Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is with great pleasure that I address you all today at this webinar for startups and innovative enterprises of the local R&I ecosystem with special focus on the beneficiaries of the PRE-SEED and SEED Programs of the Research and Innovation Foundation.
The webinar aims to tackle the main growth challenges of a startup and provide insights and useful information on the transformation of an idea into a product and the key stages of scaling up.
As you already know, this event is organised under the “Innovation Factory”, an initiative I strongly believe in and actively support, having placed it under the auspices of the Office of the Chief Scientist. Our vision for the Innovation Factory, is to provide custom workshops, mentoring and coaching services to startups and innovative companies, innovation capacity assessment services to businesses, networking with investors and other events to support the growth of the ecosystem. It is an initiative aimed at supporting entrepreneurs such as yourselves, who are ready to take over the world.
Organising events like today’s workshop, is part of an overall effort to shift our mindset and develop a new culture and modus operanti where we operate and think differently.
As part of its commitment to support the local ecosystem and to enhance the innovative entrepreneurship, the RIF has allocated a budget of over €20 million through its Innovation Programs to 85 startups and innovative enterprises, exclusively for the creation and the development of innovative products and services with significant potential to penetrate the international market. The impact on the economy and society is already evident: Funding through the Innovation Programs led to the creation of a total of 188 new jobs, 86 of which in existing enterprises and 102 in startups.
Cyprus has achieved significant progress in the area of research and innovative entrepreneurship. In fact, in the European Innovation Scoreboard of 2020, Cyprus demosntrates the second-best improvement in the European Union and it is among the five top countries that improved their performance by over 25%.
Furthermore, Cyprus’ success in securing funding from “Horizon 2020”, is a testament to the high level of Research and Innovation activities carried out in our country, with members of the Cypriot academic, research and business communities, absorbing more than €290 million.
The numbers demonstrate that we are on the right track to reach new markets and increase our country’s competitiveness. However, we still need to fully embrace innovation across the board, further diversify the economy and develop the proper conditions that will infuse an entrepreneurial mindset and create new prospects, leading to the growth of a vibrant and dynamic ecosystem of startups and innovative enterprises.
We remain committed to implementing the national strategy, placing particular emphasis on supporting innovative entrepreneurs and our country’s younger generation. They are, after all, the future of Cyprus.
Synergies, and the development of a culture of creativity and innovation, are the driving force behind the creation of a productive R&I environment, leading to the growth of a robust ecosystem. An ecosystem that is fit-for-the-future, able to transform the best ideas of our talented community into world-class innovative services and products, adding value horizontally across all sectors of the economy and utilizing opportunities for socioeconomic prosperity. Creating new jobs, offering easier access to the various services, and attracting investments, leading to our country’s sustainable development.
I am confident that we all share the same vision, and we all acknowledge what research, innovation and technology are capable of offering. Our mission is to contribute to the greatest extent possible to the creation of a dynamic and competitive economy driven by research, scientific excellence, innovation, entrepreneurship and technological development, establishing Cyprus as a vibrant regional hub.
The time to leverage our strengths, to think big and to map the path towards a bright future, driven by a restless spirit of curiosity and passion is now. As Steve Jobs used to say, “the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do”. Let’s all grasp the opportunities and get ready to embark into the future, by building the world of tomorrow, today.