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EPIC Introduces Mentors to Spring Startup Teams

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YEREVAN, Armenia — On March 16, 2022, the Entrepreneurship and Product Innovation Center (EPIC) of the American University of Armenia (AUA) organized an event to introduce potential mentors to Spring 2022 startup incubator teams. Mentors play a critical role in the EPIC incubation program. At the start of each new batch, EPIC matches experienced entrepreneurs and business professionals with the admitted idea-stage startup teams to support them throughout their entrepreneurial journey in the program. 

Through the EPIC mentorship, the teams receive strategic guidance to validate their ideas and proceed to gradually building their business models as well as their contact networks. Mentors assist startup teams to explore strategies, tackle problems, and discover markets while connecting them with networks and offering constructive criticism and helpful tips. EPIC carefully matches the mentors with teams according to their interests, experience, and industry domain. Startup teams also have the opportunity to express their preferences with respect to the qualities they are seeking in their potential mentor. 

Since adding mentoring onto the incubation program, EPIC has expanded the pool of local and international mentors available to the teams to over sixty. The list comprises seasoned entrepreneurs, AUA professors, ecosystem business professionals, and consultants from companies such as Krisp, Synergy International Systems, Denovo Sciences, GoodCredit UCO CJSC, StartupBenefits, Stamina Sales Outsourcing Company, Staff.am, HireBee.ai, Viciniti, ClimateLaunchpad, PAteam, and Global Entrepreneurship Network.

Luiza Avetisyan, founder of staff.am, Armenia’s largest digital staffing company and a Berkeley Skydeck alumna, is excited about the opportunity to mentor and believes that “The best thing about being a mentor is bringing a positive impact on other people’s lives. I feel that EPIC is doing a great job nurturing the next generation of tech startups in Armenia, and I am absolutely honored to be a small part of that. For me, this is an ideal opportunity to give back to the community that once helped me to succeed.”

“It’s a privilege to share the knowledge and the experience one gathers in years, as much as it’s a privilege to have the opportunity to learn. EPIC enables both of these, for experienced professionals in industry as well as for the newcomers,” posits Khachik Badeyan, AUA adjunct lecturer and senior product manager at Synergy International Systems.

“Mentorship is one of the most critical components of the EPIC incubation program. We have mentors from Armenia and overseas working with our teams and every year new mentors are joining in, bringing with them fresh ideas and industry know-how. The mentors in this 10th cohort are engaged in entrepreneurship, product development, financial planning, innovation management, and other specialties. As our mentors like to state, being an EPIC mentor is very inspiring for them, as it is their way to give back to the community. They enjoy being around young entrepreneurs and provide them with guidance that can potentially lead to success,” noted Anna Khachatryan, EPIC operations and community manager.

This Spring, twelve mentors will be supporting the teams throughout the program, helping to guide them with meeting potential customers and developing their concepts. Mentors meet with their startup teams a minimum of twice a month to share knowledge, give advice, and help them access other resources. They will also be involved in the later stages of the program to review the other teams’ lean canvases and offer feedback. 

Vahagn Ghazaryan, founder and CEO of Stamina, a sales outsourcing company, shared his impressions of the mentor-matching event: “The startup ideas that I heard from the groups were very impressive, and I am sure some of them will have a great future if they work hard and come up with smart solutions.” 

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.