Cyprus improves digital game

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Cyprus is fine-tuning its digital game as it enhances cooperation with neighbouring Israel, an established innovation hub and start-up hatching ground, to become an attractive techno-destination.

The Deputy Ministry of Innovation has taken its cooperation with Israel in the field of technology and entrepreneurship a step further, launching a training program for stakeholders to boost the Innovation ecosystem in Cyprus.

With its innovation ecosystem still in its infancy, the country’s authority on digital policies believes that Cyprus has a lot to gain from the Israeli experience.

In a bid to import know-how and knowledge from Israel, the Chief Scientist for Research and Innovation (R&I) and the Research and Innovation Foundation (RIF), in cooperation with Mashav – Israel’s Agency For International Development Cooperation – launched the “Training the Trainers: Innovation & Entrepreneurship for Cyprus” course.

In comments to the Financial Mirror Deputy Minister of Innovation, Kyriacos Kokkinos said Cyprus wants to feed off Israel’s valuable know-how and experience to create its own Innovation environment where creative ideas flourish at every level.

“The Training the Trainers course is a thought-provoking program which provides a “360o experience” of the Israeli research, innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem.

“This initiative, as well as a number of other initiatives in the pipeline, are of the highest value for our Cypriot ecosystem,” said Kokkinos.

He explained how “the support we’ve been receiving in the last few years from Israel has been instrumental in the implementation of our national Strategy on R&I, at all levels and for all components and actors of our ecosystem”.

The course aims at providing stakeholders from Cyprus a unique opportunity to gain a holistic view of Israel’s experience in the quest for developing a successful innovation and entrepreneurship landscape.

The program includes six on-line lectures from distinguished Israeli speakers addressing issues related to the development of innovation support structures such as accelerators/incubators, technology parks and technology transfer offices, attracting investments, establishing state-of-the-art innovation support measures.

Kokkinos said this latest endeavour is another step in a long list of agreements made in the field as cooperation with Israel is considered a priority.

Most notably Israel’s innovation ecosystem today is one of the most successful in the world, Israel is world-renowned as the ‘start-up nation’.

Its successful innovation drive is the result of a collaboration between the state, venture capital firms, successful entrepreneurs, the education system, business, incubators, and accelerators.

The Cypriot research and business community can take advantage of deepening relations with Israel or other advanced states in R&I through the exchange of knowledge and good practices for developing an innovative entrepreneurship ecosystem, exploiting the research results but also creating business opportunities.

World-class leader

“Israel is a world-class leader in innovation, technology and entrepreneurship, with notable successes across the whole spectrum of the relevant activity.

“Cyprus, on the other hand, demonstrates a fast-growing entrepreneurial ecosystem…drawing from the experience of our neighbouring state, can only act as a lever for growth”.

The Deputy Ministry of Innovation believes continuous strengthening of the links between the R&I ecosystems of the two countries can lay the foundations for transforming Cyprus into a regional innovation hub.

Kokkinos said working with Israel to establish collaborative networks and regional knowledge hubs, could promote Cyprus as an international business centre, as well as a regional hub for high-tech, research and innovation (R&I).

“However, without the existence of an innovation ecosystem, it is very difficult to encourage the creation of innovative enterprises and thus, the development of innovative products.”

The Deputy Minister said it is fundamental that national authorities, main stakeholders in innovation take the lead in building an Innovation System in Cyprus which will encourage, enable innovative enterprises and innovative products to flourish.

The ministry is putting its money on academic and scientific collaboration with the EU, international partners, and key regional players and cross-fertilisation of their respective R&I ecosystems.

Kokkinos said the training program is designed to target innovation stakeholders in Cyprus, such as national innovation authorities, local incubators and accelerators, Research Centres, Innovation Hubs and start-up owners.

Kokkinos said that the authority is working on drawing up Bilateral Cooperation Agreements in the R&I field for common funding of R&I projects with other countries.

“Interconnecting our two ecosystems and broadening our collaboration, therefore, comes as a natural choice for both countries. 

“Israel is always searching for leading-edge scientists and the expansion and internationalisation of their ecosystem while Cyprus aspires to become a regional hub in these strategic fields, which can contribute significantly to a new, more sustainable economic model for our country.” 

The process of enhancing cooperation between the R&I ecosystems of Israel and Cyprus will be a continuous process.

“Creating the foundations of a joint entrepreneurship ecosystem could create opportunities for successful Cypriot start-ups entering the Israeli ecosystem – ‘made in Cyprus & packaged in Israel’. 

“On the other hand, Israeli start-ups could take advantage of the benefits of Cyprus, such as links to the EU, international workforce, links to the Arab world,” the ministry told the Financial Mirror.