Armenia’s IT community seeks to be in top 20 most innovative countries

By Asbarez | Monday, 21 November 2016

The 4th Business Innovation Forum was hosted on Nov. 18-19 in Dilijan, Armenia (Photo: EU Armenia Twitter Page)

The 4th Business Innovation Forum was hosted on Nov. 18-19 in Dilijan, Armenia (Photo: EU Armenia Twitter Page)

DILIJAN, Armenia (Armenpress)—The 4th annual Business Innovation Forum kicked off in Armenia on Friday with a vision to define the main priorities of Armenia’s innovation strategy and to form solutions.

The organizer of the two-day Forum is the Union of Information Technology Enterprises (UITE) which combined the representatives of technology, educational and entrepreneurship sectors, as well as the Armenian Government and international organizations, including international speakers from 6 countries (U.S., Russia, Taiwan, Bulgaria, Israel, Georgia).

The Forum was focused on issues of forming an innovation economy creating strategy, including the approaches on boosting business processes through innovations, providing innovative goods and services, preparing qualified personnel, establishing educational system-IT sector coordinated work.

UITE Deputy Director Hayk Chobanyan reaffirmed the Union’s goal to position Armenia among the 20 most innovative countries of the world in 2018.

“Today Armenia is ranked 60th among the innovative countries of the world. We must do everything so that Armenia will be included in the top 20 of the most innovative countries. Taking the potential which today exists in the IT and education sectors, the talent, that is spread in entire Armenia, we must make it innovative service, a subject of innovative progress,” he said.

Doctor of Economics, Professor, Rector of Armenian-Russian (Slavonic) University Armen Darbinyan held a discussion under the topic of “Knowledge for innovation and development” and said the Forum aims to discuss issues of concern and find effective solutions. From this perspective, he identified three major issues which hinder the development of the sector. He said the first issue is that the 15.000 large IT community is a strong army, however, it has not assumed the role of being a matter of large changes in case of correct motivation.

“Secondly, why the demand for jobs in the IT and high technology sectors, that annually reaches to several thousands, is not being satisfied. Why the community has not established a constant cooperation with the educational institutions, scientific centers to solve the issue,” Darbinyan said.

The third issue relates to attracting the market of the Eurasian Economic Union by the sector, towards which steps are not being taken.

“Why Armenia, that seeks to become a global center for outsourcing, considers US as a potential buyer, not putting an attention on the Eurasian direction,” Darbinyan said.

Eliya Elon, Director of Education and Acceleration Center at Tel Aviv University, presented Israel’s successful experience in the IT sector. He said more than 90 accelerations, more than 40 working spaces and links, 250 research and development centers are operating in the country, over 200 forums and IT events are being held annually in Israel. As for startups, he said 4 from 100 reaches success, the annual income of which exceeds 100 million USD.

Elon said Israel’s success in this sector is due to people’s tendencies to receive education, entrepreneurial skills, and security challenges.

Taking into account Israel’s experience, Darbinyan stated that Armenia can achieve success in the sector if a state-centered ideology is formed among us, the “emotional tax” is highlighted which is typical both to the Jewish people and Armenians, which, however, is not being used.

He said the exclusive cases of large investments in the educational sector are the evidence of it. One of the major conditions for achieving success is for the army to become one of the accelerators of the sector.

Deputy Defense Minister Davit Pakhchanyan said he as a Deputy Minister set several tasks on him in the context of army-IT cooperation. “We must be able to create such weapons in the upcoming years in order to change our military approach and planning, in order to have cards in the resistance and change the situation. It is important to reach the point in order for the additional value to more in the military-industrial sector than the army demands,” he said.

During the Forum presentations were held on public entrepreneurship, requalification and training projects on filling the demand of jobs in the IT sector, developing national competitiveness strategy.

Assistance was provided to the two-day innovation Forum on the sidelines of the EU4Business and EU4Innovation initiatives.