Developing Entrepreneurship in Armenia – Let’s Walk the Walk
Armenia needs a healthy group of active and serial entrepreneurs! Entrepreneurs take innovation and transform it into positive economic growth. Lack of new ventures and start-ups could come from the absence of motivating factors, positive outlook and entrepreneurial education. So I believe that entrepreneurship can be developed through motivation and proper education.
We are good with “short-term” motivation. I guess that’s the “talk the talk” portion before you “walk”. We have all attended events where “famous” Armenians tell us about their challenging yet successful careers. Most of them just disappear after the appearance and leave the motivated, talented and enthusiastic potential entrepreneurs with the sentimental stories that will wane away in two weeks. Several of those speakers will be humble enough to admit that they had great mentors, people who have shared important details and valuable lessons from their challenging and successful career experiences with them. Then there are the select few that offer their mentorship and support. These are the few who “walk the walk”! These mentors play an immensely important role in any entrepreneur’s life.
People who are active mentors to future entrepreneurs are providing the necessary component of Entrepreneurial education. Recently many business schools in the USA and in Armenia spend a lot of time focusing on century-old marketing principals and business writing skill as part of their entrepreneurship education. A few and close to none focus on what it really takes to start and get a business running. In my opinion the proper entrepreneurial education entails the presence of valuable and experienced mentors and the proper team environment for the motivation and real support.
Several successful nonprofits have developed successful programs of entrepreneurial education that really help start-ups to launch. One of the non-profits that has shown to be very successful is Startup Weekend. A well devised program puts developers, designers, non-technical individuals and experienced entrepreneurs in one room for 52 hours. Throughout the program ideas pitched, projects are selected, teams are formed and several ventures are launched. This successful model or a variation of it should be tested in Armenia or communities outside of Armenia to encourage entrepreneurship and hopefully launch even more ventures in Armenia. As we are working on the first such event and a possible business plan competition, we welcome your feedback and participation.