Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou, easyJet founder and president of the Stelios Philanthropic Foundation, has awarded young entrepreneurship in Cyprus for the first time, dishing out a total of €60,000 to three young nominees from a total of 23 participants.

The awards were presented on Friday at the foundation’s HQ in Nicosia’s old town where Sir Stelios congratulated the three winners through Zoom.

First prize of €30,000 was awarded to Theodoros Panayides for the restaurant ‘Stavros in Pedoulas, while the second prize of €20,000 was given to Hasan Siber for the olive oil production company ‘Colive Ltd’ and the third award of €10,000 went to Eudokia Hadjiadamos for the ‘Luluki Coffee and Donuts Shop’ in Aglandjia.

Rena Rouvitha-Panou, a board member of the foundation presented the awards.

According to an announcement, the ‘Stavros’ restaurant had been a dream of Theodoros Panayides who turned it into reality. The restaurant, located in Pedoulas, serves traditional Cypriot recipes. Panayides said the prize money would contribute to expansion with a focus on promoting Cypriot tradition and culture.

“With a vision of a more peaceful world, Colive Ltd produces extra virgin olive oil from olives that thrive on both sides of the island,” the foundation announcement said of the company founded by Hasan Siber, the second prize winner.

“The goal is economic cooperation between the two communities through the production of olive-based products,” it added.

All proceeds from production are dedicated to building a larger community of farmers and food producers in conflict areas, with the ultimate goal of promoting global peace, Siber said.

The third prize of €10,000 for the ‘Luluki’ coffee shop in Aglandjia, Nicosia was given to Eudokia Hadjiadamos. According to the foundation the establishment combines classic and unconventional flavours, as well as offering vegan options and dishes such as ‘donut pancakes’, ‘sweet donut burgers’, and ‘donut sandwiches’.

During the ceremony, Sir Stelios said that for the first time, his foundation was awarding young entrepreneurship in Cyprus.

“We have chosen three worthy consumer facing start-ups, two of which are in the hospitality sector and one in the production of top-quality agricultural products for retail,” he said.

“The fact that one of the three winners runs a business in my late father’s homeland, Pedoulas, makes today’s award ceremony even more special,” he added.

Also, the owner of Colive Ltd is a long-standing friend of the foundation, as his awarded company today is a thriving business registered in the Republic of Cyprus that contributes to the development of the country’s economy and has been previously honoured as part of the Stelios bi-communal awards.”

The aim of the “Stelios Awards for Young Entrepreneurs” is to become an institution in Cyprus, running alongside the Stelios Bi-Communal Awards, which have been honouring bi-communal business cooperation since 2009 and will be back in November with invitations to bi-communal businesses to apply for the award due to take place in March 2024.