The ‘Empowering Regions through High-Tech Forum’ has been held for the second year in Gyumri, Armenia’s second largest city from 7-8 December, with the support of the EU4Business SMEDA project. The event gathered around 200 young people and specialists from all regions of Armenia engaged in high-tech, start-ups and innovation.
During the two days, participants shared experiences, presented their start-ups and companies, established new connections, and learned from guest speakers about new developments in the global IT and high-tech sectors.
The forum was attended by a number of high-ranking officials, including Acting Deputy Prime Minister Tigran Avinyan, Head of EU Delegation to Armenia, Ambassador Piotr Switalski, German Ambassador to Armenia Matthias Kiesler, and acting Armenian Minister of Transport, Communication and Information Technologies Hakob Arshakyan. All of them emphasised the significance of the forum for the equal development of regions of Armenia and for increasing regional competitiveness.
“The government plans to maximise its efforts in supporting the existing high-tech centres in regions and encourage the creation of new ones, as regional development is a strategic priority for Armenia,” said Tigran Avinyan, Acting Deputy Prime Minister.
In his speech, the Head of the EU Delegation to Armenia, Ambassador Piotr Świtalski said a knowledge- and innovation-based economy for the regions was a driver for economic growth and development. “In this regard concerted efforts are needed by all stakeholders to drive the innovation agenda forward across Armenia,” the Ambassador said.
In addition, a number of panel discussions were held on:
- Local entrepreneurship ecosystem level-up;
- International business challenges in the regions;
- Technology’s impact on non-tech industries.
The forum was supported by the EU-SMEDA project for the second year and organised in partnership with the Enterprise Incubator Foundation and Gyumri Technology Centre.
The EU4Business SMEDA project supports the improvement of the business and investment climate for SMEs in Armenia. It aims to strengthen the private sector, support SME coordination mechanisms, and foster links between research institutions and the private sector, as well as providing access to finance for SMEs.