More than 200 young people gathered in Gyumri on November 23-24, 2019 to participate in “Empowering Regions through High-Tech” two-day forum.

Held in Gyumri Technology Center (GTC), the forum was organized by Enterprise Incubator Foundation and Gyumri Technology Centre in partnership with the Government of Armenia, Gyumri Municipality and the “Support to SME Development in Armenia’’ (EU-SMEDA) project, which is co-funded by the European Union and the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and implemented by German Development Cooperation GIZ through the Private Sector Development in South Caucasus Programme.

The forum was aimed at uniting young people from all Armenian regions, local and national government representatives, higher educational institutions, as well as representatives of the private sector and international organizations to discuss the current strategy and challenges of creation and development of innovative educational and business environments in high-tech and related disciplines.

This year the forum focused on creation of unique regional higher educational models in Armenia in partnership with international organizations and universities as a priority for regional economic empowerment and development.

The forum kicked off on November 23 with opening speeches by high-ranking officials. Hakob Arshakyan. Minister of high-tech industry, Tigran Petrosyan, Governor of Shirak Province, Bagrat Yengibaryan, Director Enterprise Incubator Foundation and Eva Maria Naeher, Team Leader to Support to SME Development in Armenia Project delivered opening speeches.

The opening part was followed by 3 panel discussions. During “Young professionals in large tech companies: opportunities and challenges” panel, the speakers presented the role of women in the Armenian tech ecosystem and the challenges they face.

Special emphasis was put on local and international projects and initiatives implemented in Yerevan and the regions, which are aimed at constantly increasing the involvement of young people in the tech ecosystem.

The second panel, “Tech Development in the regions: Priorities and Challenges”, was moderated by Eva Maria Naeher, Team Leader to Support to SME Development in Armenia Project. The panel highlighted the role of the Shirak region as a pioneer of innovation and the success stories it has had until now.

The speakers of the panel emphasized the need for increasing the role of education, as well as technological solutions in other sectors of the economy. Special emphasis was given to the new vision of the Armenian government in the development of the industrial IT sector in the scope of establishing communication between the regions.

During the third panel called “Higher Education, as an important prerequisite for tech developments in the regions”, the speakers presented the achievements and shortcomings of the current modern IT education system.

The participants prioritized the importance of introducing new educational programs in higher education institutions and schools, which will allow preparing qualified professionals meeting the requirements of the 21st century. The entire essence of the discussion mainly concerned the creation of a modern ecosystem through the support of students and lecturers.

During the second day of the forum, Armenian and international experts led workshops for the participants. In addition, business leaders shared their success stories with the attendees.

Throughout the years, Enterprise Incubator Foundation (EIF) is actively promoting Regional Decentralization and development of science and technology in the regions. “Empowering Regions through High-Tech” was part of the efforts that the foundation is making in order to share the success of Gyumri, where high-tech strategy is already being implemented, with participants from other regions, in order to encourage them to join efforts in developing their home towns.