Creating a digital hub

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Cyprus joined forces with international Information and Communications Technology companies to promote the island as an ideal destination for ICT companies to create jobs.

Under the agency’s auspices to attract foreign investors, Invest Cyprus and major ICT companies joined forces creating the Cyprus Tech Association.

The Cyprus Tech Association will provide a platform for all international ICT companies established in Cyprus to promote new opportunities and partnerships and work on ways to develop a regional hub.

The Association represents major international ICT firms operating in Cyprus, such as Kyriakos Kyriakou, General Manager at NCR, Yiannis Tinis, Head of Amdocs, Valentinos Polykarpou, Global HR Operations & Services of Wargaming, Avi Sela, CEO of eToro, Nick Galea, founder and CEO of 3CX.

In comments to the Financial Mirror, Kyriakou, chairman of CTA, said the Association was set up to table proposals on putting Cyprus on the map as a digital hub and ICT destination.

“As ICT companies, which have been here for some years now, we want to bring our experiences to the table to make things easier for more ICT companies to choose Cyprus as their base,” said Kyriakou.

He said tech firms in Cyprus, for anything from 7 decades to a few years, can benefit the sector by tabling their experiences with the tax regime, regulatory bodies, and other services.

“There is also a lot of experience gathered by companies who are active in the fintech sector.

“We want to collect all these experiences and put together a policy paper that will act as a guideline for authorities to form a more attractive and modern framework for these companies.”

He said that Cyprus has a lot to offer companies active in the ICT sector, from its geographical proximity to financial centres in the Middle East and Europe, a helpful tax regime, and talent despite it being a bit scarce.

“Although talent could be an inhibiting factor, Cyprus is tweaking its work visa schemes, making more room for people from the third countries with experience in the ICT sector.”

The Cyprus Tech Association is comprised of firms like NCR, present on the island for 66 years, to Israeli NASDAQ-listed Amdocs, present for over a decade and the more recent eToro.

Turning its focus to attracting ICT companies to relocate to the island, following the demise of the golden passport scheme, Invest Cyprus welcomed the Association’s formation.

“We hope this is another steppingstone to promote our country as an ideal destination for ICT companies, giving a push to the digitalisation process in Cyprus,” said George Campanellas, Invest Cyprus CEO.

To promote Cyprus abroad, Invest Cyprus launched a five-year action plan in 2019 focusing on three pillars.

“Acknowledging the need to diversify foreign investments made in Cyprus, we focused on bringing in Tech and Fintech companies and their executives.

Benefits

Benefits for the Cypriot economy are significant and horizontal and include an increase in the tax base, an increase in consumption and indirect taxes, support for the professional services and real estate sectors, and the creation of new jobs,” said Campanellas.

“To do this, we needed to spend time and energy on setting up an effective campaign marketing Cyprus as an ideal place for third-country companies to set up headquarters or an alternative EU base.”

He argued that bringing in such companies would push unemployment down, as they are expected to create jobs for Cypriots.

“Take AMDOCS, for example; they set up shop with just 15 employees and now employee some 1,000 people.”

The Israeli NASDAQ-listed company specialises in software and services for communications, media and financial services providers and digital enterprises.

Recently, Murex, one of the most important financial software producers in Europe, announced that they would be moving to Nicosia.

“No big investments are required to attract these companies, just a well-organised framework and supply of skilled manpower,” Campanellas said.

He argued Cyprus needs to invest in training young people in computer programming and other high-tech related professions.

“This means universities, the state school system to encourage people to not only pick up digital skills but go a step further in acquiring an education in the field.

“We are working closely with authorities and ministries involved, and we should be expecting good news soon regarding reforms governing these companies, which will make Cyprus more attractive for ICTs.”