Accelerator #5 – Startup Ideas from Girls and Young Women From Across Armenia
UNICEF has teamed up with UNDP in Armenia to support young women and girls to establish their own startups and explore entry-points to the ICT industry.
February 5 was a big day for us – UNICEF joined UNDP and other partners in the closing ceremony of the Accelerator #5 project that brought together over 300 participants online.
What is the Accelerator #5,? Well, in numeric terms, it’s over 300 girls and young women from across Armenia, 10 new startup ideas, 30 weeks of training in programming, business, marketing and business English, 3 winning teams with modest support funds. Long story short - it’s about three kick starting three Armenian startups, and building a broad range of competitive skills for adolescent girls.
The goal of this project implemented by UNDP’s ImpactAim Venture Accelerator and UNICEF, in partnership with the Innovative Solutions and Technology Center and Enterprise Incubator Foundation is to support adolescent girls and young women in Armenia to broaden their entrepreneurial skills, create their startups, and explore entry-points in the ICT industry.
“This is about the future of Armenia, about the power of girls and young women in Armenia. The girls, who had enough courage to overcome obstacles and develop new skills, think of new startups, participate and become the future of the technological movement in Armenia. We are really happy to work with UNICEF and together ensure that every girl and young woman can rely on their technological skills on their path to success and leadership,” said Dmitry Mariyasin, UNDP Resident Representative.
UNICEF Representative Marianne Clark-Hattingh also emphasized that the project, implemented in coordination with representatives of the private sector in Armenia, can play a decisive role in creating more opportunities for adolescent girls who are interested in technology and STEM. “UNICEF believes that every girl and young woman should have the opportunity to learn what they are interested in and thrive, no matter where they live. The Convention on the Rights of the Child also recognizes this right for all children. Therefore, it is our duty to lend a helping hand,” concluded Mrs. Clark-Hattingh.
Participants also heard from Yeva Hyusyan, Co-Founder and Director of SoloLearn Project, a successful startup turned into a company, who delivered an inspiring speech on the secrets behind their startup success. In the past seven years, SoloLearn has successfully doubled the number of women employees, reaching the world average of 30 percent, which according to her shows how far we still have to go. “Because of the coronavirus, the world has been really tumultuous. At the same time, this was an opportunity for digital technologies to grow and expand, so being equipped with IT skills is important for anyone, regardless of gender, place of residence, or even area of work," said Yeva. “Go after whatever you want to pursue, do it better than anyone, faster than anyone. If you really want to do it, do not let any obstacle stop you.”
The girls and young women from Accelerator #5 have indeed pursued their goals. Ultimately, they had to compete not only in the potential of their startup but also in terms of the social good that their project will bring to their local community.
Here’s a short overview of the winning startup ideas that came out of the Accelerator #5 lab - you can judge for yourself how you would have voted were you on the panel (5 being, this project will improve the quality of my life to 1 being, I am definitely not the one who will benefit from this project). Let us know which project idea you like the best!
“AriGyugh” (come to the village) is a project that will contribute to job creation in a target village and increase the number of tourists to that rural area. The team will establish a unique guesthouse, which will be entirely serviced by the people of the village. Tourists will have tour options throughout the area to get to know interesting monuments and sights. The team hopes that through this project, they will not only create a source of income for the villagers but mitigate, to a possible extent, emigration from the village. The team received US$ 1,500.
“GTA” (found it) is a working platform for IT companies, which will use artificial intelligence for human resource services, such as interviews with possible candidates, recruitment of the most suitable and talented candidates for companies. It will also support companies with employee retention. Companies will be able to create their own profile accounts with a unique design and content. The team received US$ 750.
“Hogatar” (caring) is an application that will help parents in choosing between different developmental activities and services for their child and enrolling him or her. The app will also provide for transportation of children from home to the chosen site with an accompanied adult, such as the babysitter, while parents can follow the course through the app and be alerted when they reach the destination. Team members will invest into quality training for all employees on child safety to age appropriate communication and aid. The team received US$ 750.