A role model start-up that achieved international success with EU funds
The key to a successful business is the combination of a number of factors: a great idea, a need in the market, knowledge and expertise of the inventor, investments, strategic collaborations and passion for work. All these factors made Engino a successful role model for startups in Cyprus and abroad.
Engino is a multi-awarded three dimensional educational construction toy for children and adults which comprises of multifaceted plastic rods and connectors that can create both simple and complex designs using very few parts and components. Engino.net Ltd was founded in 2004 by then Design and Technology Coordinator, Costas Sisamos.
Costas noticed that students had trouble building models by gluing wooden sticks together and realized that he needed to find an easier and faster way to do this. So he came up with the idea of using a system of connectors that would allow the student to put the sticks together without the use of glue.
When the company received funding from the Ministry of Industry and EU grants from the Research Promotion Foundation, Costas devoted himself in designing, prototyping and testing before he launched the first sets of Engino in 2007.
Today, seven years later, the social, economic and industrial benefits Engino offers are significant not only for Cyprus but for Europe as well. The product is a great tool to help children develop certain skills that can turn them into young inventors. Since it is exported in over 15 countries we can proudly say that a Cypriot product is used for the education of children abroad. One of the most astonishing accomplishments was the set-up of a factory in Limassol, creating so far almost 40 job positions (full time and part time) in Cyprus. The factory is now a production role model for other companies abroad.
Recently, Engino Ltd presented its Engino Robotics Platform (ERP) and programming software for which it received funding from the European Union that currently offers opportunities through the Startup Europe initiative. Startup Europe is the European Commission Digital Agenda action plan which is supported by Vice President NeelieKroes.
The objective is to strengthen the business environment for web and ICT startups in Europe, contribute to innovation, growth and job creation and promote web and ICT entrepreneurs to start their business in Europe and to let them flourish.
When asked about ICT/web entrepreneurship, Costas says: "To develop a new IT product there is low initial investment as there is no need for machines or tooling to produce. Therefore, the only cost you will have is software licenses, some PCs and a lot of man hours. IT development has a very personal character and usually it is not possible for a programmer to continue another programmer's work unless there is a leader who supervises the development and understands the languages used. That’s why entrepreneurship is a good option for anyone who has an innovative ICT/web product idea.
My advice is simply: Keep your head in the clouds and your feet on the ground”.
If you have an innovative ICT/web and you are interested in following the steps of Engino in entrepreneurship in Cyprus you will find these steps very useful:
a. Contact an accelerator – An accelerator will prepare you to pitch your idea, mentor you throughout your journey and get you in touch with potential investors. Such accelerators are:
• Cyprus Business Angels Networks (http://cyban.com.cy/)
• Cypriot Enterprise Link (http://www.projectcel.com/)
• Chrysalis Leap (http://chrysalisleap.com/)
• Repower Cyprus (http://www.repowercyprus.com/)
b. Participate in a startup event
• Hack Cyprus
• Startup Weekend
• Startup Live
• Lean Startup Machine
c. Benefiting from a funding like the European Commission funding for SMEs under Horizon2020 (http://ec.europa.eu/easme/sme_en.htm)
For further information about Engino please visit: www.engino.com / www.enginorobotics.com / https://www.facebook.com/enginotoys/ / https://www.youtube.com/user/enginotoysystem
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