Aiming to expand and further enhance cooperation between Cyprus and Israel in the fields of innovation and entrepreneurship, the Chief Scientist for Research and Innovation (R&I) of the Republic of Cyprus and the Research and Innovation Foundation (RIF), in cooperation with Mashav – Israel’s Agency For International Development Cooperation, the Golda Meir MASHAV Carmel International Training Center, the Economic Divisions of Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Embassy of the State of Israel to the Republic of Cyprus, have launched the “Training the Trainers: Innovation & Entrepreneurship for Cyprus” course, providing stakeholders from Cyprus a unique opportunity to gain a holistic view of Israel’s experience in the quest for developing a successful innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem.

The program includes six on-line lectures from distinguished Israeli speakers addressing issues related to the development of innovation support structures such as accelerators/incubators, technology parks and technology transfers offices, the attraction of investments in innovative enterprises as well as the development and implementation of state-of-the-art innovation support measures.

The opening ceremony was greeted by the Deputy Minister of Research, Innovation and Digital Policy, Mr Kyriacos Kokkinos, and the Ambassador of the State of Israel in Cyprus, Mr Shmuel Revel. Minister Kokkinos thanked Israel for its continuous support, at all levels, and particularly for this highly important initiative reflecting the neighbouring country’s commitment to share its knowledge and experience to inspire and support fellow nations in their efforts to develop their entrepreneurial spirit and technological capabilities. According to Mr Kokkinos “innovation and technology are key levers of growth and sustainable development, as well as strong tools in addressing the world’s most pressing needs, all amplified by the Covid-19 pandemic”. Ambassador Revel, on his part, noted that “in recent years, growing synergies bring Israel and Cyprus together in the field of Technological Innovation. The action plan with the Deputy Minister for Research, Innovation and Digital Policy, Mr Kyriacos Kokkinos, and with the Chief Scientist of Cyprus is complemented with Israeli training for Cypriots from the Innovation ecosystem. I thank the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs and all those who made it happen. This human bridge is a significant contribution to our close friendly relations and to our future”.

Addressing the event, the Chief Scientist for Research and Innovation and Chairman of RIF, Dr Nikolas Mastroyiannopoulos, stressed that in order to strengthen Cyprus’ competitiveness in the international arena, creating a vibrant ecosystem of start-ups and innovative enterprises is a top priority and explained: “an ecosystem that is efficient and fit-for-the-future, adding value horizontally, across all sectors of the economy and building opportunities for socioeconomic prosperity, by creating new jobs, offering easier access to the various services and attracting investments”. Dr Mastroyiannopoulos also added that this programme creates solid foundations for further development of the long-term co-operation between the two countries. Cyprus has much to learn from Israel on innovative entrepreneurship in order to further develop its own ecosystem. According to Dr. Mastroyiannopoulos “alone we are smart, together we are brilliant, united we build a better future”.

Mr Theodoros Loukaidis, the Director General of RIF, referred to the investment of €20 million in 85 innovative enterprises granted through the RIF Innovation Programmes. “The challenge ahead of us”, he noted, “is to ensure that the innovative products and services of these enterprises manage to penetrate the international market and attract further investment from abroad with the right support from our part and that of our R&I stakeholders”. Thanking Israel once again, he added “Taking into account the admirable success of the State of Israel in this domain, we very much look forward to hearing about the Israeli R&I and start-up ecosystem and much more”.