Startups4Peace, a competition and mini acceleration programme with mentoring support for start-ups, was launched on Thursday for the third consecutive year.
The aim is to bring communities of Cyprus together and encourage them to create joint start-ups, facilitate collaboration between start-ups from all sides, and inspire and provide the knowledge and the means to build and grow new business ventures using expertise from Finland and Cyprus.
The event offers a series of workshops, mentoring, and an opportunity to attend Slush, the leading start-up event in Helsinki, Finland, whose government funds Startup4Peace, with the Cyprus Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Commerce, Startup Cyprus, and Slush, as co-organisers.
Our aim now is to bring together people and entrepreneurs from the two communities and inspire them to set up joint start-ups, said Timo Heino, Ambassador of Finland to Cyprus, speaking at the launching event, that took place in Nicosia, on Thursday.
He noted that Finland has amazing success stories with start-ups.
The recipe is basically simple, it’s about creativity, inspiration and open-mindedness, about individuals working together, he said.
But as we have seen, it’s not enough, we know very well that in their first phases the start-ups need support and coaching, and this is exactly what we are doing, he added.
The Ambassador expressed hope that Startup4Peace will be one more step in building a better future and reuniting Cyprus, reiterating his country’s support for a solution of the Cyprus problem.
Phidias Pilides, President of the Cyprus Chamber of Commerce and Industry, noted that the encouragement of innovation and the creation of start-up enterprises should be among the priorities of every nation in its effort to compete successfully in the international arena that is characterised by fierce competition and the continuously changing environment.
He stressed that innovation and successful start-ups contribute to economic growth, job creation and the reduction of unemployment and can contribute significantly to the efforts for economic revival and sustainable growth.
Pilides pointed out that the creation of a bi-communal start-up ecosystem and of course the establishment of bi-communal start-ups that will bring together innovative youngsters from both communities before the solution will prove to be of immense importance after the solution as well, where trust, cooperation and common economic interests will be prerequisites as far as the viability of the solution is concerned.
The reunification, he said, will provide Cyprus with a unique opportunity to redesign and introduce new policies and measures that will boost entrepreneurship and generally the business sector. If we manage to create a framework that will be conducive to entrepreneurship and innovation, Cyprus will turn into a centre for business activity for both foreign and domestic enterprises, he noted.
Fikri Toros, President of the Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Commerce, noted that the reunification of the island will bring vast economic benefits to both communities, pointing out that the current state of affairs is a serious impediment to reaching our island’s full potential at both individual and communal levels.
He stressed that the reunification will not only boost the economic sectors, but will also bring new opportunities. A redesigned tourism strategy, opening up of new markets for trade, industry and shipping, new investment opportunities, and the realisation of the Eastern Mediterranean gas project are only a very few examples of such opportunities.
A politically stable Cyprus has the potential to become an international hub for entrepreneurship, commerce and shipping, he said.
The future Cyprus that we are trying to form, Toros said, will benefit from such start-up systems, through competitive environment, through local and international talent, access to venture capital, adequate level of educational infrastructure, international incubators and accelerators, access to added finance and access to international technology fairs and techno-parks, all of which will contribute significantly to our overall economic environment and social living standards.
Stavriana Kofteros, Cofounder of Startup Cyprus, a non-profit organisation, and Tunch Yalgin, member of the Startup Cyprus Team, explained the goal of the event, the process that will be followed for the selection of the finalists, the workshops and mentoring sessions for finalists, and the selection of the winners that will attend the Slush event in Helsinki.
Source: Cyprus News Agency