“Our vision is to create a sustainable growth environment that is driven by research, innovation, and technological advancement. This means creating a new incentives framework for science and technology companies. And this framework consists of four pillars: The institutional environment, access to human capital, upgrading our infrastructure, and of course, building brand Cyprus as a favorite destination for science and tech companies,” Stelios D. Himonas, permanent secretary at the Deputy Ministry for Research, Innovation and Digital Policy, in a speech at an Invest Cyprus conference, “Cyprus, an ideal location for ICT companies,” on Wednesday.
In fact, Cyprus is an ideal location for ICT companies and their headquarters, Himonas explains. “Because of its location, it offers access to high growth markets. Because of our size, we can be a sandbox for new emerging technologies. And we are also an international broadband connectivity hub, with submarine cables connecting site pros to the major internet hubs in Europe.
Our vision is to create a sustainable growth environment that is driven by research, innovation, and technological advancement. This means creating a new incentives framework for science and technology companies. And this framework consists of four pillars: The institutional environment, access to human capital, upgrading our infrastructure, and of course, building brand Cyprus as a favorite destination for science and tech companies.”
First of all, the government is trying make it easy for people to come and work in Cyprus.
“We are institutionalizing the digital nomad visa and the EU blue card. This means, giving the right to live and work in Cyprus to qualified professionals as an EU country. We are making it easy to acquire work permits by simplifying and digitalising the processes. We are also revising the naturalisation process. And we’re considering a reduction of the legal residence time. We may reduce the current seven years required to obtain naturalisation to five years – this is just being discussed.
We will be granting work permits to spouses as well, to make it easy for families to relocate here in Cyprus. We are also working toward creating a favorable tax framework for both individuals and companies.”
The government is also working to build the talent pool on the island.
“Also with regard to enhancing the available talent here in Cyprus, we have programs to upskill and reskill professionals putting emphasis on transversal skills as well. We are promoting STEM education and also professional certifications. And we are working with our universities and the industry to adjust the university curriculum to fit industry needs.”
One of the government’s major areas of focus is to transform Cyprus into a digital place.
“We have taken many initiatives: We have introduced e-signatures, and completed the eID framework. We are looking to digitalise the justice system in Cyprus. With regard to creating a digital ecosystem, we are transforming the way we operate. We are adopting a cloud first policy, including a lot of emphasis on cyber security and emerging technologies. And we are also upgrading our connectivity and our telecom infrastructures. We have a plan to connect every household with fiber and also to cover every organised community with 5G networks.”
The government is industrialising the delivery and production of such services by creating a digital services factory, which will use agile methodologies.
“For that purpose, we are also creating a single point of access to government services and to the websites of the government along the lines of Capital UK. And we are cooperating with the government digital service of the UK for this project.
In a nutshell, in our national Resilience and Recovery Plan (RRP), we have included projects of over €280 million for the digital transition, which is one of the major pillars of the RRP. And we are also planning to for projects are more than €300 million from national funds for ICT projects.”
The plan includes improvements for the investors journey, Himonas notes.
“We will promote the simplification and digitalisation of all business-related processes. We are creating a digital platform for innovative startups and hig- tech companies. We have a bill currently in parliament to support strategic investors, and we are also updating our Company’s law.
And we are introducing a one-stop shop to support businesses that wish to relocate in Cyprus.
With all of this, why not jump into doing business in Cyprus,” Himonas asks.