We live in an era of innovation and many governmental institutions, organisations and private companies try to promote innovative products and services. These include selling of products around the world as entities seek to expand their activities in trade.

Those who watch YouTube, may know of the UK programme Dragons’ Den as well as those in the US, like Shark Tank, in Australia and other countries. Recently a contest of such a nature for innovative products and services was presented by Romania in the form of a competition with the organisers facilitating to open doors for contestants and put them in touch with parties who would be interested in their products.

During the competition there were around 80 applications by private companies who pitched their idea. After the presentations the applicants had to respond to questions, not only for their ideas to be understood, but also for their personality and their experience to be assessed. Their answers played a huge part in whether they were eligible.

There have been a couple of pitches regarding real estate in UK competitions, which failed tragically, being more theoretical than solid proposals.

In the Romanian competition, one participant was a Cypriot firm called Ask Wire. This company developed a database, including government data and from other sources, which can be used to predict the possible damage in areas of development, such as from earthquakes or flooding. This startup company’s programme is especially suitable for financiers, insurance companies, developers, real estate agents and others.

I watched the pitches of the most eligible 10 firms, which were shortlisted, and in the end Ask Wire got the first prize, which in addition to the publicity, should provide them access to an international network.

So a professional success from little Cyprus has been recognised, and I wonder why such events are not organised by Cyprus bodies, such as KEVE, OEV, the central bank and so on. This type of activity would help towards Cyprus becoming a financial centre.

In Cyprus some awards are given to various existing firms based on their income and activities and are export oriented, thus excluding innovative firms and startups.

Well done to Ask Wire, which will act as a beacon for others who might want to embark on this most competitive journey.

Antonis Loizou & Associates EPE – Real Estate Appraisers & Development Project Managers, www.aloizou.com.cy, [email protected]