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Empowering Future Entrepreneurs: EPIC Launches STRIVE for the Fall Semester

YEREVAN, Armenia — On October 13, the STRIVE pre-incubation program of Entrepreneurship and Product Innovation Center (EPIC) of the American University of Armenia (AUA) welcomed forty new participants to its fall 2022 cohort. The revised STRIVE program contains updates and new content very beneficial to participants.

The STRIVE pre-incubation program is an intensive, 10-week program that aims to transform the mindset of individuals (whether interested in entrepreneurship or not) by delineating, exploring, and experimenting with fundamental concepts of entrepreneurial thinking and innovation. Inspired by the Ice House Entrepreneurship Program of Entrepreneurial Learning Initiative (USA), STRIVE’s problem-based methodology is designed to encourage participants to apply what they have learned in real-world situations of resource limitations and uncertainty. 

STRIVE’s opening day kicked off at the AUA faculty lounge, where participants had the chance to meet one another and network. Alisa Chalakhyan, program lead for STRIVE, welcomed participants, encouraging them to think strategically about their goals and dream big. “A future venture co-founder might be among us in this room!” she announced. The participants were introduced to the STRIVE curriculum in great detail and engaged in games and activities designed to foster collaboration, commitment, and creativity. 

“STRIVE is a new addition to EPIC’s entrepreneurial programs. We learned quite a lot from our inaugural program that was concluded in July. Based on that experience, we decided to expand the program while narrowing down the batch size to target those who we think can benefit the most from the program. This time, we had three times as many applicants as last semester, with a 25% acceptance rate of which 65% are female. Our youngest participant is a very impressive 16-year-old high school student. Many of those accepted into the program are repatriates. Participants come from diverse backgrounds, adding a rich perspective to the STRIVE fall batch. Moreover, we’ve been seeing expanded interest across all of EPIC’s entrepreneurship programs, which is very exciting,” remarked Chalakhyan.

“STRIVE has proven to be an excellent starting point for non-entrepreneurs to get exclusive insight into the Armenian startup ecosystem, meet local entrepreneurs, and advance their knowledge and network. We believe participants will find the STRIVE experience efficient and eye-opening”, noted Sona Martirosyan, program assistant of STRIVE. Sona is new to STRIVE and has extensive experience in the creation and adaptation of educational programs and materials. One of her roles will be to transform and translate the program from English to Armenian, in preparation for the eventual rollout of STRIVE to non-English speakers in the country. She has worked in education, research, and content management and participated in the adaptation of TED original content, the Drone EduLab educational program, the Startup Armenia Foundation’s Startup Club, and Startup School programs. 

The Entrepreneurship and Product Innovation Center (EPIC) is a platform of the American University of Armenia (AUA) for promoting entrepreneurial education, cross-disciplinary collaboration, and startup venture incubation. EPIC provides an ecosystem for emerging entrepreneurs consisting of first-class facilities and collaborative workspace, programs and events, and a network of mentors, advisors, and investors. EPIC fosters the understanding and application of entrepreneurship in students and faculty at AUA to craft high-impact multidisciplinary ventures.