EPIC Welcomes 13 New Startups Into Fall Incubation Program

YEREVAN, Armenia — On September 24, the Entrepreneurship and Product Innovation Center (EPIC) of the American University of Armenia (AUA) welcomed the 13 new startups accepted into its Incubation Program. The fall 2022 batch is EPIC’s 11th and was the most competitive in terms of applicants and number of teams admitted to the program since its founding in 2017.

The EPIC Incubation Program is an intensive, 15-week program that enables startups to validate their business ideas, identify customers and competitors, formulate their value proposition, and begin to build their business models. The program accepts two cohorts each spring and fall. For the first time this fall, a couple of teams flowed into the Incubator Program from STRIVE, EPIC’s pre-incubation program that serves as a conduit enabling individuals to develop an entrepreneurial mindset and equipping them with the knowledge and skills to initiate a new startup idea.

“In this batch, we have a record number of 13 teams,” remarked EPIC Operations and Community Manager Anna Khachatryan. “EPIC is becoming more popular as the incubator of choice for Armenian startups. Therefore, we always strive to select the best teams to nurture their potential and ensure the diversity of startup ideas. Every year, the applicant teams are more developed and motivated than in the prior year, which is a positive indicator of the progression of the ecosystem overall. This fall, only 25% of all applicants were accepted into the program, with the majority of them coming from outside AUA.”

EPIC curates its program carefully. For every new batch, it modifies and enhances the program to better fit the needs and requirements of the startups and Armenian ecosystem in general. Thus, for the 11th batch this fall, EPIC made several pivotal adjustments to the program. Among those is the improved program structure and EPIC’s emphasis on the component of customer discovery and development. This will allow the startups to better segment their markets and focus on what customers truly need and want. The program also added a new component in budgeting, planning, and forecasting. Most importantly, the revised program will allow startups to have more networking opportunities with advisors, mentors, and industry experts thanks to a new, online mentoring platform EPIC is piloting this fall to streamline mentor selection and engagement. The teams have already started their journey and participated in three workshops. EPIC is excited to see the unfolding of entrepreneurial talent in each team.

“We are very excited about the teams in the current cohort,” adds Assistant Director of EPIC Nejdeh Hovanessian. “We have a diverse group of startup founders with interesting career backgrounds and experiences. Over half of our residents are from other universities, which demonstrates that our focused effort to reach beyond AUA students and alumni are starting to yield fruits.”

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.