The Cyprus problem may have come to an end for many – at least as we know it today – but many young women and young people from both sides continue to work together in various fields, sending the message that one is the political problem and the other the cooperation between them. So two friends, Burak and Steven, decided to invest in the partnership by founding the first bi-communal digital platform for networking Cypriot businessmen. The goal, as Burak reports on Politis.com.cy, is for young entrepreneurs and people who want to be involved in innovation to come together and work together.
What is CyprusInno?
CyprusInno was founded in September 2016 and has since evolved into an award-winning social venture working to build a business ecosystem across the island in Cyprus through a hybrid platform of digital tools and live events. With the vision of creating a socially and economically better Cyprus, CyprusInno is committed to connecting entrepreneurs across the island and providing them with tools that will lead them to success.
You are now working with another organization, CYENS. What exactly is it?
CYENS (formerly RISE Ltd.) was born in 2018 from a small group of employees, however by the end of 2020 it already employed 85 researchers and support staff. CYENS is the Center for Research in Excellence and Innovation in Information and Communication Technologies and focuses on interactive media, smart systems and emerging technologies, while integrating academic research and marketable technological innovations to ensure economically viable, sustainable development of Cyprus. CYENS funding comes mainly from two sources: a) the European Union Horizon 2020 research and innovation program and the Government of the Republic of Cyprus through the Ministry of Research, Innovation and Digital Policy.
You are one of the co-founders of CyprusInno and a partner of CYENS. What exactly are the goals?
First of all, as one of the co-founders of CyprusInno, the day-to-day work involves constantly creating programs and opportunities for entrepreneurs across the island to help them connect, collaborate and grow with the ultimate vision that is nothing more than encouraging collaboration. all over the island. In addition, as Head of Entrepreneurship Community at CYENS, my role is to guide, manage and ensure the delivery of a comprehensive program of entrepreneurship development activities aimed at a wide range of audiences throughout the island, with the primary goal of developing Research, Technology Development and Innovation Capacity (RTDI).
How is your collaboration and how did you meet Steven?
In mid-2016, we connected with Steven Stavrou on the internet after he read an article about me about the launch of the first online startup community in the north. We then exchanged emails and, realizing that we were both researching a similar idea of supporting and promoting intercommunity businesses with the same vision, the emails turned into frequent Skype sessions until we created and launched CyprusInno.com in September 2016. That was when we developed the platform by first collaborating virtually, and finally met in person for the first time in our Inter-Communal Business Mixer in December 2016, which was also CyprusInno's first Dead Zone event under the auspices of the United Nations.
You were recently in France representing Cyprus. What more happened there and on what occasion?
On the occasion of the French Presidency of the Council of the EU, the “Forum des Mondes Méditerranéens” was organized by the Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs, on the initiative of the President of the French Republic Emmanuel Macron, between February 7-8. It brought together civil society actors from Mediterranean countries who submitted proposals and developed their project ideas in six important areas: Environment, economy, education, integration culture and territorial action. The selection of participants in this Forum was made by the French Institute of Cyprus and 200 people involved with the public in their countries tried to submit ideas and solutions to the problems that arise in the above categories.