Cyprus is urged to take key steps in developing a knowledge-based tech economy, including establishing a business culture promoting innovation, implementing a supportive legal framework, investing in education, encouraging digital transformation, creating a venture capital fund, and focusing on developing local talent while attracting international expertise. The island’s potential as a tech hub and its unique position to become a regional center for innovation were emphasized by experts at the Economist Conference, who also announced the initiation of Cyprus’s first publicly-supported venture capital fund.
What are the key steps for Cyprus to develop a knowledge-based tech economy?
To develop a knowledge-based tech economy, Cyprus should:
1. Establish a business culture promoting innovation and explore funding, including small business loans.
2. Implement a supportive legal framework and proactive government support to prioritize tech innovation.
3. Invest in education and training for a skilled workforce.
4. Encourage digital transformation and take advantage of remote work trends.
5. Create a venture capital fund for early-stage innovations.
6. Focus on developing local talent and expertise while attracting international tech expertise.
Cyprus, an island with great promise as a technological destination, is urged to intensify efforts to develop a knowledge-based economy. This was the consensus at the Economist Conference, where several technology and business experts provided insights on the necessary steps to create a thriving tech ecosystem.
Cultivating a Business Culture and Funding
Ioannis Petris, CEO of Athlos Capital, underscored Cyprus’s potential as a tech hub. However, he pointed out that several foundational elements must be established first. Creating a business culture that encourages innovation, exploring various funding avenues, and addressing the shortage of small business loans are pivotal steps. Petris highlighted the importance of a stable influx of skilled STEAM graduates and a strong research and innovation culture to support this transformation.
Legal Framework and Government Support
Addressing the current technological landscape, Petris outlined two critical areas: a supportive legal framework and proactive government support. He advocated for a paradigm shift that places technological innovation at the forefront of Cyprus’s agenda. Itai Green, founder and CEO of Innovate Israel, emphasized the role of collaboration between the public and private sectors in digitizing government services, suggesting that governments should create conditions in which the private sector and innovation thrive.
The Significance of Education
Demetris Spentzas, CTO of Ambience, discussed the essential role of education in fostering a diverse and innovative economy. Before digitizing, he argued that organizations need to transform their processes and mindset, making full use of digital tools to enhance efficiency.
Innovation Opportunities and Remote Work
Elena Pantazi, a partner at Northzone, acknowledged the global uncertainty around funding but noted Cyprus’s unique position to capitalize on innovation opportunities. She pointed out the trend of remote work and cited Cyprus as an enticing location for creating distributed teams.
Cyprus as a Regional Innovation Hub
Experts agreed that Cyprus must invest in education and training, embrace digital transformation, and create an environment conducive to innovation. Given Cyprus’s access to the EU market and its proximity to Israel’s startup ecosystem, the island is viewed as having a unique opportunity to become a regional center for technological innovation.
Cyprus’ First Publicly-Supported Venture Capital Fund
Demetrios Zoppos, founder of 33East, announced the initiation of Cyprus’s first publicly-supported venture capital fund, selected by the European Investment Fund. The fund aims to bridge a market gap by providing capital to early-stage innovations. Zoppos identified the need for a new entrepreneurial model and emphasized that Cyprus has to overcome an innovation gap in the early stages of venture creation.
Developing Local Talent and Expertise
Zoppos cautioned that the Cypriot ecosystem is currently dominated by technology firms that were established elsewhere and then moved to Cyprus. He advocated for a shift in focus from simply attracting foreign companies to cultivating local talent and expertise. To achieve this, the island must attract international tech expertise, develop local talent, provide incentives for tech investments, diversify funding sources, reduce bureaucracy, and establish networks connecting founders with investors.
About the Author
Kyriacos Nicolaou has been a part of Cyprus Mail since 2020 and later transitioned to the business & finance section, where he focuses on local businesses, emerging startups, economic issues, and technological advancements.
The article highlights several key lessons for Cyprus to learn in order to develop a knowledge-based tech economy:
Establish a business culture promoting innovation: Cyprus needs to foster a business culture that encourages innovation and creativity. This includes exploring various funding options, such as small business loans, to support tech startups and entrepreneurs.
Implement a supportive legal framework and proactive government support: To prioritize tech innovation, Cyprus must create a supportive legal framework and provide proactive government support. This includes collaborating with the private sector to digitize government services and creating conditions that encourage innovation.
Invest in education and training: Education plays a crucial role in developing a diverse and innovative economy. Cyprus needs to invest in education and training programs that equip the workforce with the skills needed for the tech industry.
Encourage digital transformation and embrace remote work: Cyprus should embrace digital transformation and take advantage of the trend of remote work. This allows for the creation of distributed teams and opens up opportunities for innovation.
Create a venture capital fund for early-stage innovations: To bridge the market gap and support early-stage innovations, Cyprus needs to establish a venture capital fund. This fund will provide much-needed capital to startups and entrepreneurs in the early stages of their venture.
Focus on developing local talent and expertise: Instead of solely relying on attracting foreign companies, Cyprus should focus on developing local talent and expertise. This can be achieved by attracting international tech expertise, providing incentives for tech investments, diversifying funding sources, and establishing networks connecting founders with investors.
By following these lessons, Cyprus can position itself as a regional center for technological innovation and create a thriving knowledge-based tech economy.