Developing next generation solutions to connect Armenia & Diaspora

What is the GovTech Launchpad Project?

The GovTech Launchpad aims at co-creating innovative solutions for public sector challenges through cooperation between startups and the public sector.

This project will bring tech start-ups and the public sector together in a mutually beneficial innovation process, in which tech solutions for public challenges or problems are developed in a co-creative manner. 

The project is an international pilot initiative by GIZ in cooperation with Impact Hub Yerevan, and The Office of High Commissioner of Diaspora Affairs, at the Prime Minister’s Office of the Government of Armenia (RA).

The Challenge

The Office of the High Commissioner for Diaspora Affairs strives to provide the best public service delivery for the Armenian Diaspora in the world, as well as the repatriates who move to live in their homeland Armenia. 

Through this project, innovative startups are invited to offer tech solutions* that would:

  1. Support the processes for diasporans intending to move to Armenia 
  2. Support the needs of repatriates within Armenia 

*The proposed solutions can address one or both objectives together and can be profit-generating or non-profit solutions.

Target Groups

The direct target groups to be served by this innovative tech solutions are: 

  • The Armenian Repatriates, and Expats
  • The Armenian Diaspora 
  • The public sector

Who is it for?

  • Existing tech startups, operating inside Armenia or anywhere in the world 
  • The teams should have experience in developing innovative tech solutions 
  • If selected, the teams should allocate the time to commit to this project until the end period and pitching the tech solution in November 2020

What’s in it for the participants?

The project offers Impact Hub’s unique ecosystem, including:

  • professional individual coaching
  • mentorship by entrepreneurs/professionals in their area of practice
  • membership at Impact Hub Yerevan with access to an inspiring space & infrastructure
  • peer-to-peer learning component and professional networking through facilitated events with a community of 250+ creative innovators
  • access to 100+ Impact Hubs around the world
  • learning curriculum including training sessions and workshops on GovTech industry, Business, Technology and Impact.

Moreover,

  • The participants will have the opportunity to innovate and develop tech solutions for the government of Armenia as well as the Armenian diaspora, and repatriates
  • Maintain the IP of their developed products and potentially scale it internationally
  • Create a long-term partnership with the Office of Diaspora
  • Each of the 4 selected teams will receive financial support to develop their solutions

Key Dates

  • Application Deadline: August 31, 11:59 pm
  • Introduction Event – August 2020
  • 2.5 days Bootcamp and Awards Ceremony – Early September 2020
  • Up to 3 months Acceleration Period – September-November 2020
  • Final Pitch Event – November 2020

Impact Hub Yerevan’s Govtech Launchpad Program Mentors

Raffi Kassarjian

Raffi Kassarjian is the Executive Director at UATE. Previously, he was Senior Vice President, IoT at TeamViewer GmbH, and CEO of Monitis. Before joining TeamViewer, Raffi served as the Head of Product Management, Marketing, and Retail Banking Services for Converse Bank. Raffi also served as CEO of iCON Communications, Armenia’s first broadband wireless service provider, acquired by UCom in 2011. Prior to moving to Armenia, Raffi served as Vice President and General Manager at Fair Isaac Corporation (NYSE:FICO), where he launched the company’s first internet service. Raffi was also a Senior Manager in the Strategic Services Group at Accenture. Raffi is Chairman of the Board of Repat Armenia Foundation and holds Board positions at Impact Hub Yerevan and EVN Report. Raffi has a BA in International Relations and an MBA from Stanford University.

Acacia Polatian

Acacia Polatian is an expert at the Office of the High Commissioner for Diaspora Affairs. Prior to joining the government of Armenia, she has led various humanitarian and development programs at local and international organizations. She continues to consult with various organizations on project proposal development, program management cycle, monitoring, and evaluation and serves as a workshop instructor and mentor for impact management and measurement.

Sahag Mahrejian

Sahag started his career in Management Consultancy after moving to the Kingdom of Bahrain from Montreal Canada, where he received his MBA in management from Concordia University. Having the opportunity to manage many large-scale projects in the Gulf region, soon he was heading the Business Advisory division of BDO Consulting Bahrain. During his tenure, he managed various projects in the fields of Large Ship Repair, Formula One Circuit, Healthcare, and Municipal services, consulting on the topics of Digital Transformation and Strategy (Ministry of Health Bahrain), Business Processes reengineering (Arab Ship Repair Yard), Human resources restructuring (Bahrain International Circuit), and Business Processes (Northern Area Municipality). After opening his own consulting business, he managed various projects in the region (Qatar, Lebanon, and Jordan), in the fields of Business Development, Third Party Healthcare insurance, and Digital Transformation. He was given the opportunity to head the e-Governance Development Program of Armenia in 2017, where the transition strategy was completed and regulatory change work was underway. At present, he is serving in the Office of the Prime Minister, along the lines of Strategy development, with the intention of aligning strategies towards a large-scale growth.

Nareg Soghomonian

Nareg’s startup journey begin in 2009 after departing from Apple Computers with the deployment of his startup Entrance Studios, a digital marketing agency. Through Entrance Studios Nareg collaborated with nearly 20 different types of early to mid-level startup companies and non profits. His journey in the Armenian IT sector began in 2012 upon his first work related visit – in this trip he had a chance to further understand the tech landscape here as well as mentor and advise startup companies. To date, Nareg has co-founded, partnered, mentored and advised Armenian founded startup companies in and out of Armenia. His areas of expertise include user interface design, research and development, team development, developing pitch decks and coaching founders on how to pitch to investors. In 2019 Nareg officially repatriated to Armenia where he’s the business developer for the software development company Preezma.

Gevorg Poghosyan

Senior Consultant and Head of the Business Support Office since 2012, Gevorg Poghosyan started his career in a local commercial bank in 2007 and later, in 2009, joined the Inspection Reform Team at the RA Ministry of Economy, where he led the regulatory reform project. Gevorg is specialized in the coordination of the consultants’ teamwork on business reforms mainly related to SMEs. Gevorg has a background education of Finance and Credit Faculty at the Armenian State University of Economics, 2003-2008 and later Ph.D. in Economics at NAS Economy Institute 2008-2010.

Sargis Karapetyan

Sargis is the CEO and Co-Founder at Embry Tech, where he managed to gather a 14-member team with his co-founders and raised more than $0.5M funding from VCs, Angels, and international organizations. During the last 3 years, Embry Tech won several awards, including the 1st place at WCIT2019 during Lightning Rounds. Prior to Embry Tech, Sargis has co-founded another tech company and held various engineering positions in the Armenian branches of Silicon Valley-based startups.