The STEP project was created in 2006 by EIF jointly with the U.S. Civilian Research & Development Foundation (CRDF) and the Government of Armenia.
The purpose of STEP is to help engineers, researchers, and scientists move their innovative products to market, create new ventures, and to encourage effective partnerships with established companies. STEP also supports economic growth by facilitating efforts by Armenian scientists to establish connections with local and international companies so they may collaborate in a mutually beneficial way.
Each year within STEP project EIF implements a number of activities in partnership with the Ministry of Economy of the Republic of Armenia and CRDF, which include the Business Partnership Grant (BPG) program, Venture Conference, Cluster Seminars, Business trainings for scientific community, Legal and accounting seminars, and match-making events.
Call for applications is now open for “From Idea to Market” grant competition 2013. For details on application procedures, as well as application form, please visit: http://www.eif.am/eng/announcements/grant-competition-from-idea-to-market-2013/
The Business Partnership Grant Competition and Venture Conference
Every year EIF jointly with CRDF Global issues an open call for applications from local scientists and technological professionals. Applications are submitted jointly with company partners (with at least a 10% cash contribution). Applications are reviewed by independent experts both local and US for commercial and technical merit. At the conclusion of the application process semi-finalists participate in training sessions that focus only on the business aspect (e.g. business plan preparation, improving presentation skills etc.).
The final step is the Venture Conference at which finalist teams present their project’s business proposition to a panel of judges that includes representatives of Armenian and US Venture Capital experts. Five winners selected by the end of Conference receive prize awards for a 12-months period.
Winners of 2012 Business Partnership Grant Competition
In 2012, 50 teams applied to the BPG competition, from which 21 projects were selected to present their ideas at the Venture Conference. The five winning teams each received 15,000 USD in grants for their respective projects:
- Clean H2O, Team Lead: Narek Hayrapetyan
- MicroForester, Team Lead: Aleksandr Shakaryan
- Water from Air Generator (WAG), Team Lead: Artak Barseghyan
- Electrically Heated, Transparent Carbon Coatings, Team Lead: Zhosef Panosyan
- Ventilation Heat Recovery Device (VHRD), Team Lead: Artak Hambarian
Technology Entrepreneurship Workshop
Under the auspices of STEP, CRDF and EIF organize regular Technology Entrepreneurship Workshops in Yerevan. The Workshop is open on a competitive basis to scientists, engineers, inventors, researchers and technology entrepreneurs with an interest in commercializing their innovations and developing viable enterprises. At the conclusion of the Workshop, CRDF awards one to three $10,000 U.S. Travel Grants to competitively selected Workshop participants. The number of grants awarded is based on the quantity and quality of applications submitted.
The Workshop goals are to:
- Identify technologies with good commercialization potential through business plan competition and expert review process.
- Enhance technology commercialization potential by providing entrepreneurship training and one-on-one consulting to inventors, researchers and technology entrepreneurs in the following principal areas: a) company formation; b) technology validation; c) market assessment; d) team building; e) developing viable business models, operational, and financial plans; f) fundraising and exit strategies.
- Provide participants with personalized mentoring by U.S. and local business trainers with real-life business experience.
- Facilitate introduction of workshop participants to local and international businesses, prospective investors, and private sector experts.
STEP winners list: STEP-Winners-2006-2012