22 June 2020
(18 June 2020) Israeli investors and businesses are helping Cyprus develop into a European hub for innovation and technology, a conference heard yesterday.
At a webinar hosted by Invest Cyprus, the national investment promotion agency, Thessalia-Salina Shambos, Ambassador of the Republic of Cyprus to the State of Israel, and speakers from KPMG Cyprus, PwC Cyprus, Deloitte Cyprus as well as big law firms urged investors to reap the rewards of the island nation’s ambitious plans to boost its economy.
“It not easy talking about Cyprus as a tech hub to an Israeli audience,” said Pangratios Vanezis, Head of Enterprise and Start-ups at KMPG Cyprus, “but I take confidence from a conversation I had with the CEO of Israel Start-up Nation in which he shared the same views about how Cyprus is developing to be a tech hub and a springboard for many tech companies in Europe, and the world.”
The government of Cyprus was acting as a catalyst to accelerate innovation and technological change, focusing on investment in ICT and the digital upskilling of the labour workforce, he said, and in the last year a number of pop-up innovation centres were established on the island, backed by a quarter of a billion euros of investments.
Pointing to advances in food tech, education tech, AI and blockchain in Cyprus, Mr Vanezis added: “Limassol may not be a new Silicon Wadi, but there is a huge surge of technology establishment in Limassol, a multi-cultural presence with tech companies from Israel, Russia and India choosing Limassol as a centre of R&D and a springboard to markets they operate in.”
Key speakers at the conference, aimed at promoting opportunities for investment in Cyprus to Israeli companies, also included Andreas Yiasemides, President of the Cyprus Investment Funds Association.
Cyprus’s tax incentives, grants and the low cost of doing business in Cyprus is why tech giants around the eastern Mediterranean and north Africa have placed their headquarters here to enjoy the benefit of the proximity Cyprus offers to the three continents, the conference was told.
The Ambassador said that Cyprus and Israel had strengthened their relationship through their joint handling of the Covid-19 pandemic
She added: “We’re experiencing a shift in their relations, through mapping opportunities, identifying shared interests, matching respective strengths and embarking on joint projects bi-laterally, tri-laterally and at a regional level, in fields like energy, cyber, innovation, health, defence, tourism and hospitality, academia and investment ventures.”.
Highlighting the success of the shipping management sector, turning Cyprus into one of the largest maritime clusters in the world, George Campanellas. Chief Executive, Invest Cyprus, “Cyprus has the potential to become a tech cluster, hosting companies that are looking to base their headquarters here and we believe there is more room for the tech sector to use Cyprus as a base for their European and international operations,” he said.
New opportunities in Cyprus had been possible by the government’s National Tourism strategy to turn the island into a year-round destination and attract investment into thematic areas, such as medical tourism, sports tourism and as a high-quality yachting destination, said Mr Campanellas. Potential projects and specific incentives are being managed by a dedicated unit, TourInvest Cyprus, responsible for attracting and facilitating investments in tourism and hospitality. The long-term vision is to build Cyprus into a “digitally smart” tourism destination, creating further opportunities for tech investors, said Mr Campanellas.
Israeli companies already working in Cyprus include the Israeli Fattal Hotel Group, which is currently building its fifth Leonardo hotel in Cyprus, and new investments in the pipeline included Larnaca Marina, a “mega-project” led by an Israeli-Cypriot consortium.
Notes to Editors:
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About Invest Cyprus
Invest Cyprus (Cyprus Investment Promotion Agency) is the investment authority of the Government of Cyprus dedicated to attracting and facilitating foreign direct investment into the country. Its mandate is to raise awareness of Cyprus as a destination for FDI across the globe, providing certainty around all aspects of operating a business in Cyprus and supporting potential investors in developing their business case for investment into the country.