“Armenia and Turkey Have the Potential to Cooperate in the IT Sector”

“What will happen if we stop the political struggle and start cooperation?” Erhan Erkute, Vice Rector at MEF University (Turkey), an influential figure among the Turkish entrepreneurs, raised a question during the interview with us within the framework of   StartupIstanbul regional IT Forum.

He sees a number of potential opportunities for cooperation between the IT sectors of Armenia and Turkey. “This is not politics, this is economy and well-being,” Erhan Erkut said.

He believes that all the countries in the region should cooperate, which will contribute to peace between all the countries in the region. 

Hasmik Hovhannisyan, founder of HY PICTURES, participant of “StartupIstanbul”, considers it a great achievement that the Turkish publishing houses are interested in the Western Armenian literature comics, and it is possible that they are translated into Turkish and published.

Cooperation opportunities between HY PICTURES and the Turkish publishing houses were established during “StartupIstanbul” forum, held in Istanbul on October 6-10.

Besides the above-mentioned startup, 9 selected ICT startups from Armenia had the opportunity to participate in this regional IT event, due to the coordination of Public Journalist Club /Armenia/ and TEPAV  (Economic Policy Research Foundation of Turkey) /Turkey/ within the framework of the “Exchange of Entrepreneurs Project.    

Erhan Erkut considers Armenian delegation’s participation in StartupIstanbul to be a great advantage. He expressed hope that the Turkish side would also have the opportunity to visit Armenia. "I hope we will develop relations on the level of economy, and politicians will follow the steps of startups."

Seda Muradyan, Head of the Public Journalism Club, said that it was important for the PJC and the partner TEPAV Foundation to continue Armenia-Turkey “Exchange of Entrepreneurs Project, launched since 2014.

In previous years, exchange visits and trainings for entrepreneurs in the ICT sector were organized, thanks to which the representatives of the two countries learned and revealed the opportunities of the Armenian and Turkish IT sectors, differences and advantages.

“Our participation in the StartupIstanbul strengthened our previous activities,” Seda Muradyan said.  

The Armenian participants tell that there were no obstacles for contacts with the Turkish participants.

“When the Turkish participants asked “Where are you from” and we replied “From Armenia”, they said, “How nice it is that you came today”. Communication was the same as with the representatives of Pakistan, the USA, we do not feel the difference in treatment,” Flora Babajanyan, Earlyone Startup representative, member of StartupIstanbul, said.

Aram Jivanyan, Founder of Skycryptor, said that all the principles of business ethics were maintained. "We were in contact with the Turkish participants as enterprenuers."

Cansu Saraç, a policy analyst for innovation and area studies at TEPAV (Turkey), is impressed by the achieved results. She highlighted the importance of the Armenian Startups participation in the event, the establishment of different ways of cooperation with the international investors. He also underlines the success of the two startups - the involvement in the list of top 50 and the performance in front of investors.

Armenian LiTech newly established company has already received a proposal for collaboration by Kworks Turkish Accelerator program.

“We want to do research in Turkey, as there are many greenhouses and technologies in Turkey and it will be quick and easy to conduct research here. They proposed to provide us with office and industrial territory for the 6-month studies and to help in finding greenhouses for the research. There is also the first Turkish Crowdfunding platform, which proposes to start crowdfunding campaign in case of cooperation with Kworks and get the money in that way,” Zhorzh Seyradaryan, representative of the company, said.

According to Erhan Erkut, Armenian startups should have a clear strategy for reaching the international market. They could start, for example, from Turkey or Iran, and move to Greece, Europe or the US.

Making a comparison between the Armenian and Turkish IT market, Erkut mentioned that the Armenian small market is an advantage for startups. It makes essential to think globally and to target their products for the international markets.

This year 24.646 startups applied for “StartupIstanbul” leading forum from 135 states, and only about 500 startups will participate in the event. The Armenian 10 startup companies, participating in the Exchange of Entrepreneurs project, were among those 500 startups. The project is part of the “Support to the Armenia-Turkey Normalization Process” (ATNP) Program with the funding of the European Union.  

Arpine Arzumanyan, Website editor

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