Congratulations to the Enterprise Incubator Foundation (EIF) of Armenia, which was selected from a pool of more than 15 candidates that bid in a two-stage competitive bidding process.
mLab ECA will be the focal point for increasing the regional competitiveness of innovative enterprises working in mobile content and applications creation. This new mLab is one of an initial five to be established worldwide in the program, and will join two others already established in Kenya and South Africa. It will provide a platform for developing the technical and entrepreneurial skills, personal contacts and relationships needed to scale innovative mobile solutions into flourishing businesses. Providing state of the art equipment, the mLab will offer technical training and workshops while also connecting developers and entrepreneurs with potential investors, academic experts, and public sector leaders.
According to infoDev’s lead ICT policy specialist, Dr. Tim Kelly, “The mLab concept was well received in the region and the selection process proved to be highly competitive. EIF was chosen among the short-listed candidates based on the high quality of their proposal combined with their solid track record and reputation as an ICT incubator. This experience is invaluable when establishing the mLab and should ensure an efficient launch of the various services and enterprise competitions that are planned. It will be assisted by mobile social networking hubs, which have been established via grants in Azerbaijan, Georgia and Moldova.”
The Enterprise Incubation Foundation has operated in Armenia for 8 years and is the country’s largest technology initiative aimed at developing an advanced ICT sector and promoting innovation. In the past, EIF has provided local and international clients with successful business incubation and business skills development. Bagrat Yengibaryan, Director of EIF, said “As a well established organization, that has provided business, training and facility services to the ICT sector, hosting a mLab is a natural step for Enterprise Incubation Foundation. Although the physical space of the mLab is in Armenia, our network of partners in different sub-regions will ensure that many of the key activities have a truly regional footprint. We have followed closely the fast growth of the telecommunication sector in the region and believe that there is a vast market for local talent and innovative mobile applications, both locally and internationally.”
The announcement also drew messages of congratulations from the Government of Finland and from the Nokia Corporation:
Finland’s Aid for Trade Coordinator, Pertti Ikonen, welcomed the selection, saying “The regional mLabs, as supported by Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland, will foster the implementation of Finland's development cooperation on innovation and ICT in selected partner countries. In addition they allow the regional transfer of knowledge and information sharing thus extending the impact beyond the traditional partner countries of Finland. ICT and innovation thrives on openness and international cooperation. The networking of south-south-north communities for businesses and academia, as well as possibility to build win-win partnerships based on knowledge sharing, is a good example of new kind of development cooperation which the government of Finland is committed to foster.”
Jussi Hinkkanen, MEA Vice President for Government Affairs and Business Environment said “Nokia wants to congratulate EIF for being selected as the host organization for the ECA mLab and is looking forward to starting collaboration for building the local mobile developer ecosystem. Strengthening of the capacities of local content and application developers provides new opportunities of growth for the local and regional ICT sector and an enriched experience for the consumers.”
Congratulations again to the Enterprise Incubation Foundation! mLab ECA is expected to be operational by mid 2011 and should generate at least eight successful applications to the market during its first two years. Currently mLab Southern Africa and mLab East Africa are operating and two new regional mobile applications labs will be announced shortly for Asia.
For more information see: the Mobile Applications Project Implementation Plan and the Finland / infoDev / Nokia Creating Sustainable Businesses Program Page.