It is with great pleasure that I address you today, at this workshop organised for the applicants who managed to secure a place at the second stage of evaluation of the PRE-SEED Programme of the Research and Innovation Foundation (RIF).
This workshop is organised under RIF’s new Innovation Factory, an initiative I strongly believe in and actively support by placing it under the auspices of the Office of the Chief Scientist.
The vision for the Innovation Factory is to provide specially designed 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 development of the ecosystem. In a nutshell, it is an initiative aimed at supporting you – aspiring entrepreneurs ready to take over the world.
Organising such events, like today’s workshop, is part of the overall effort to evolve our culture to operate and think differently. Committed to this effort, the RIF has allocated 24m Euros in the last year through its Innovation Programmes to support the creation and development of startups and existing innovative enterprises to internationalize.
The RIF’s Innovation Programs have a direct impact on the real economy. Already 12m Euros have been provided to 63 companies so far, 19 of which are new startups. The program leverages an additional investment by the companies themselves of over 5m Euros. The overall investment of 17m Euros, adds 89 new jobs in the country. In fact, the expected multiplier effect of the RIF’s Innovation Programs in the economy is on the worst-case scenario, 3 times the investment, telling of the real impact in the economy.
Our objective is not only for you to secure the funding from the RIF. This should be merely the starting point. You need to think big and think ahead, having in mind the opportunities offered through the European Innovation Council, international VCs and beyond.
The objective of this workshop is to help you really grasp what pitching is all about, what you can expect from jury members and potential investors in the future. As Chief Scientist and Chairman of the RIF, I understand that changing our overall culture and becoming familiar with such processes is no small task, but we are committed to making it happen. And in order to do this, we need your contribution.
To this end, I encourage you to make today count, be present and be active. This workshop is not only important for you, the companies here today, but also for the wider ecosystem in the effort to unlock the potential we have as a country to play a leading role in the development of cutting-edge and high-growth innovative businesses, strengthening the position of Cyprus as a Research and Innovation hub.