“Innovative Ideas for Tourism Development in Armenia” Hackathon in Vanadzor supported by EU4Business

On May 18-19, 2019, the “Innovative ideas for tourism development in Armenia” hackathon will be held at the Vanadzor Technology Center (VTC) for the second time. 

The hackathon is organized by Enterprise Incubator Foundation together with Vanadzor Technology Center with main support of the European Union through its EU4Business “Support to SME Development in Armenia” (EU-SMEDA) project, which is co-funded by the European Union and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and implemented by GIZ’s Private Sector Development in South Caucasus Program. United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Innovative Solutions and Technologies Center (ISTC), Tourism Committee of the RA, Integrated Rural Tourism Development project of United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and Lori regional administration also support the implementation of the event.

Trying to identify the challenges of tourism development in northern regions of Armenia, the hackathon aims to provide tech-based solutions and promote the Armenian tourism industry by bringing innovative solutions and services to the market that will be more attractive to tourists, both domestic and international, and will potentially ensure high income for the implementers of those ideas and projects.

The jury will encourage innovative ideas particularly in the following areas:

1. Technological solutions for raising awareness about tourism in Armenia,

2. Improvement of information provision,

3. IT and high-tech solutions.

Digital and technological approaches and solutions can relate to a wide range of topics such as visitor management, natural and cultural sights management (incl. museums), adventure and outdoor sports, cross-border cooperation, open data, e-learning software for visitors and professionals, apps, platforms, booking systems, digital experiences, as well as tech-driven physical tourism-related products.

30 teams will be selected from all over Armenia based on submitted applications. The teams will be working on the prototypes of their ideas/products within 24 hours and will submit them for the jury’s consideration. The jury will involve the best professionals of the field.

2.000.000 AMD, 1.200.000 AMD and 750.000 AMD are offered as a prize for the winners of the hackathon. Prizes will be granted by EU4Business “Support to SME Development in Armenia” project as professional services to support further development and promotion of the proposed product and will include marketing expenses, business consultancy, translation services, or study tours in Europe.

1.000.000 AMD prize will be awarded by Enterprise Incubator Foundation for the best technical solution. UNDP will take up financing of one project, if it meets the UNDP criteria: innovative, sustainable and feasible.

As a note, that the first tourism-related hackathon was organized in Vanadzor Technology Center (VTC) on 7-8 April 2018.

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Enterprise Incubator Foundation (EIF) is one of the region's largest technology business incubators. The programs implemented by EIF concern the development of all key areas in IT. EIF's goal is to create an appropriate environment for IT development in Armenia, make international knowledge and sources of funding available, prepare highly qualified IT professionals and managers to create local companies for access to global networks. The above-mentioned goals are implemented within the framework of various initiatives, such as the Armenian-Indian Center for Excellence in ICT (AITC), Armenian National Engineering Labs (ANEL), Microsoft Innovation Center (MIC), Innovation Solutions and Technologies Center (ISTC), Mobile Solutions Regional Laboratory (mLab ECA), Engineering City (EC), Gyumri (GTC), Vanadzor (VTC) and Kapan technological centers, and other projects. http://www.eif.am/eng/

The Enterprise Incubator Foundation with the support of Government of Armenia and the World Bank established Vanadzor Technology Center (VTC). The mission of the Center is to turn Vanadzor into a regional and international high-tech center by creating a dynamic environment of opportunities and services that will promote job creation, support talented youth and organizations in implementing innovative business ideas ultimately contributing to the sustainable development of the region. http://vtc.am/en/

The European Union’s EU4Business initiative is an umbrella initiative that covers all EU activities supporting SMEs in the Eastern Partnership countries. EU-SMEDA 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 in South Caucasus Program. SMEDA aims at improving the business and investment climate and supporting the creation and development of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to enable broad-based growth in Armenia. In this realm, the project focuses on SME policy processes, strengthening business associations and economic clusters. Furthermore, the project supports various technology-oriented ventures and helps increase the competitiveness of existing SMEs by providing financial and technical assistance to develop new innovative products and services for domestic and global markets. Additionally, the project aims at stimulating the rate of technology absorption, technology transfer, innovation, and commercialization of research ideas in the private sector, and fostering the collaboration between research centers and SMEs.