The inaugural TechIsland Awards will be presented soon. They aim to recognise and reward the achievements of leaders, projects and companies on the thriving local tech scene. TechIsland board members Alexey Gubarev and Andreas Neocleous speak to GOLD about the aims and significance of the Awards.
The first ever TechIsland Awards are coming up. Can you tell us more about why your association decided to create the Awards and why you consider them to be an important addition to the local tech Scene?
A.G. We decided to create the TechIsland Awards to recognize and celebrate the achievements of leaders and companies in the local tech scene. I believe that the TechIsland Awards will help to promote a culture of progress and innovation. By recognizing the achievements of leaders, projects and companies, we hope to inspire others to strive to pursue goals and push the boundaries of what is possible in the tech industry. Also, the TechIsland Awards provide a networking opportunity for those in the industry. Bringing together the top minds in the tech scene would help foster collaboration and idea-sharing, which can lead to new innovations and breakthroughs.
How has the tech community responded to the announcement of the TechIsland Awards?
A.N. The response was very positive. The Awards aim to be a celebration of the tech community, a great opportunity to bring forward and shine the spotlight on individuals, projects and companies that are shaping the tech and innovation landscape of Cyprus. Our industry is booming, and the fact that TechIsland counts over 260 members is a testament to that. Cyprus is on the road to becoming an international tech hub and we should recognize the excellent work that iis being done towards this goal.
What are some of the qualities the jury looked for when selecting the winning individuals and organisations?
A.G. The jury will likely look for several essential qualities. One of the critical criteria is innovations that a company or entrepreneur could implement in a particular field. The second criterion is the impact on the IT industry in Cyprus. This could include factors such as the number of people impacted, the breadth of influence, and the long-term effects of their work. Third, the jury may look for entrepreneurs with strong leadership skills, such as leading successful projects, inspiring and mentoring others, or advocating for important causes. Finally, collaboration is also an important thing to achieve common goals. This could include collaborations with other organizations, academic institutions, or government agencies.
Can you tell us more about the Award categories?
A.N. In this year’s awards we have set categories aiming to recognize and celebrate those whose efforts are contributing to making Cyprus a world-class hub for tech and innovation. Each category has a different set of criteria and specific factors that define excellence and what makes each nominee eligible to win each given award. These categories were set in a way to demonstrate the tech industry’s incredible impact across different sectors: education, economy, society, and so on.
Going back to the basics. Why, when and why was TechIsland formed and how many members do you currently have?
A.G. As technology evolves, Cyprus must keep pace with the rapid changes to stay competitive in the global marketplace. TechIsland was founded in the spring of 2021 to provide a unified voice for the industry in a dialogue with the government. For now, the organization has over 270 member companies employing over 27 000 people in Cyprus and over 35 000 in other countries. By bringing together diverse companies from the tech sector, we can advocate for policies and regulations that support innovation, investment, and growth in the industry. Beyond that, TechIsland can turn Cyprus into a world-class destination for talent. By providing a platform for collaboration and knowledge-sharing among industry players, our organization can promote entrepreneurship and innovation by providing training, mentoring, and funding opportunities for startups and small businesses.
Where do you see TechIsland in five years? Are there any immediate plans you can reveal to us?
A.G. I believe TechIsland has a critical role to play in awareness of the opportunities and growth in the tech sector in Cyprus. In the next five years, I hope the organization will become more integrated, collaborative, and innovative to achieve its goals. The immediate plans are that TechIsland can continue to collaborate with the government to bring more effectiveness in the tech sector.
A.N. What do you consider to be some of the benefits to companies joining TechIsland?
TechIsland has a comprehensive, targeted and personalised membership model, offering various benefits based on the level of each member, including community engagement, networking events, assistance on relocation issues, educational workshops, CSR opportunities, industry news and updates and more. Ultimately, the Organization’s Membership Engagement Program is designed to provide members with the resources and support they need to grow their business, stay informed, and build valuable connections. It is important to note here that through TechIsland, tech companies are part of a strong, inclusive and integrated community and can have a voice in discussions on key industry issues, working together to further develop a booming sector for the benefit of the local economy and Cyprus as a whole. For this, we strive for diversity, to have members with operations both locally and internationally, of different sizes and business models, so that our voice is truly representative.
What is your view of the tech sector (locally and on a global level) both as it is today and its potential for growth?
A.N. Technology has changed the way we live, work, and communicate, and has transformed numerous industries, including healthcare, finance, transportation, and entertainment. The development of new technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, blockchain, and the Internet of Things has led to a surge in investment and startup activity in the industry.
In Cyprus, the tech sector has become an important driver of job creation and innovation. The country has a well-educated workforce, a favorable business environment, a best-in-class telecommunication infrastructure, and a strategic location between Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, all of which have helped to attract investment and talent to the sector. Although the tech sector in Cyprus is relatively small compared to other countries, it is growing rapidly, with new startups and established companies alike contributing to its development. The sector is diverse, encompassing areas such as software development, fintech, e-commerce, and digital marketing.
One of the key differentiators of the tech sector in Cyprus is its focus on innovation and collaboration. The government has launched several initiatives to support the growth of the sector, including providing funding for research and development, promoting entrepreneurship, and establishing partnerships with universities and research institutions.
Looking forward, the tech sector both globally and locally, is expected to continue its rapid growth, driven by advancements in emerging technologies and the increasing demand for digital solutions across industries. However, I expect that it will become even more important to consider the potential impact of these advancements on society, including issues such as privacy, security, and job displacement.