The Tech Island Association launched on Wednesday to bring together government, business and all other stakeholders in the eco-system : More than 65 tech companies based in Cyprus have come together to create a unified voice for the sector.
The objective is to build clear roadmap for making Cyprus into a regional technology hub, and to provide leadership and direction on all strategic issues; a conference announcing the launch was held in Limassol on Wednesday.
“This is about creating new, innovative companies that can operate on a global scale in the digital economy,” explains Stylianos Lambrou, entrepreneur and founder of the Heart Group, in a speech at the conference. “It is also about transforming traditional industries to guide Cyprus into a sustainable growth model.”
The organisation is already working closely with the Deputy Ministry for Research, Innovation and Digital Policy to create new programmes that will transform Cyprus into a global tech hub.
“I am confident that this organisation will play an instrumental role in promoting ICT, and not only ICT, but digitalisation across Cyprus industry, the economy and society. Its objectives are fully aligned with those of our ministry. This will raise our growth potential that leads to a sustainable competitive economy, and a more inclusive and resilient society,” commented Deputy Minister of Research, Innovation and Digital Policy Kyriakos Kokkinos in a speech at the conference.
“We are involved in building a technology hub for Cyprus and for the world,” noted Andreas Neocleous, CEO of Cyta, who is on the board of the group. “Cyta is working to ensure that Cyprus has the infrastructure needed to support this activity.”
The association will foster the development of SMEs and focus on high potential technology startups. This is a fundamental part of making Cyprus into a tech island.
“Cyprus already has become very appealing and has great potential for success,” insists Andrey Fadeev, CEO of the gaming giant Nexters which has an important presence of over 50 professionals on the island, and which Fadeev says will double next year. “And for us, I think this initiative shows that Cyprus has the commitment to realise this potential.”
The association also intends to bring in investment both from here and abroad. Attracting digital nomads will be equally important, as will establishing new digital industry verticals with the development of technology skills.
“We need to make a great transition, and this group is a great start for it,” adds Alexey Gubarev, founder of servers.com and one of the creators of Palta, a new generation of health ecosystem that focuses on the consumer.
The Association will also work to build bridges to other regions to create partnerships. “On the international level, we will integrate with tech groups from other regions. On the individual level, we intend to strengthen learning on all levels starting from kindergarten,” insists Lambrou.
The organisation will work on all levels, including empowering individuals with new skills.
“Individuals who manage products that are tech advanced will work together to create services and accelerate in making Cyprus a tech hub, a global tech island,” comments Paul Koronis, CEO of Getforward, a site dedicated to future learning.
Several major technology companies from Europe and large VC investors from a number of countries are also supporting the association.
“Inclusion is a key value of the association. It’s very important that we collaborate with all stakeholders of the system,” notes entrepreneur and the co-founder of 0100 Ventures Dusan Duffek.
The association will do much both to change the island’s economy, but also to bring forward its most robust companies and skilled workers. It will give Cyprus a chance to become the regional technology hub for which it has such potential.
“Cyprus has proven a great place to be in high tech,” concludes Arthur Mamedov, COO of the international media company “the soul publishing:” “This organisation will help make it into an international tech hub.”
“This is the first step,” comments Lambrou. “But this is years in preparation with all of the activities of the members and now with collaboration with the government and stakeholders we are confident in making Cyprus a global tech island,” Lambrou, who is the president of the association, concludes.