Tourism Innovation Academy
17 January 2021 - yerevan

…This program is currently in progress…

What is the Tourism Innovation Academy?

The EU4Business supported Tourism Innovation Academy has a goal of boosting early-stage tourism-related startups in their entrepreneurship journey. By nurturing innovative startup businesses, this project will support them in their pursuit of becoming scalable, profitable, sustainable and impactful enterprises. 

The Tourism Innovation Academy implemented by the Tourism Support Center Foundation and funded by the EU4Business “Innovative Tourism and Technology Development for Armenia” Project, in cooperation with Impact Hub Yerevan will drive innovation in the tourism sector and promote purpose-driven entrepreneurs by equipping them with relevant skills, knowledge, access to networks and increasing their capabilities to compete in national and global markets.

Call For Concept

The Tourism Innovation Academy (TIA) is proud to announce this Call for Concept, encouraging you to apply with your innovative ideas to participate in its 3-month Tourism Start-up Incubation Program

TIA is searching for innovative and sustainable tourism-related ideas that tackle economic, social and environmental challenges in the tourism sector, with emphasis on the regions of Lori, Shirak and Tavush. 

If you have an idea that…

  • is new to the market,
  • is new to the region (Lori, Shirak, Tavush), 
  • applies a new business model,
  • uses new technological, marketing, organizational or product/service delivery methods, 

…and contributes to the following areas/directions/activities of innovative tourism development:

  • Innovative technology-based solutions to drive digital transformation and to develop smart products based on AR/VR solutions, artificial intelligence, etc.
  • Technologies optimizing business processes, improving business management systems and e-commerce platforms, further dealing with digital inclusion, tourism gamification, open data, interactive maps, etc.
  • Forward-looking business concepts contributing to the development of Winter tourism, Eco and Adventure tourism, Wine and Culinary tourism, but also other directions
  • Thematic accommodation
  • Integration of local produce and delicacies
  • Approaches to facilitate accessible and inclusive tourism 
  • Solutions focusing on social impact and/or rural development
  • Business concepts dealing with environmental topics, energy efficiency, cleantech solutions, green and sustainable approaches, circular economy etc.
  • Solutions that address the negative consequences of the Covid-19 Pandemic and Post-Conflict situation for the tourism industry

we encourage you to apply. 

Who Can Apply?

This call is open for applicants from all over Armenia, proposed projects and ideas, though, should contribute to the development of innovative tourism in one or several of Armenia’s three northern regions of Lori, Shirak, Tavush.

Women-led start-ups and/or gender-balanced teams are encouraged to apply. Further, and to assure broad inclusiveness, active participation of entrepreneurial talents who have limited access to resources, incl. persons with special needs, youth, persons in refugee-like situations and persons from marginalized communities and/or rural and/or remote areas, are also strongly encouraged.

We consider the applications of:

  • Idea-stage start-up teams (registered or planning to register as a private business entity if awarded a EU4Business ITTD grant at a later stage) 
  • Newly created/early-stage enterprises 
  • Existing SMEs with growth potential
  • Social enterprises registered as a private business entity

What’s in it for the participants?

By participating in our Tourism Start-up Incubation Program, you will be given the opportunity to 

  • Get access to workshops, one-on-one mentorship sessions, talks with guest speakers/industry thought leaders. 
  • Gain the necessary entrepreneurship knowledge on various areas of business development, such as business modeling, value proposition, branding, storytelling, which will be prioritized based on a needs assessment and respectively developed curriculum.
  • Actively participate in facilitated networking events with a community of 200+ creative Impact Hub innovators from Armenia and around the world and build fruitful partnerships.
  • Become a member of one of Armenia’s inspiring coworking spaces at Impact Hub Yerevan, Vanadzor Technology Center or Gyumri Technology Center during the Incubation Program. 
  • Learn more on pitch deck design and proposal writing skills in preparation for the EU4Business “Innovative Tourism for Armenia” Project’s upcoming grant schemes, synchronized with the Incubation Program.

Apply for EU4Business ITTD grants, with higher chances of being selected and if awarded, to get access to further and tailored startup support through an 8-month Pre-acceleration and Acceleration Program towards the successful implementation of your project.

Selection Process

Up to 45 start-up teams will be selected for participation in the Incubation Program based on the following selection process:

2. The first stage of shortlisting by the Project team based on admin and eligibility requirements.

2. The second stage of shortlisting by the Jury members based on:

a. team composition and individual team members’ track record (30%) 

b. level of innovativeness and competitiveness (20%) 

c. social impact and inclusiveness (15%)

d. sustainability of business models (20%)

e. feasibility and commercial potential of the idea (15%) 

3. Final selection: The finalists will be selected by Jury members based on short videos provided by applicants as part of the application. 

A minimum 30% of the selected start-up projects will be reserved for women-led teams.

Winning teams will be notified in writing in April 2021. 

The Jury’s decision is final. Legal recourse is excluded.

In case of being selected, the teams must commit to pursue their initiative as a top priority (i.e. with at least 60% of their time) and commit to participating in at least 60% of programs, events and community activities offered in the frame of the TIA’s Incubation Program.

Key Dates

  • Application deadline: March 21, 2021 (23:59 Yerevan Time)


This project is made possible thanks to EU4Business “Innovative Tourism for Armenia” implemented by GIZ Armenia, Tourism Support Center in cooperation with Impact Hub Yerevan. The EU4Business “Innovative Tourism and Technology Development for Armenia’’ project 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 and TVET South Caucasus Programme.  The project is part of the EU4Business initiative of the European Union.

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Brought to you by EU4Business, GIZ, the Tourism Innovation Academy, Impact Hub Yerevan and the Tourism Support Center.