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Microsoft for Startups: “The Government needs to support Cypriot startups that have high potential”

First-time entrepreneurs and startup founders often turn to so-called business accelerators or startup incubators for help with their fledgling companies. Here, we present another of a number of accelerators, incubators and research centres that play a crucial role in the Cypriot startup ecosystem.

Microsoft for Startups is a European University Cyprus programme, organised jointly with Microsoft, in which 10 Cypriot startups are selected every six months to participate in a series of mentoring and training sessions. It began in 2021 with the goal of helping Cypriot startups accelerate their growth through customised offerings and resources that evolve with each startup from idea to exit. Startups are given the opportunity to expand their network and develop their knowledge and skills through training sessions on topics such as business development and management, sales and marketing, pitching to investors, investment readiness, national and EU funding opportunities, etc. They work closely with experienced mentors and professionals from a variety of sectors, who help them develop their business ideas and successfully introduce their product/service to the market. Participants are mature Cyprus-based tech startups that have moved beyond the initial concept and business idea formation stage. During the first cycle of the programme, 11 startups graduated, while 10 Cypriot startups will graduate during the second cycle in June 2023.

What changes would you like to see to the Cyprus startup ecosystem that could help it evolve and take it to the next level?

With more Cypriot startup success stories, more young people will be encouraged to develop their own innovative business ideas and follow in others’ footsteps. In order for this to happen, the Government needs to support Cypriot startups that have high potential through funding (access to capital) and by attracting more investors in the Cyprus startup ecosystem from abroad. Also, young people need to be trained from an early age about the advantages of becoming entrepreneurs and the relevant skills that they need to succeed, in order for the next generation to be well-prepared and motivated to embark on their entrepreneurial journey. The role models, examples and information presented to young entrepreneurs during training sessions should be down-to-earth, pragmatic and realistic. In this way, they will obtain an honest picture of what it takes to be an entrepreneur, knowing in advance about the difficulties they will encounter and the challenges they will need to overcome.

(This information was provided by Dr Celia Hadjichristodoulou, Founder and Managing Director of GrantXpert Consulting, Administrative Head of the EUC Future Skills Hub, and by Stephani Theophanous, Head of the Entrepreneurship & Start-ups Unit, GrantXpert Consulting)

This article first appeared in the April edition of GOLD magazine. Click here to view it.

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