Georgia & Armenia Tech Hub Summit at the Marriott Armenia July 23, 2023

On July 18, the Marriott Armenia hosted the highly anticipated Georgia & Armenia Tech Hub Summit 2023, a collaborative effort between Georgia-based law firm Klein & Pantsulaia and Armenia-based law firm Klein & Iskandaryan. The Tech conference was sponsored again by GEORGIA TODAY, GT Business and the Marriott Hotels, more precisely the Marriott Armenia, which is on the main Yerevan square in a historical palatial Armenian building. This is the first time in the history of the conference that AmCham (Armenia) was a partner. Representatives from heavyweight IT companies Adobe and Siemens were panel speakers (according to Boston Consulting Group, Siemens is 10th most innovative company in the world and #1 in Europe), alongside Dataart.

Matena´s co-founder and event speaker Ruben Hayrapetyan highlighted that in its first year of operation, Matena has managed to establish collaborative programs with the likes of Harvard and IMD business schools. That, coupled with a well-established tech culture and sector, Armenia means is aiming to position itself as a go-to country for Tech.

One of the take-aways was that Armenia´s tech sector seems to be much further developed than Georgia’s, which means that IT companies in Georgia are frequently required to employ innovative initiatives in order to find certain types of tech workers, such as strong company-tech university collaboration. Another take-away was that, while in Armenia small local companies enjoy various government benefits and tax breaks, in contrast, the Georgian government has very impressive and impactful tax incentives (such as a 75% tax reduction on certain taxes) for multinationals (only) on the condition that they have no substantial sales in Georgia. This does not encourage local start-ups as in Armenia.

In an effort to become more competitive, AmCham Armenia is lobbying to get more tax breaks for foreign investors.

Irina Dumanyan, Strategic Business Director/CEO Siemens Industry Software Armenia and also a AmCham Board Director, mentioned that, “In order to be more attractive as a country for foreign companies, AmCham is lobbying to increase incentives for investors.” One of the co-founders of the Georgia-Armenia Tech Trade Association indicated that a new lobbying trade organization was being formed called the Armenia Tech Trade Association, which would have only multinationals as members in order to lobby the Armenian government for more investment incentives for foreign Tech companies.

One other important issue what was pointed out by Dataart´s Arsen Baghdasaryan, who is · VP, Head of the Armenia and Georgia Business Cluster, was that getting Georgian work permits for foreigners was a big concern in general, but that for companies with large numbers of workers needing work permits, the Georgian government was approving almost all applicants. Arsen also noted that of Dataart´s 6000 global workforce, almost 1000 are based in Georgia and Armenia; underscoring Georgia and Armenia`s deserved status of Tech Hub!

Other conference speakers and panelists included British Expatpro, Germany’s Devexpert, and approximately 10 delegates who had travelled from other countries to participate.

The next event will be similar to past events, with a focus on artificial intelligence. The Georgia & Armenia Tech/AI Hub Summit & AI Workshop will be held at the Marriott Tbilisi on the 22nd of August in the historical Grand Ballroom. Early confirmations as panelists/speakers already included Dataart and Devexperts.