The Entrepreneurship and Product Innovation Center (EPIC) at AUA is a platform for promoting entrepreneurial education, cross-disciplinary collaboration, and startup venture incubation. The mission of EPIC is to foster the understanding and application of entrepreneurship with students and faculty at AUA to craft high-impact multidisciplinary ventures.
At a Glance:
I-Hub: Entrepreneurship and Product Innovation Center (EPIC)
Location: American University of Armenia, Armenia
Startups: 132 entrepreneurs in 44 startups helped.
Sectors: No limitations, EPIC accepts early-stage startups from all sectors.
A Closer Look at EPIC:
The Entrepreneurship and Product Innovation Center (EPIC) at AUA is a platform for promoting entrepreneurial education, cross-disciplinary collaboration, and start-up venture incubation. EPIC aims to develop knowledgeable, efficient, and experienced entrepreneurs to address the needs of Armenia and the world beyond. EPIC provides an ecosystem for AUA’s emerging entrepreneurs, consisting of first-class facilities and collaborative workspaces, programs and events, and a network of mentors, advisors, and investors. Teams made up of AUA students and outside entrepreneurs compete to enter EPIC where they receive further entrepreneurial incubation, education, mentorship, and other resources to grow and advance their start-ups. EPIC also sponsors lectures, start-up conferences, hackathons, and maintains a sophisticated prototyping laboratory in the basement of AUA’s main building.
The mission of EPIC is to foster the understanding and application of entrepreneurship with students and faculty at AUA to craft high-impact multidisciplinary ventures.
The Center was funded by the USAID’s Office of American Schools and Hospitals Abroad (ASHA) and by an AUA benefactor, Ms. Sara Chitjian who has generously established an endowment for EPIC.
The startup ecosystem in Armenia is very young - less than 4 years old. However, it is developing rapidly. EPIC has numerous incubators, accelerators, angel funds, VCs, etc. There are considerable interaction with programs, entrepreneurs, and institutions outside of the country.
AUA EPIC is the only university-based incubator in Armenia.
EPIC Demo Day in February and June
The event offered a platform for new EPIC startups to present their ventures to investors, mentors, accelerators, as well as AUA faculty, students, alumni, and supporters.
Silicon Valley Industry Trek in June
During a ten-day tour of Silicon Valley in June 2019, the students were able to experience the global center of technology, innovation, investment, and social media, meet with cutting-edge technology companies, network with other entrepreneurs, and participate in workshops and seminars with world leaders in sectors such as business and the tech ecosystem. The group visited high-profile, cutting-edge companies such as Google, Amazon, Facebook, PayPal, and Nvidia as well as fast-emerging companies like Doordash, Eat Club, EyeQue, Pinterest, and Parkstash. They also had meetings at Silicon Valley’s leading startup incubators, including UC Berkeley SkyDeck and Draper University.
Create up pre-incubation summer program in August
The program was designed to help participants understand the entrepreneurial mindset and journey, further their new ideas towards validation, and help them build a stronger team culture. This program also provided an environment for idea generation and validation by offering structured mentorship, guided advice, and pitching opportunities in order to help the participants become better candidates for future incubation.