Training a new generation of entrepreneurs in Armenia and Georgia

  • Date

    Mon 25 Mar 19

Essex and partners have delivered the first ‘Train the Trainer’ entrepreneurship boot camps in Armenia and Georgia as part of two successful awards from the British Council Creative Spark Programme.

The boot camps are part of an enterprise and knowledge exchange skills development programme between the UK and university partners in Armenia and Georgia that will grow the next generation of entrepreneurs and support the creative economy.

Essex is involved in two projects that include partnerships with the Yerevan Brusov State University of Languages and Social Sciences in Armenia and Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University and the Tbilisi State Conservatoire in Georgia.

Start-up coach Christine Michaelis and executive education provider from the ChangeSchool, Neil Marshall, flew to Yerevan Brusov University in Armenia to deliver the first boot camp as part of the Creative Spark Programme with Essex.

Together Christine and Neil have designed a development programme that will enable university partners to run entrepreneurship boot camps for students to increase their range of support to the creative economy.

“Delivering the Creative Spark project has been so rewarding, the universities have been very welcoming and the trainers were eager to learn about new teaching methods and entrepreneurship."
Christine Michaelis Marketing and Creative Start-Up Coach and former employee of the University of Essex

“Seeing them taking everything on board and exploring new ways of working has been fun, worthwhile and satisfying. I cannot wait to see how this programme develops and the knowledge will be transferred to their students. This is a really great initiative that will see a lot of success.”

Christine used to market, plan and deliver enterprise activities for Essex on all campuses. She helped establish more than 100 registered student businesses through the University’s Start-up Hub from 2014 onwards.

The Creative Spark Programme is a five-year initiative to help develop the creative economy and enterprise skills across seven countries in Central Asia, (Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan), South Caucasus (Azerbaijan, Armenia and Georgia) and Ukraine.

The programme has been developed in response to an underdeveloped creative sector and a demand for entrepreneurship training in these countries. Creative industries have driven economic growth in the UK and Essex want to use this experience and expertise to support sustainable development and social welfare.

These awards from the British Council Creative Spark Programme follow on from the University of Essex’s recent funding successes in the digital, creative and cultural sector. Essex and its partners were awarded £4.3m to drive creative industries in the Thames Estuary as part of the Cultural Development Fund.

The University is also leading the £4.7m EIRA (Enabling Innovation: Research to Application) project which brings together seven universities and colleges across the East of England to give businesses the chance to harness the power of the latest breakthroughs in the digital creative sector.