Title : Rising Star: Goce Armenski, iVote
Date : 27 October 2015
LA catches up with Goce Armenski, CTO of iVote; an IT company specialized in development of time critical and secure information systems and consultancy for electoral commissions. Their main software offering, Demokra, is an end-to-end state of the art election management platform. Clients using the Demokra technology include the Central Election Commissions of: Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Albania, Kosovo and Ecuador. So far the platform has processed in total 120 million voters worldwide.
LA Report: Why did you set up your company?
Goce Armenski: I saw very positive results from a research project at university which related to elections and then encouraged us to start our own company.
LA Report: How long did it take you to set up your business?
The formal business set up was pretty fast. It took only five days to establish, after which the business was completely operational.
LA Report: What education or training did you have?
Both of the founders are PhDs in information technology with significant experience in the industry, as well as involvement in many international projects.
LA Report: Where did you source funding to set up your business?
The business was entirely self-funded from our own investment.
LA Report: Were there any EU, national, regional or local business support services, programmes or funding initiatives that helped you set up or grow?
We have started the company in a business incubator that helped us to overcome the first, most vulnerable phase of our development. It was the only support that we had.
LA Report: With hindsight, which would have been the most valuable knowledge base of skillset to have before setting up your business?
Extensive IT knowledge, along with good experience of elections and the election process were the most important knowledge base for starting our business.
LA Report: Do you have a mentor?
No, not at present.
LA Report: Who is our greatest inspiration?
Visionaries who are able to foresee the future and who are brave enough to follow their dreams.
LA Report: What is the specific benefit that distinguishes your product or service from its competitors?
Comprehensive, flexible, secure, extensible software platform that supports all election processes and models at affordable pricing.
LA Report: How does your company change people’s lives for the better?
Through our products, our company enables more efficient and transparent elections, thereby improving the democracy in the country.
LA Reports: How long did it take you to break into new markets?
It took us two years to break into new markets; first in the region, and then into other continents.
LA Report: How would you describe your progress so far?
iVote is a company that has clients in more than ten countries; it has fifteen highly-educated and skilled employees, and the growth is evident every year.
LA Reports: How are you planning to grow your business?
We are working on establishing new strategic partnerships for entering new markets, as well as continuous enhancement of the product offering with innovative new features.
LA Report: If you were in charge of the government ministry for SMEs and start-ups, what would be the three most important changes you would make to help them grow?
1. Introducing entrepreneurship courses at all study programs.
2. Establishing business support centres (innovation centres, science parks, business incubators and similar) that will help the start-ups to overcome the most vulnerable phase of their development.
3. Introducing guarantee funds which will improve the level of funding for start-ups.
LA Report: Entrepreneurs are important to society because…?
They move the economy forward; they are a source of innovation and break-through products and services that drive wealth-creation and improve the competitiveness of the economy.
LA Report: The best thing about being an entrepreneur is…?
Implementation of our own innovative business ideas, as well as the flexibility of organising our own time and business that comes with being your own boss.
LA Report: If you could go back in time to when you were just about to start your company and tell yourself something useful, what would it be?
Follow your dreams and never give up.
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