally, the third winner was Nomiq, a web-based low-code platform for backend development. This startup revolutionizes cost optimization and accelerates time-to-market for complex solutions by automating code generation and enabling rapid idea-to-application conversion. Nomiq allows businesses to focus on defining their processes, with the platform handling technical details, powered by AI and the team's extensive expertise in developing large-scale solutions.

“This was our startup's first public pitch, and winning this competition has given us extra drive and determination to move forward and succeed. It has also brought a sense of added responsibility to live up to the expectations and trust placed in us!” says Tatev Avagyan, co-founder and CEO of Nomiq.

EWC received a competitive pool of around 60 applications for this year's competition. From these, GEN's international jury committee had the challenging task of selecting 10 startups to advance to the National Finals.

This is the third year of organizing EWC competitions in Armenia. Thanks to the exceptional organization and high level of participation, GEN has granted Armenia an additional spot for representing startups on the global stage. This year, three startups will advance compared to two in previous years.

The journey for the EWC Armenia 2024 national winners continues with preparations for the global stage. The EWC Global Finals, slated for early December 2024 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, mark the culmination of a year-long quest to identify some of the world’s most promising startups. This multi-day event features a series of pitches and offers unparalleled opportunities to engage with investors from across the globe.

The timeline for the EWC journey includes the selection of the EWC 250 on September 1. The EWC Virtual Bootcamp will take place from late September to early October (final dates to be confirmed), with the selection of the EWC 100 set for October 15th. The EWC Top 100 represents the most promising startups from around the world, chosen to advance further in the competition and compete for the top prizes at the Global Finals.

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