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Invest Cyprus: Bringing in developers for the Cyprus tech hub

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Invest Cyprus CEO George Campanellas

“If Cyprus is to be competitive in attracting international ICT companies, there must be a coordinated effort not only by the competent ministries’ departments and regulators, but also by the local industry and all related stakeholders. This is what happens in other EU countries, and, for the first time, Cyprus is taking the same kind of approach and as the plan for Cyprus 2035 shows, there is no time to waste.”

How is Invest Cyprus helping to build a tech hub here?

“It is now clearer than ever that the establishment of ICT companies in Cyprus can only benefit the island. Tech companies offer multiple advantages to our country, as they horizontally contribute across all sectors, by creating new jobs, adding value to the economy and increasing the tax base. Growing the cluster of international tech companies is the spearhead of our strategy since 2019 and over the last 30 months we have been putting most of our resources in this respect and always in line with our 5-fold mandate, which includes:

  • creating awareness and promoting Cyprus as a tech hub internationally;
  • contacting Business Development in target-markets abroad;
  • providing Facilitation and support to newcomers;
  • providing Aftercare services to existing international companies;
  • proposing reforms and new incentives through our Advocacy Role

“Despite the pandemic over the last 15 months and the overall slowdown in FDI projects, the results of our efforts are positive and very promising for the future. The ICT cluster is gradually increasing as notable scale up of operations of the existing companies is taking place. At the same time, Invest Cyprus has an instrumental role in supporting the arrival of several new international companies to the island. The recent announcement of the French software development giant Murex to add a physical presence in Cyprus, as well as the decision of Brain Rocket to establish a development unit in our island, reflect the potential of Cyprus to become a growing tech centre.”

What recent changes driven by Invest Cyprus have made it more attractive to developers coming to work here? Do you have further changes in the pipeline to make the island more attractive for skilled programmers?

“As the state entity promoting the country’s business and investment policy abroad, our aim is clearly to establish Cyprus as a world-class destination for international ICT companies, and by achieving this goal will add value to our economy and guide the transformation of our country into a worldclass international business centre.

“As part of our advocacy role, Invest Cyprus works closely with the relevant Ministries and government bodies, proposing reforms and new incentives. Our core suggestion for adopting new relocation and immigration incentives for non-EU specialists within 20 in total ICT professions has already been adopted, when the ‘Category 3’ was created last October, allowing for easy relocation of hundreds of skilled employees. “At the same time the outcome of the comprehensive sectorial study contacted in collaboration with Ernest & Young has been utilised for drafting a holistic plan to support further the reshaping of the operating framework for the international ICT companies. The results of this project have also been available to the Cyprus Economy and Competitiveness Council an independent advisory body responsible for drafting the longterm growth strategy, the ‘Vision 2035’.

“Our aim is clearly to make Cyprus more attractive to both existing international high-tech companies for scaling up their operations and to newcomers to relocate to our island. Our emphasis is given in doing more for tech workers to feel at home.”

How does Cyprus Tech Association fit in the plans of Invest Cyprus for developing the country into a tech hub?

“If Cyprus is to be competitive in attracting international ICT companies, there must be a coordinated effort not only by the competent ministries’ departments and regulators, but also by the local industry and all related stakeholders. This is what happens in other EU countries, and, for the first time, Cyprus is taking the same kind of approach and as the plan for Cyprus 2035 shows, there is no time to waste. “In this context and as part of a larger state driven plan to develop the country as a tech hub, Invest Cyprus encouraged the foundation of the Cyprus Tech Association, which provides the right platform for all international ICT companies established in Cyprus to discuss and address common challenges. It also constitutes a formal representation of its members to all forums and offers direction on key strategic issues, including the economic importance of the sector and policy advocacy. “Members of the Cyprus Tech Association can offer their experiences and market knowhow for addressing the challenges phased by the Cyprus-based international ICT community. They promote dialogue within the industry, while working collectively to deal and resolve several critical challenges that will positively impact the tech ecosystem, bridging the gap between the public sector and private initiatives.”

What are the biggest challenges Invest Cyprus face in materialising its plans to make Cyprus a tech hub?

“Cyprus is well positioned to cater for the needs of international ICT companies looking for a European location to base their global operations. But we need to continuously monitor competition, examine our FDI framework and quickly adopt new incentives to be in the frontline to first retain and then attract more international business and foreign investment. “At the same time, we need as a country to invest more financial and human resources in international promotion activities and business development and seek ways to establish and maintain more active presence in major financial hubs and target markets.”

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