Cyprus was recently given a vote of confidence at the recently held ‘Cyprus: the New Global Tech & Innovation Hub Summit’, with a panel of industry experts underscoring the country’s appeal for living, working, and conducting business.

Marianna Hadjiantoniou from Energame underscored the evolving needs of Generation Z, said that “Generation Z thinks and acts very differently than we did. Therefore, it is very important to provide them with flexibility.” Companies need to create an environment for them that ensures their growth, both personally and professionally.

Niki Ioannou-Handriotou of Cyta Business highlighted Cyprus’ technological infrastructure, said that “by the end of 2025, 100 per cent of the population will have 5G and fibre optic coverage,” and emphasised Cyprus’ position as a leading 5G provider in the EU, alongside its strategic location connecting Europe, the Middle East, and Asia.

Cyta has an extensive business continuity plan “to ensure that we are always connected”, she added.

Alexander Shkuratov, CEO and founder of The Island Private School in Limassol discussed the challenge of finding suitable private schools for employees’ children but noted ongoing efforts to address this issue, including initiatives like The Island Private School’s accelerator for student startups. He said, “A big limitation that we all have in Cyprus, fellow co-founders of IT companies, is that there is not enough space for children in schools. I estimate that in two or three years there will be enough space for everyone.”

Ines Karagianni of Pafilia Property Developers Ltd described Cyprus’ appeal beyond its natural beauty, emphasising its seamless process for investors to purchase luxury properties and its high-quality service providers. She said that the island has much more to offer than the typical “sea and sunshine” as it offers a complete package: the infrastructure, services and a luxury lifestyle.She said, “It is transparent and efficient and that is important.”

Alexey Gubarev, Co-Founder & Board Member at Palta highlighted Cyprus as an ideal destination for tech companies, stating that, “the island currently has human capital that is deeply devoted and skilled, with 2022 proving an amazing year for the country.” According to Gubarev, the war in Ukraine forced many companies to flee the country and Cyprus was one of the options on the table for relocation. And he said that being a tech hub, the country was an ideal destination.

Gubarev also expressed his concerns about the country’s banking sector, saying he hoped it would become even friendlier to the business world, especially when it comes to the ease of making transactions and the time it requires to complete them.

Roman Zanin, General Counsel, Tax & Compliance, shared Wargaming’s successful journey in establishing its presence in Cyprus, emphasising the island’s conducive environment for business operations and its growing video game industry.

He mentioned, “The biggest rush of relocations to the company’s Cyprus headquarters was recorded in 2022.” He said Wargaming employs around 450 people in Cyprus, of whom 40 per cent is local talent. Most of its staff specialises in software engineering and corporate services, he explained.

Zanin went on to describe the current landscape in the local video games industry, which is currently defined by a large community of game developers and higher budgets to develop games due to attracting significant investments.

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Pagratios Vanezis, Board Member of KPMG Limited, emphasised the importance of intellectual property (IP) protection in fostering innovation and attracting investment. He said, “The position that a strong intellectual property regime is a pillar of growth in an environment of technological evolution and innovation was expressed.”

The Cypriot entrepreneurship ecosystem and its integration into the wider European innovation landscape were also key topics of discussion. The speaker highlighted current trends in innovation and underlined the importance of promoting an enabling environment for entrepreneurship and technological progress.

He outlined Cyprus’ transition to a growing technology hub within the EU, driven by strategic national initiatives and the active participation of global ICT companies. Initiatives such as funding programmes, incubators, accelerators and regulatory reforms underline Cyprus’ commitment to fostering innovation and entrepreneurship, said Vanezis who presented valuable insights into the evolving technology and innovation landscape in Cyprus, highlighting the country’s efforts to become an innovation and entrepreneurship hub in Europe.

Vassilis Psyrras, Senior Associate at Elias Neocleous & Co LLC highlighted Cyprus’ legal framework, favourable corporate tax regime, and strong banking sector as factors contributing to its appeal for ICT and technology companies.

He mentioned, “Cyprus’ legal framework is geared to support its vision of becoming a leading international financial centre, particularly in banking, fintech and capital markets.”

“Cyprus is located at the crossroads of Europe, Asia and Africa, which makes it a strategic gateway for both businesses and governments. This geographical location has historically endowed Cyprus with significant strategic importance, which continues to influence its political and economic relations today,” he said initially.

“Cyprus’ strategic location, EU membership and legal system based on English common law together provide a strong foundation for its role as a regional economic leader and a central player in European and international affairs,” he added.

The favourable corporate tax regime, strong intellectual property protection, as well as strong banking, financial services and Fintech law are some of the reasons why the country is an ideal choice, he said, adding:

“Cyprus’ legal framework is geared to support its vision of becoming a leading international financial centre, particularly in banking, fintech and capital markets.”

By aligning its regulations with EU standards and promoting a business-friendly environment, Cyprus aims to attract global financial entities and technology-driven financial services companies, he said.

In addition, Cyprus has incorporated into its national legal framework several EU directives, which provide useful guidance and further strengthen the country’s legal framework, he said, elaborating on some of them.

Demetris Skourides, Chief Scientist Research and Innovation, discussed Cyprus’ research and innovation ecosystem, outlining the government’s vision to make Cyprus a dynamic and competitive economy.

Moreover, the government aims to promote e-government (IT systems, digital public services, cloud, etc.), modernisation of infrastructure and development of smart city solutions, which the Chief Minister focused on during his presentation. Connectivity on the island is also one of the great advantages of the country where it has also achieved firsts in Europe (5G) as well as the ideal climate for emerging technologies such as AI and blockchain, he said.

He later focused on the funding instruments designed to accelerate progress. His speech concluded with a resounding message to investors: Start, grow and develop your business in Cyprus.

Evgenios Evgenios, President of Invest Cyprus, presented an analysis of the investment environment and the investment sectors the country offers, affirming Cyprus’ position as an ideal hub for technology companies. He stated, “If you decide to consider Cyprus as your base, you are not coming here as part of an ad hoc decision; you are coming to an existing technology cluster that is already thriving.”

Charis Pistos, Director of the International Banking Division of the Bank of Cyprus, highlighted the institution’s leading position in the market and its strategic vision, emphasising its commitment to customer centricity and innovation. He mentioned, “As a pioneer in the evolving landscape of international banking, the institution continues to lead innovation and redefine banking standards in Cyprus and beyond.”

Nicodemos Damianou, Deputy Minister of Innovation, presented the government’s vision and policies to make Cyprus a dynamic and competitive economy driven by research, scientific excellence, innovation, technological development, and entrepreneurship. He stated, “With the digitisation of government services, Cyprus aims to enhance efficiency, transparency and accessibility, further enhancing its attractiveness as a destination for businesses and entrepreneurs.”

Marios Tannousis, CEO of Invest Cyprus, asserted Cyprus’ role as an ideal hub for technology companies and its stability in the region, stating, “Cyprus is the ideal hub for technology companies as it is a bridge between Europe, Asia and Africa, and despite being close to the Middle East, the island has not been affected by the turmoil.”