Created by a group of young people, Armenian start-up Breede is a cooperation platform for employers and students.
The platform helps employers find the right candidates and enables students to start building their career.
We spoke to Vahan Melkonyan, Maria Aloyan and Liana Hakobyan, the young co-founders of Breedge, who explained how their idea was realised and the start-up created in March 2017. Thanks to the platform, 230 Armenian students have already found work.
Vahan, a student at the American University of Armenia, says that the goal of their platform is to attract the “right” young people to the labour market.
“There are no industry restrictions; we have worked with more than 140 companies, 30-35% of which work in the field of information technology. Students post their information on our website, with an emphasis not on work experience (because students do not have much of it), but on personal qualities. On the other hand, organisations register on our website in order to find employees,” says Vahan.
The co-founders met during the Start-up Boost Weekend forum, organised with the assistance of the EU project ‘Support to SME Development (Small and Medium Businesses) in Armenia’ (EU-SMEDA). The aim of this forum was for students to form teams and present an idea of a start-up to the organisers. The co-founders of Breedge managed to develop their start-up idea within the day and present it and, as a result, they won the Start-up Boost Weekend. This allowed them to develop their vision at the Entrepreneurship and Product Innovation Center (EPIC) – a start-up incubator on the campus of the university.
“The main thing is that we met, and this happened during the forum, which was also attended by the leaders of the IT sector,” Liana admits.
Later, with the assistance of the EU, the co-founders were able to expand and develop their idea.
They completed a three-month course at the Armenian Start-up Academy, where they learned how to achieve success, and what is needed in order to create a successful product and enter the market.
The Academy also operates under the EU-SMEDA project – co-financed by the EU and supported by the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ).
In 2018, the co-founders received a grant from the EU-SMEDA project for the Science and Technology Entrepreneurship (EU4Business STEP) programme.
Vahan believes that this allowed them to continue working, to include more organisations in the Breedge system and to expand the product.
“Within the framework of STEP we were able to create a new product that will connect the entire platform with universities. Four universities are using Breedge as a career platform already. There is a cooperation agreement with a number of universities starting next year,” he explains.
With the support of the EU4Business STEP programme, the co-founders have also created new projects that allow IT organisations to attract more young people. Given the deficit of young people in the industry, major organisations are trying to implement schemes that will encourage students to first complete the appropriate training and only then apply for work.
About 4,000 students from different universities in Armenia are already registered with the platform. Breedge involves more than 150 organisations and 230 students have found work using the platform. Registration is free for students, but employers must pay a fee.
Author: Roza Hovhannisyan
Photos by Nazik Armenakyan