Speech of the Chief Scientist for Research and Innovation of the Cyprus Republic, Dr. Nikolas Mastroyiannopoulos at the ENTER EdTech Event: Where start-ups meet with educational technology | 6 October 2021

Dear guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is with great pleasure that I am addressing you at today’s event, which aims to promote entrepreneurial skills and create an entrepreneurial mindset in the education technology sector, through the EnterEdTech Project.

An EU co-funded project that aspires to improve the quality of entrepreneurship education by bringing together academic and industrial partners with entrepreneurial experience, empower undergraduate and postgraduate students, faculty members as well as university alumni to become educational technology entrepreneurs and upgrade the quality of innovative and impactful EdTech products.

At a time when education is undergoing fundamental change and the transition to a new way of thinking, is now more vital than ever, the success of the inspirers of this project in securing funding from the EU, is tangible proof of the high level of research work carried out in Cyprus. Therefore, allow me to congratulate you all and express my gratitude for your dedication and relentless efforts to boost innovative entrepreneurship in our country.

Distinguished guests,

Over the past few years, Cyprus has made a significant progress. In fact, in the European Innovation Scoreboard of 2021, Cyprus demonstrates the second-best improvement in the European Union and it is among the five top countries that improved their performance by over 25%.

The numbers showcase that we are on the right track, however, we still need to fully embrace innovation across the board, diversify the environment and develop the proper conditions that will infuse an entrepreneurial mindset and create new potential. Steps that will lead, eventually, to the creation of a vibrant ecosystem of startups and innovative enterprises.

To this end, the Cypriot Government has implemented a series of breakthrough reforms, that reflect its strong commitment to establish Research and Innovation as a fundamental base of a new growth model; one which, among others, is capable of expanding the productive base of the economy, creates multiple socio-economic benefits, fosters innovative entrepreneurship, accelerates the transition to green economy and increases efficiency through digitalisation. A priority that I deeply aspire to as the Chief Scientist of Research and Innovation and the Chairman of the Research and Innovation Foundation.

Having this in mind and as part of its commitment to support the local ecosystem and enhance the innovative entrepreneurship, the Research and Innovation Foundation has allocated a budget of over €20 million to start-ups and pioneering companies through its Innovation Programmes, for the creation and development of innovative products and services with international potential. The impact on the economy and society is already evident: Funding through the Programs led to the creation of a total of 188 new jobs, 86 of which in existing enterprises and 102 in startups.

Additionally, RIF launched its Bridge Funding programmes in past April with a total budget of €15 million, aiming to provide incentives for private and publicly-funded academic and research organisations to collaborate, while strengthening the competitiveness of the entire local ecosystem and increasing the critical mass of research activity in Cyprus.

Furthermore, through the Recovery and Resilience Plan, and the European Structural Funds, RIF is in the process of creating new funding programmes for the period 2021-2027, looking forward to supporting the Government’s targeted reforms as well as investment. In particular, the Government is planning to invest €283m from EU-backed recovery and resilience funds to transition into the digital era, with proposed actions, including, among other, the promotion of innovative entrepreneurship and the support of Small-Medium Enterprises as they make the digital transformation.

Dear members of the ENTER EdTech,

For us, through our different capacities under the umbrella of the Cyprus National Research and Innovation Governance System, but also for me personally, synergies, along with the development of a culture of creativity and innovation, are essentially the driving force behind the creation of a productive R&I environment. One that will strengthen the local ecosystem and lead to the development and commercialisation of value-added innovative products and services. An ecosystem that is fit-for-the-future and efficient, adding value horizontally across all sectors of the economy.

Acknowledging this, 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.

I truly believe that we all share the same vision and it is our common mission to seize the opportunities and contribute to the establishment of a competitive economy driven by technological development, research, scientific excellence and innovation.

Once again, I would like to congratulate all the participants and wish you every success. Your hard work is paving the path towards a bright future. A path that I am sure we will walk together, towards new and exciting opportunities.

Thank you.