articles | 12 November 2023

Cyprus urged to boost tech ecosystem — ‘economy must become more knowledge-based’

A number of technology and business experts this week stressed that while Cyprus holds great promise as a technological destination, more efforts are needed to establish a knowledge-based economy on the island.

In a discussion at the recently held Economist Conference, Ioannis Petris, CEO of Athlos Capital, highlighted Cyprus as a highly promising technological destination but stressed the necessity of addressing various pillars to form a tech cluster before earning the title of a true technological hub. 

Petris pointed out the need for cultivating a business culture, exploring diverse funding avenues, and addressing the lack of loans for small businesses in Cyprus. He also highlighted the importance of a steady flow of skilled STEAM graduates and fostering a culture of research and innovation. Addressing the gaps in Cyprus’s technological landscape, Petris identified two crucial areas as a supportive legal framework and government support. He called for a change in mindset to make technological innovation a significant part of the agenda.

Itai Green, founder and CEO of Innovate Israel, emphasised the importance of collaboration between public and private sectors for the digitization of government services. Green suggested that governments should provide the conditions for the private sector to excel, and fostering innovation involves collaboration with startups, academia, and competitors.

Demetris Spentzas, CTO of Ambience, stressed the significance of education for developing a thriving, innovative, and diversified economy. He urged organisations to transform their processes and mindset before digitizing, emphasizing the need for businesses to adapt to available digital tools for more effectiveness.

Elena Pantazi, Partner and Talent Development Specialist at Northzone, highlighted the global uncertainty in funding but pointed out Cyprus’s exceptional position to leverage innovation opportunities.

She identified remote work as a growing trend and cited Cyprus as an attractive destination for creating distributed teams.

The experts collectively emphasised the need for Cyprus to invest in training and education, embrace digital transformation, and create an environment conducive to innovation.

The speakers believed that Cyprus, with its access to the EU and close ties to Israel’s startup ecosystem, has a unique opportunity to become a hub for technological innovation in the region.

Meanwhile, Demetrios Zoppos, founder of 33East, announced that his venture has been selected by the European Investment Fund as Cyprus’ first publicly-supported venture capital fund.

Zoppos stated that the venture aims to address a market gap in Cyprus by providing capital for entrepreneurial endeavours, particularly in the early stages of innovation.

While acknowledging Cyprus’s potential to attract businesses, Zoppos emphasised the need for a new entrepreneurial model and highlighted an innovation gap in the early stages.

He pointed out that the current ecosystem is dominated by technology companies established elsewhere and later relocated to Cyprus.

Zoppos expressed the view that Cyprus is not yet ready to be a producer of innovation, stressing the necessity of venture capital to cover this gap.

Moreover, he noted that much still needs to be done, including attracting international tech expertise, cultivating and developing local talent, providing incentives for technology investments, expanding and diversifying funding sources, reducing bureaucracy, and establishing networks between founders and investors.

In his concluding remarks, Zoppos emphasised the importance of shifting focus from simply attracting foreign companies to nurturing and developing local talent within Cyprus.

Source: Cyprus Mail

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