Cyprus: A country under change
Cyprus is not the only European country struck by the economic crisis and high youth unemplyoment, however, when speaking to Stavriana Kofteros, there seems to be strong leadership to find a solution through entrepreneurship. Stavriana is the Special Entrepreneurship, RDI Adviser to the President and Deputy Spokesperson of the governing party, Democratic Rally (European People’s Party member). She also is the organizer of the Cyprus Startup Weekend and has been the CEO of the Diogenes Business Incubator of the University of Cyprus with over twelve years’ experience in incubation and commercialization.
esi: Who are you, what do you do and what makes you an expert on your start-upcountry?
Stavriana: Recently, I worked very hard with a dedicated team of entrepreneurship enthusiasts from Cyprus to make the first Startup Weekend in Nicosia happen. Further, in my political work, I am currently leading the effort of drafting an EPP Comprehensive Policy Document / Resolution on Entrepreneurship and Start-ups to be adopted by the European People’s Party Congress in March 2013. My vision: Make meaning. Facilitate Change. Startup Cyprus.
esi: What is cool about your start-upcountry, what inspires you and keeps you thriving?
Stavriana: Young people shifting culture towards entrepreneurship. In fact: Cyprus has one of the highest percentages of University graduates in Europe. These are highly educated, but “frustrated” people, who are ready to change the world – they just need a bit of guidance. Also, the strategic location of the country and its size: Cyprus is a small island in the South Eastern Mediterranean – an ideal pilot base and testing ground with favorable legislature for entrepreneurship to launch a pan European start-up. A country under change is a country full of opportunities for innovation and entrepreneurship!
esi: What makes you shake your head about your start-upcountry, what needs to be improved?
Stavriana: We still need to move faster to mainstream the entrepreneurial mindset, to reduce bureaucratic hurdles to starting a company and to make funds available for start-ups. In the post Eurogroup decision situation with extremely high unemployment especially among the young, we need to move fast to spread the vision of Startup Cyprus. The worst thing that could happen to Cyprus on top of the bail-in is a brain drain.
esi: What’s some cool fact we are likely not to know about your start-upcountry?
Stavriana: Cypriots are fun, warm, friendly Mediterranean people, persistent to the core and once on board an idea they are like a dog with a bone! They will make it happen. Their love of country, solidarity and sense of help is a driving force to getting Cyprus out of the crisis. Cypriots are fast learners and thrive in demanding situations – remember: They launch start-ups even in the hot summer with 40 degrees and code by the beach – that’s commitment!
esi: Thank you for the interview.
About the interviewpartner:
Stavriana Kofteros is an energetic supporter of the Cypriotic start-up scene both as a practitioner as well as a politician.