Tag Archives: Gyumri Technology Centre

On 17 November Gyumri hosted the two-day “Empowering Regions through High Tech” conference. The conference was organised by the Enterprise Incubator Foundation and Gyumri Technology Centre in partnership with the Armenian government, Shirak Governor, Gyumri Municipality, and the “Support to SME Development in Armenia” (SMEDA) project. SMEDA is co-funded by the European Union and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and implemented by GIZ’s Private Sector Development in the South Caucasus Programme. SMEDA is part of the EU4Business and EU4Innovation initiatives of the European Union.
150 young people from across Armenia with an interest in technological education, engineering, programming and innovation participated in the conference. There were 3 panel discussions: “Business Environment Support”, “Business Mindset Development in the Regions” and “Education Advancement as a Base for the Future of Armenia”. Different IT workshops were also conducted by international and local experts.
The Gyumri Technology Centre, which opened in 2014, aims to increase opportunities for employment through technological education. The main goal is to stop brain drain from Shirak marz to Yerevan and thus boost regional development through technology. The conference organisers believe that other Armenian marzes also have the potential to be stronger and more sustainable through technological empowerment. Using Shirak marz and Gyumri as an example, the conference gave a space to exchange experience with other marzes and motivate young people to get involved in technology. It is hoped that these young people will be inspired to be part of positive change in their own marz instead of migrating to Yerevan, create jobs in the regions, and support the decentralisation of high tech.

ARS_8381Hoa-Binh Adjemian, the Head of the Cooperation section of the EU Delegation in Armenia, spoke of the importance of regional development: ‘It is an honour for me to be in this beautiful city again to confirm the EU’s commitment to equal growth in Armenia. Equal growth means growth in both Yerevan and the regions. Johannes Hahn, the Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, was here a month ago, Lawrence Meredith, the Director of “Neighbourhood East” in the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations, was here a week ago, and we had a very close discussion with the government to concentrate on and to increase support to the Armenian marzes. We are waiting for the guidance from the government to identify marzes for pilot activities’.

ARS_8237Karen Karapetyan, the Armenian Prime Minister, welcomed students and congratulated them on the occasion of International Students’ Day: ‘In Armenia, we have a goal to develop the high-tech field as one of the priorities of our economy; it has great potential for attracting and exporting investments. At the same time, regional and community development is key to Armenia’s economic development vision. The combination of these two can provide the desired result. The Gyumri Technology Centre is a good example of how to establish and develop a company in the marzes that promotes the development of technical and business skills, innovative research and development in the high-tech field, commercialises talent, and transforms it into successful businesses. Over 3 years the Technology Centre has already created about 200 jobs, has about 100 beneficiaries, and is preparing more than 500 specialists annually. There are 25 local and foreign organisations in the centre. Many of them are exporting their solutions outside Armenia. Our citizens, the city and marz benefit from all this, and this process is having a positive effect on the development of our country’s economy’.

On 25 October the Head of the EU Delegation to Armenia, Ambassador Piotr Świtalski, was in Gyumri, Shirak marz, on a working visit. In the morning the Ambassador met the Governor of Shirak, Arthur Khachatryan.

ARS_6983After the meeting, the Ambassador participated in the opening ceremony of an IT incubation laboratory at Gyumri Technology Centre. Microsoft Innovation Centre Armenia opened the IT incubation laboratory as part of the “Boosting Technological Developments in Shirak Marz” project, funded by the European Union and the Armenian Ministry of Territorial Administration and Development. The project aims to support Shirak’s economic development by enrichment of unemployed youth and business development of IT community. This two-year project was launched in December 2016 and has a budget of €750,000.
The incubation laboratory will provide a 5-month coding boot camp in information technologies for unemployed 17- to 35-year-olds living in Shirak. The project will collaborates with local IT companies to identify human resource demands and train junior developers. It will include nearly 200 participants. The first round of training has already been completed, and more than 50 people have sat an intensive training course on programming. Starting from November, they will be sent on coding boot camps by potential employers. The programme expects to have newly trained 90 IT professionals employed at local companies.

ARS_6729Ambassador Świtalski spoke about the importance of informational technologies: ‘There are many reasons to feel happy for this event. Firstly, this is the first and one of the most important projects that we are doing together with the Armenian Ministry of Territorial Administration and Development. It is a part of our joint effort to boost regional development – I am happy to see the results. Secondly, this project is about IT technology, a digital Armenia. We believe that Armenia has big potential, particularly in this field. The EU wants to support all the efforts of the Armenian government and stakeholders. Thirdly, it’s not only about capacity building, it’s about job creation. We hope very much that sub-granting employers could benefit from this lab. Fourthly, it’s about the new generation. We believe in Armenian youth; we want to develop their abilities and to fulfil their aspirations in Armenia itself. Finally, this project is important for its regional focus in Gyumri, Shirak. We want to do more projects in this city and the whole marz’.

ARS_6768The Armenian Minister of Territorial Administration and Development, Davit Lokyan, highlighted the importance of the laboratory: ‘Through this project, we are trying to reduce youth unemployment in Shirak and improve young people’s knowledge and skills in IT, a priority for Armenia today. In Shirak, GDP per capita is the lowest in Armenia and the government has set itself a task to improve the situation by 2025’.

ARS_6752The Director of the Microsoft Innovation Centre Armenia, Artashes Vardanyan, noted that Shirak has huge potential: ‘Shirak has huge human resource potential. The project aims to both expand IT companies and create new workplaces through buildings skills and knowledge among unemployed youth and better positioning in local and international markets’.

After the tour, the project announced the results of a sub-grant opportunity. 7 local IT companies will receive sub-grants of €5000-€10,000 to expand their activities and create new workplaces for project trainees.
Ambassador Świtalski concluded the day by visiting the Emili Aregak Support and Resource Centre for Children and Youth with Disabilities in Gyumri.