YEREVAN (Combined Sources)—Apple Inc. co-founder Steve Wozniak is in Armenia to advise the country on investing in education and youth at the initiative of the Armenian government.
On Thursday, Wozniak, 61, met with Armenia’s IT business community and received a certificate from Synopsis Armenia for his “humanistic vision, enthusiasm and boundless energy in promoting innovation in the spirit of entrepreneurship around the world and in Armenia,” reported ArmRadio.
He is scheduled to meet with President Serzh Sarkisian Friday. Sarkisian is expected to award the former Apple Inc. executive with the “Global Award” for “Outstanding Contribution to Humanity through IT 2011.”
Wozniak is also scheduled to meet with Prime Minister Tigran Sargsyan, other government officials, university leaders and students.
In an interview with RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am), Wozniak stressed the importance of good education for steady growth of the hi-tech industry. “Even the Silicon Valley always attributed a lot of its success to good schools that had created a lot of good engineers,” he said.
Wozniak, who co-founded Apple with the late Steve Jobs in a Silicon Valley garage in 1976, emphasized at the same time that this should go hand in hand with “inspiring creativity” in children and young people.
“In the age of the Internet it’s very easy for anyone anywhere in the world to come up with ideas that could catch on massively, instantly,” he said. “It’s rare but it’s usually from young people because they aren’t so set in knowing how to do things already.”
“Don’t restrict smart young people, whether they have a college degree or not,” continued Wozniak. “It’s not that great when companies require all sorts of degrees or certification. You have to be able to spot young people who will think for themselves and come up with good new ideas — the real innovators.”
The sector’s growth in recent years has been facilitated by a rapid spread of Internet access in Armenia. Tightening competition among local Internet providers has been improving the quality and lowering the cost of the service.
“I would say that … chess is the sort of thinking that is so involved in a lot of the working out the logistics of hardware and software engineering, being able to hold a lot of patterns, independent ways and results in your head,” he said.
“But you have to encourage people to want to do the best in the world and to be the best in the world,” added Wozniak.
The President’s Global IT Award serves as a great networking tool for potential future investments, adds to the prestige of Armenia as a growing high-tech hub, and helps highlight Armenia on the world IT map, according to Armenia’s presidential press service, which added that the award also “adds to the confidence of foreign investors in Armenia. The award consists of Gold Medal, Diploma and Trophy approved by Award Committee.”