You know what they say: it takes a village to achieve something of significance. Standing here today, looking at all of you I'd say - it takes an island.
We are here together to remind ourselves, that real change comes when our individual efforts align with our mutual ambitions for this island we all call home.
You might have heard that for the year 2022, the ICT sector contributed 13% to Cyprus' GDP. This translates to 3 billion euro direct contribution. During that year, more than 1000 new IT companies registered in our country; around 18,000 IT specialists with their families relocated to our island. This mobility has created an opportunity for the local economy and set the foundation for further growth for the years to come.
But these are not just figures. Behind these numbers, you can see people’s stories, vision, efforts, policy-making and achievements. And that’s why we, the board of TechIsland, decided to establish these awards. To showcase our belief that our industry can positively impact our education, our environment, and our community at large.
I stand before you on behalf of the TechIsland board and represent all 270 of our members. I am proud to say that as an Organization, in the last two years, we have managed on a big scale to unify our sector and work together to achieve some major results. Through our collective efforts we contributed in creating momentum; to drive a big influx of companies and talent to Cyprus. Our focus now should not just be to attract more.
But also, to retain the ones that are already here.
To do this, we need a modern and up-to-date legal framework for the eligibility for naturalization of foreign experts relocating for a long time to Cyprus. We need to incentivize real estate investors towards the construction of affordable housing. We need to support the growth and expansion of schools offering international education, to accommodate experts relocating with young children. In addition to this, we need to support the development of the local tech talent and the growth of local IT companies. And we need to lay the groundwork for the youngest to become the next generation of physicists, mathematicians, process architects, software engineers and developers that will influence – why not? - the future technology. This will ensure a strong and diverse ecosystem, with highly skilled professionals both from Cyprus and abroad.
These are some of our key priorities. This is our commitment to transform Cyprus into a Tech Island. And of course to make a meaningful and lasting impact for our society.
But to achieve our goals, we have relied and we continue to rely, first and foremost, on a supportive government, and forward-thinking policy makers. We rely on them to simplify bureaucratic processes. A state who actively seeks input from the community. Who takes their feedback into account when crafting policies.
At this point, I would like to thank President Christodoulides and our state representatives. Your support fuels our aspirations. Your attendance this evening highlights the importance of the tech sector to our community, to our economy, and to our future.
I also wish to extend a big thank you to those pioneers who, 10 to 20 years ago, saw the untapped potential of Cyprus. You moved here as entrepreneurs, investors, and IT specialists and started the tech sector from the ground up. Your hard work and dedication have built the foundations of what we continue to build upon today.
In years to come, our ambitions should not be limited by our island's shores. We aim to transform Cyprus into a competitive and attractive destination for the region’s most brilliant talents. A hub where innovators, digital nomads, and top-tier tech professionals come to live, work and innovate. A place, that respects and builds upon diversity and inclusion, away from racism and discrimination.
Ladies and Gentlemen, let this evening serve as both an affirmation and a commitment. Together, we have the vision, the ambition, and the collective will. We are not just elevating an industry; we are elevating Cyprus itself.
It takes an island; let's always remember that. Thank you