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Posted 7 December 2023
Cyprus 4.0 - TechIsland: Cyprus’ largest tech association
Marios CM 4.0

Founded in 2021, TechIsland has grown to be Cyprus’ largest tech association, now comprising over 270 member companies

The organisation’s core mission is to transform Cyprus into a leading tech hub. “As a non-profit, we are dedicated to enhancing the tech industry’s operating environment, uniting diverse stakeholders to promote sustainable growth, and driving economic prosperity across the country through tech,” Marios Giorgoudis, General Manager of TechIsland said.

What are the benefits of partnering with your organisation?
“Joining TechIsland means becoming part of a dynamic network that actively supports the growth of both local and international tech companies. We foster a culture of active engagement and collaboration within our vibrant community, encouraging members to share and benefit from our collective expertise and unique seminars under TechIsland Academy.

“Our professional communities, such as HR, FinPro, MarComms, and Women in Tech, offer platforms for dialogue and shared learning, enhancing individual and collective professional growth. Being a part of TechIsland not only connects members to a network of leading professionals but also places them at the forefront of technological innovation, contributing to shaping the tech landscape in Cyprus.”

Can you give us some facts and figures about the growth of the tech industry in Cyprus in the last couple of years?
“Recent data from KPMG’s Assessment of ICT Economic Impact showcases Cyprus’s remarkable strides in the tech sector. As of now, Cyprus boasts the second highest CVA (Contribution to Value Added) in ICT within the EU at 9 per cent, following Ireland’s 17.4 per cent. The value added by this sector to Cyprus’s economy has skyrocketed by 395 per cent from 2006 to 2022. More specifically, the ICT services area alone has expanded from €134 million to an impressive €1.7 billion in these sixteen years.

“Employment in the sector reflects this growth, having increased by 145 per cent during the same timeframe. The total economic impact of the ICT sector in Cyprus, encompassing both direct and indirect contributions, was an impressive €3.66 billion in 2022. This accounts for 13 per cent of the country’s GDP, a significant jump from 7 per cent in 2019 and 8.5 per cent in 2020.

“This growth is not only a testament to the sector’s potential but also highlights its expansive influence across various domains, including professional services, real estate, and more. The figures clearly illustrate the sector’s dynamic and growing role in shaping Cyprus’ economic landscape.

Do you believe Cyprus provides a nurturing environment for innovation companies and startups? If so, what are the benefits? Are there any areas that need improvement?
“Cyprus has indeed made significant progress in nurturing a conducive environment for innovation companies and startups, but there’s still room for improvement. Our tech sector has seen remarkable growth in the past two years, becoming increasingly dynamic and promising. The further growth of Cyprus’ ICT sector critically depends on strengthening the local workforce with international tech expertise. This necessity stems from two key factors: the relative newness of the tech sector in Cyprus, which hasn’t yet had time to cultivate a sufficient local talent pool, and the small size of the country, which naturally limits the availability of homegrown tech experts. In fact, Cyprus currently has the EU’s lowest proportion of STEM graduates at 13.8 per cent, indicating a significant gap between the available local talent and the labour market’s demands. Therefore, strategically attracting and retaining highly skilled tech professionals from overseas is not just beneficial but essential for the sector’s growth and, by extension, for the overarching progress and economic well-being of Cyprus as a whole.

“In terms of startups, while there’s considerable progress, there are still some aspects that need to be addressed to fully realise their potential. Firstly, access to capital is crucial for startups to innovate and scale. This involves creating avenues for funding through venture capital firms, angel investors, and governmental incentives. Reliable infrastructure, including high-speed internet, co-working spaces, and incubators, is also critical in providing startups with the resources they need to thrive.

“Furthermore, a global perspective is essential for startups to succeed in an increasingly interconnected world. This means encouraging international collaboration and expansion beyond local boundaries, which can enrich the ecosystem with diverse insights and expertise. Collaboration between academia and industry is another pivotal area, as it fosters innovation, research, and a seamless exchange of ideas, crucial for the growth of startups. Networking and mentorship play a key role in developing a thriving startup ecosystem. Creating opportunities for idea-sharing, collaboration, and guidance from experienced professionals can significantly boost startup success and innovation.

“Moreover, the role of the government is pivotal in nurturing this growth. Establishing a regulatory environment that facilitates innovation and supports technological advancement is essential for the sustainable development of the tech sector in Cyprus. Encouraging a culture that embraces risk-taking and perceives failure as part of the entrepreneurial journey is also critical. This mindset, inspired by models like Silicon Valley, is vital for empowering entrepreneurs to take bold steps and innovate without fear.”

Can you tell us about some of the initiatives your organisation has undertaken, as well as the support offered to philanthropic/humanitarian causes?
“At TechIsland, our approach to driving industry progress and contributing to societal well-being is multifaceted. One of our most notable achievements is the creation of a unified voice for the tech industry. By addressing shared challenges and developing collective solutions, we’ve strengthened industry cohesion and collaboration. This is exemplified through the formation of professional sub-communities, like the HR Community and the FinPro Community, which have become pivotal in fostering shared expertise and collaborative efforts.

“Additionally, the development of the Cyprus Tech Ecosystem Platform, stands as a testament to our commitment to promoting the Cypriot technology and innovation sector. This platform effectively maps and monitors the tech landscape, showcasing our domestic and international potential in technology and innovation.

“Our commitment extends beyond industry development to substantial societal contributions. In the wake of the 2021 wildfire, TechIsland played a crucial role in rallying our members to raise funds for recovery efforts, which was instrumental in reconstructing the Regional Primary School in Arakapas, significantly impacted by the disaster.

“Furthermore, our members donated to Project “KtiZO,” led by the Ministry of Interior, to refurbish apartment buildings for displaced individuals in government housing areas. In October 2023, TechIsland members also offered a donation to the Independent Social Support Body, led by First Lady Philippa Karsera Christodoulides, to support people experiencing financial difficulty, or people who due to extraordinary social circumstances or other exceptional occurrences have been directly affected as far as the continuation of their education is concerned.

“Lastly, recognising the vital role of tech education in shaping future generations, TechIsland is dedicated to fostering a tech-savvy culture among the youth. Our support for initiatives like KidIT Cyprus, which encourages children to evolve from tech users to tech innovators, reflects this commitment.

“These initiatives underscore TechIsland’s dedication not only to advancing the tech industry but also to making meaningful contributions to humanitarian causes and nurturing the next generation of tech innovators.”

What are your plans for the future?
“In the upcoming months, TechIsland is directing its efforts towards a series of exciting projects, which we will announce in due course. Our foremost priority is to expand the tech sector at a local level and increase awareness of the potential and opportunities within this dynamic field.

“We understand that the growth of the tech sector is linked to the availability of talent. Therefore, we are committed to supporting the development of a world-class pool of highly skilled tech professionals in Cyprus. As TechIsland, our plan includes leveraging our expertise and resources, and forming collaborations with educational institutions and international tech leaders to launch or support initiatives aligned with this goal.

“Our ongoing commitment is to advance and develop Cyprus through technology. We provide a platform where diverse tech voices, from innovative startups to research academics, can work together. This collaboration aims to drive not only technological innovation but also economic growth for the entire country.”

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