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TechIsland Summit 2023: Cyprus on the fast track of becoming a tech island

TechIsland held its annual TechIsland Summit within the framework of the Reflect Festival on 20 September 2023. The TechIsland Summit is one of TechIsland's key annual activities, bringing together experts from Cyprus and abroad, as well as state and private sector representatives, to share ideas and engage in constructive discussions.

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This year, the Summit took a deep dive into the resilience and sustainable growth of the tech sector, drawing insights from international strategies for talent retention.

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Among the speakers were Minister of Interior Constantinos Ioannou, the Governor of Central Bank Constantinos Herodotou, the former Deputy Prime Minister of Ireland Mary Harney, state officials, esteemed ambassadors from international tech hubs, members of the Board of Directors of TechIsland, and representatives from major international companies like META, TikTok, and Alibaba.

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In his opening speech, Andreas Neocleous, a member of the Board of Directors of TechIsland and CEO of CYTA, mentioned, “We're here because we're committed to shaping the future of our country and making Cyprus an internationally recognised Tech Island."

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As Neocleous mentioned, in 2022, the ICT sector achieved incredible results, contributing 13% to Cyprus' GDP, which translates to a €3 billion direct contribution. “Today,” he continued, “we are looking to explore solutions to current challenges such as housing, banking, and education. We also aim to hear case studies from other successful tech hubs to guide our strategy moving forward.”

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Throughout the summit, the underlying message was clear: With strong public and private collaboration and a forward-looking vision, Cyprus' journey to becoming a globally recognised tech hub is underway.

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Participants shared insights from other renowned tech hubs. Silicon Valley's competitive nature, Israel's innovation culture, and Germany's tech-friendly policies took centre stage. The role of governments, visa processes, and academic institutions in fostering such environments was stressed. Governmental vision should be backed by continuous evaluation, policy improvements, and long-term planning.

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Infrastructure discussions highlighted the need to adapt housing frameworks and promote digital government initiatives. Education emerged as another pivotal topic, with calls for the expansion of schools offering international education and increased collaboration between the government and funding companies. The growth potential of the banking sector was underscored, with a focus on the integration of newer technologies and fostering stronger ties between banks and tech companies.

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Overall, the Summit highlighted the need to move faster, think bigger, and plan smarter, with transparency and unity among all stakeholders.

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