17:42, 20 December, 2021
YEREVAN, DECEMBER 20, ARMENPRESS. The official closing ceremony summarizing the results of the UNDP Revive Deep Tech Accelerator program implemented by the Foundation for Armenian Science and Technology (FAST) took place in Yerevan on December 20. The purpose of the accelerator was to develop the capacity of local and foreign startups and expand their current activities into developing assistive technologies to improve the quality of life of persons with disabilities.
Revive Veteran Support Program is the project of the UNDP’s ImpactAim Ventures Accelerator was implemented by the Foundation for Armenian Science and Technology (FAST). he Ministry of Labor, Social Affairs was the partner of the project.
Eighteen (18) startups from seven countries, including Armenian companies, applied for Revive, with twelve (12) participating in the five-week acceleration program.Through FAST’s program, they refined their solutions, got acquainted with the procedure of entering the local and international markets, obtaining the necessary health certificates, and received advice on other areas of business development.
The winners were announced during the closing ceremony and are four (4) companies from Armenia, Iran, and the United States. Armenian AIP Tech startup received a grant of $7,000, the other three - Key2enable, Sheral, and oqni - received a grant of $2,000 each.
RA Minister of Labor and Social Affairs Narek Mkrtchyan, emphasized that the goal of the program is to support all the startups that aim to facilitate and improve the life of persons with disabilities by the means of innovative technologies. "The improvement of the life quality of persons with disabilities, as well as the ensurrance of internal development is one of the priorities of the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs. In order to achieve this goal, during the recent years we have initiated a number of reforms to develop, implement, strengthen policies and programs which aim to attain availability of assistive technologies and create more accessible conditions for persons with disabilities," the Minister noted.
According to certain estimates, by 2030, that number could reach two billion. "The good news is that technological development allows us to provide assistive technologies to all of those persons with disabilities. And our commitment is to reach out to the technological companies to make sure that this people enjoy dignified life", said UNDP Resident Representative in Armenia.
Natia Natsvlishvili expressed her gratitude to her colleagues and participating startups, hoping it was a solid and rewarding experience for them.
Suzanna Shamakhyan, Vice President for Strategic Programs of the Foundation for Armenian Science and Technology (FAST), noted that the program was successful due to strong partnerships: "We attach great importance to cooperation with the government and international partners to enable systemic development of science and technology in Armenia. This is the second project we are implementing with UNDP, with the AgriTech Accelerator established at Armenian National Agrarian University already demonstrating its successes".
According to Suzanna Shamakhyan, Armenia being in the crossroads of several markets has a great potential to become an innovation hub not only for local, but also foreign growth-stage startups. It is noteworthy that it was attempted to organize such a soft-landing program for foreign startups. "One of the important components of the program is that local and foreign companies develop solutions to invest in Armenia, develop, and get an opportunity to enter other international markets in the future, including the Eurasian Union countries, European Union, and Middle East," Suzanna Shamakhyan added.
The winning startups presented their technological solutions and the prospects of applying them in Armenia via video during the event.
Revive is a part of a larger UNDP Veterans Support Program under the UNDP Tech2Life Auxiliary Technologies for Self-Sufficiency.
About the winning startups of Revive program
AIP Tech is an Armenian implant startup that uses a 3D printer to produce biodegradable, bioactive adapted implants.
The startup will receive a $ 7,000 grant from Revive to start the patent application process.
oqni is an Armenian startup producing artificial limb prostheses based on artificial intelligence, providing integrated rehabilitation assistance.
The Revive will receive a $ 2,000 grant from the Revive program to provide professional assistance in obtaining the necessary certification.
Sheral is an Iranian company that produces lower limb prostheses using carbon fiber.
The Revive will receive a $ 2,000 grant from the Revive program to provide professional support and certification assistance.
Key2enable is an American startup that offers innovative digital access tools that help with communication, learning, and inclusion.
The Revive startup will receive a $ 2,000 grant for certification to receive professional support for ethical testing of their products.