Yeram Fabien Tomarci is from Paris, France, where he was both born and raised. Of Armenian background, he moved to Armenia in 2018, prepared for the adventure. He founded CapeInnov, a strategy and innovation agency.
CapeInnov helps companies to innovate, become unique and grow by offering strategic guidance and developing their software solutions.
Thank you for meeting with us today, Yeram.
Let’s start with your childhood. Tell us about yourself as an Armenian child growing up in the Diaspora.
I was born in France. My involvement as a child in the Armenian community began with Blue Cross Summer Camp at the age of 8 or 9, where I was introduced to Armenian culture. As I began making Armenian friends, I started to attend different events afterwards. I was not part of any organization, but I have always kept the connection. I guess, this is how my childhood as an Armenian in the Diaspora was.
You work in the field of innovation. Your career path has brought you to Armenia. How did it happen?
I think we are living in an era where innovation takes an increasing, if not crucial, part of business strategy. Often times, people underestimate the value they can add in the long run. My job is to make my clients build a real vision, implement it, including continuous innovation as part of their strategy.
At one stage of the innovation process, there is a need for developing software applications. I develop those applications here in Armenia, that is precisely what led me here, to establish a software development department. I am very enthusiastic about making local driving forces to take part of that journey and to participate to the development of the Armenian innovation ecosystem.
During the past year, I began connecting with a few ventures to get a feel for the market. Initially it was all about testing and testing. Now that I am here, I can add value for my clients to be their eyes and their ears, serving their interest being the paramount goal. In fact, anyone who wishes to manage a project from overseas will naturally face challenges. In that regard, having someone here who can take over the operations management is an added value for my clients. This is how my career path brought me to Armenia.
Before moving here, I have come to Armenia about 10 times. I knew the positive energy reigning in Yerevan, as well as the enthusiasm and true competencies of people. Armenia offers a very good quality of life, a thousand-year-old cultural heritage and, for anyone willing to build a project, is full of opportunities.
You chose a coworking space. Is it another tip to quickly establish connections and network?
Few years ago, I came to Repat Armenia office for help as I was looking for people with certain skills. I really liked the coworking space here, the look and ambience. This is when I decided that, if I bring my projects to Yerevan, I would want to work from here. I am very open to people approaching me and try to learn about them. It can be a lifehack as I love the fact that there are so many people with similar values both visiting and working here. It’s a great asset.
How does your day in Yerevan look like?
Each day is different. One day I would be with a client, another one building strategies or, working on a project with a supplier. I love to socialize and see friends over a cup of coffee. The lifestyle is different to some degree, but the main points are all the same. Yerevan is not a megalopolis so commuting is easier, as is gathering with friends spontaneously. There are many great locations to visit, depending on your mood. The nightlife is very lively. The culture is different, of course, and the little things affect the way you function, but mostly it’s similar enough.
What are your plans for the foreseeable future?
My plan is to stay for at least two years and then I will take it from there. I will be setting up my project and grounding my work. I’m very enthusiastic about Armenia moving forward on a positive road. There are a lot of talents here, with the new generation very keen on opening up to the world. It is very pleasant for someone who wants to work from here.
What are some tips you would impart to someone who is thinking about moving to Armenia?
I would reply with common sense. People willing to work in Armenia should have an idea of what kind of project they want to work on and who they will be targeting. Network before you come here, receive feedback from people who are living here and make connections. If you decide to initially come for a few months, it would be best to understand beforehand what you need in order to live the life you want here. It is better to have a self-sustaining project and make sure you can make a living through it, either as an employee or independent. If you are very young, you can wing it, but when you are already established somewhere, maybe be better to go beyond the emotions. Having said that, there is no perfect situation, so at some point, you have to jump.
Then, when you are here, enjoy the journey and honor the differences.
What are some things Armenia can improve in to better attract diasporan visits and repatriation?
This is a broad question implying both micro and macro considerations. I highly encourage bottom approach and individual initiatives. We can always improve. Develop a culture of excellence in operational strategy, leverage Armenian talents to foster exportations, continue developing frameworks that enhance professional collaborations between Armenia and the diaspora could be some axes. That would definitely encourage people from everywhere to take part of the journey.