Impact Hub Yerevan
Neighboring republics Armenia & Turkey have had a closed border for over 20 years and no real diplomatic relations. Imagine what could happen when innovators from both countries come together to focus not on politics but on solving social challenges common in both nations.
Yerevan, Armenia, Istanbul, Turkey, Armenia/Turkey rural areas
Our idea is aimed towards fostering collaboration between two countries that have a long history of conflict which has hindered cross-cultural collaboration in solving common social challenges. Similarly, many European countries have dynamics & societal barriers that create social unrest (e.g. the recent Charlie Hebdo attack, large Turkish population in Germany or assimilation issues of minorities originating from colonization). Cross-cultural collaboration including minorities for solving local social problems could serve as the perfect mechanism to break societal barriers that still generate unrest within European countries. This initiative co-created by Impact Hub Yerevan & Istanbul will be the ideal ground to create best practices to apply to the rest of Europe.
Successful outcomes/aims will be 4-5 innovative products/inventions and social enterprises responding to social issues in Armenia & Turkey and transferable/scalable in Europe and in developing countries around the world, and, a group of innovation leaders in both Armenia & Turkey with high-level social and economic ties to each other and one another’s countries. One year from now, citizens of Armenia and Turkey will have several new social innovations of which they may be proud and market to Europe and the rest of the world. The beneficiaries of this project will not only be the Armenian/Turkish innovators of the product/enterprise but the people whose lives those innovations are aimed at improving. Therefore beneficiaries in both groups would report a net positive experience.
Based on human centered design & lean startup principles, our project’s 5 elements are: 1) Immersion: Participants gather in Armenia & Turkey to perform field research to gain knowledge of local dynamics 2) Training: Participants receive a specially crafted educational program delivered by expert partners including essential business knowledge & entrepreneurial skills 3) Space/Community: Participants become members of Impact Hubs Yerevan & Istanbul including access to benefits such as coworking space, special events, & a diverse community 4) Mentoring: Participants have access to local mentors, who provide expert insight, strategy advice, sector/cross-cultural knowledge 5) Monitoring: Industry expert mentors assist the needs of participants through a structured online tracking platform.