YEREVAN – Technovation Armenia 2019 held its award ceremony in June. This was the third year of this program organized in Armenia by the Women and Information Society NGO and the National Institute of Education in Armenia. It allows schoolgirls to create mobile applications addressing social issues in their communities. Since 2017, over 122 such apps have been developed by program participants, and over 242 teams from villages, towns and cities from all provinces of Armenia have participated, using the App Inventor program developed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
The under-representation of women in information and communications technology (ICT), especially in managerial positions and decision-making processes in Armenia is clear. The Woman and Information Society NGO works to change that through education in all of Armenia’s provinces. Its founder and president Narine Abazian declared, “We do not have the right to lose the talent of women in ICT. Women’s empowerment in ICT guarantees women’s financial stability, which serves the prosperity of the country.” Her NGO initiated Technovation Armenia in 2017. Technovation is the world’s largest technology entrepreneurship competition for schoolgirls. Its introduction to Armenia granted girls a chance to reveal their potential using MIT’s online program.
Technovation Armenia produced success stories, even during the first year of the program. In 2017, the One Step Ahead girls’ team from the Vahan Tekeyan School in Karbi village (which is one of the five schools in Armenia and Artsakh supported by the Sponsor a Teacher Program of the Tekeyan Cultural Association of the United States and Canada) received the international grand prize for its Armenian sign language application in the category of education, and was invited to Silicon Valley to participate in the international awards ceremony.
The next year, in 2018, one of the semifinalist teams, Codice Puellis, was nominated as a winner in the Sevan Startup Summit 2018 for the app “1 of U,” which was created for children with autism. Afterwards, the team became the European Youth Award 2018 Finalist.
In Technovation Armenia 2019, 420 schoolgirls and 93 mentors were registered from all over Armenia, forming 91 teams. Of these, 51 teams reached the semi-final phase in Armenia. There were four winning senior teams, sponsored by the company Service Titan, and three junior teams, sponsored by Synopsys Armenia. President of Synopsys Armenia, Technovation Armenia Good Will Ambassador Yervant Zorian and the Director of Synopsys Armenia CJSC and Chair of the Executive Board of the State Engineering University of Armenia (SEUA) Hovik Musayelyan congratulated the teams and handed them financial awards to further develop the mobile applications. All seven teams received participation tickets to the international competition.
The acting Deputy Chief of Mission of the US Embassy in Armenia Robert Anderson greeted the participants of the ceremony and extended to them US Ambassador to Armenia Lynn M. Tracy’s message and best wishes to the program participants. Furthermore, Executive Director at UEICT (Union of Employers of Information and Communication Technologies) Edward Musayelyan in his greeting speech emphasized and valued highly the hard work performed by the teams and expressed his willingness to support the teams in the future through mentorship and counselling.