We’ve had an exciting 3 months, working with over 40 participating innovative ideas. The EU-supported Tourism Innovation Academy has been active since the end of April, providing our participants with a very unique learning experience at the Impact Hub Yerevan space.
Throughout this time, each participant has not only been provided with valuable insight and know-how in their field but a great opportunity to build a professional network, exchange ideas and inspire one another! We are confident that the strong connections that were formed in this time will prove to be a valuable asset as they go forward and develop their projects further.
We are very grateful to our expert workshop leaders, each of whom was able to pass on their unique set of skills, perspectives and expertise to our participants. Among them were Varant Topalian with his Sales and Marketing in Hospitality workshop, Karen Sargsyan who led an in-depth Proposal Writing workshop, Nazareth Seferian who gave a series of training sessions in addition to the 2-day workshop on Business Strategy and Jesús Lozano who taught a series of workshops that covered topics such as “From Individual to Entrepreneur,” “Identifying the Hypotheses of Your Business,” and “Customer Discovery and Validation.”
The TIA team conducted a one-on-one meeting with each of the participants, to better understand what stage they were currently in, what their immediate needs were as well as their weaknesses. This was done to better analyze the needs of each team and to accurately match them with the appropriate mentor.
Mentorship took place throughout the 3-month incubation period. Each mentor and mentee had met for at least 15 hours. They set their goals together, discussed the needs of the mentee and how the mentor can contribute best to the project. Mentors additionally supported their mentees with the grant proposal writing process. Our pool of mentors included both national and international representatives, from the startup community and travel/tourism industry to experts in travel tech. We were also fortunate to have the opportunity to tap into the global Impact Hub community to find mentors for our participants who didn’t have any issues with the English language.
This intense incubation program truly armed our participants with the necessary tools and knowledge for taking their projects to the next level. These three months have been nothing short of eye-opening, as we learned, developed and grew together, bringing us closer to a flourishing innovative tourism ecosystem.
Our participants have been tackling challenges head-on with an unbelievable level of enthusiasm and excitement. The incubation program culminated with a final pitching event that took place at Impact Hub Yerevan over the course of two days. During this event, they pitched their business ideas to jury members both in-person and online in the Tourism Innovation Academy’s first-ever hybrid event of its kind.
Among our esteemed guests were representatives of the Tourism Committee and the GIZ Armenia team, with opening speeches provided by Mr. Stanislav Toshkov, Program Manager at EU Delegation and Mr. Wilhelm Hugo, Team Leader of the EU4Business “Innovative Tourism and Technology Development for Armenia” Project.
Members of the Jury included Ms. Armine Israyelyan – Tourism Expert at the GIZ EU-ITTD Project, Ms. Nvard Melkonyan – Advisor at Tourism Committee, Mr. Sevak Hovhannisyan – Partner at CIVITTA Armenia, Ms. Armine Galstyan – Program Director at Hero House, Mr. Suren Mkhitaryan – Expert/consultant in Social Entrepreneurship, Mr. Matthias Beyer – Managing Director at Mascontour, Mr. Tilman Sobek – Chief Executive Officer at Absolut GPS and Mr. Philipp Schaffer – Chief Technology Officer at Absolut GPS. The jury’s decision will make up 5% of the final results, according to which up to 20 initiatives will receive a grant from GIZ!
Each of our participants gave inspiring pitches, and we are certain that the decision to choose the final grantees will be extremely difficult. The journey towards innovative tourism in Armenia still lies ahead, and we are more than pleased to play our part. We wish all of our incubation program participants the best of luck, and look forward to learning and sharing the final results!
The Tourism Innovation Academy project is made possible thanks to the European Union’s EU4Business “Innovative Tourism for Armenia” project, Tourism Support Center and Impact Hub Yerevan. “This publication has been produced with the financial assistance of the European Union. The contents of this publication are the sole responsibility of the EU4Business “Innovative Tourism and Technology Development for Armenia” project and can under no circumstances be regarded as reflecting the position of the European Union.”