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Cyprus pursues US ICT professionals and investors

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Cyprus is seeking US investment into its ICT sector, promising relocation and tax incentives, access to the EU market and other benefits for companies and start-ups who settle on the island With Cyprus aiming to transform its economy into a more innovative one, it is hoping to attract Silicon Valley expertise and US companies that want to expand into the European market, boosting its tech credentials. More than 100 US investors and companies had the opportunity to participate in an online event hosted by Invest Cyprus, where they were informed on the potential of Cyprus as a growing tech hub and the benefits of expanding or relocating a business to the country.

Talking about the technology and innovation ecosystem in Cyprus, National Chief Scientist Nicolas Mastroyiannopoulos briefed participants on the government’s strategy, focusing on innovative entrepreneurship, translational research and a strong start-up ecosystem. “Over the last years we have invested more than €20 million in innovation companies, with a prospect to scale up and be competitive internationally,” he said.

He added: “The government has outlined a specific strategy with clear objectives and directions to formulate a new sustainable economic model based on the threefold of research, innovation and technological development, which will create multiple socioeconomic benefits and serious investment opportunities and incentives.”

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Cyprus, along with four other EU member states, witnessed the highest improvement in the European Innovation Scoreboard 2021, ranking 28 in the global innovation index out of 129 countries. George Campanellas, CEO of Invest Cyprus and also representing the Cyprus Tech Association during the event, presented the tech sector in Cyprus and the multiple benefits that the country offers to investors and entrepreneurs.

“Cyprus is an international business center with a clear focus on the tech sector, with the view of becoming a European tech hub. There is a robust plan in place by the government, with stakeholders working closely to make Cyprus a top headquartering destination in Europe. A recent example, is the launch of the Cyprus Tech Association, which provides a strong platform for all international ICT companies that are established in Cyprus to promote new opportunities and partnerships.”

One of Invest Cyprus’s main strategic objectives is ICT Headquartering and supporting businesses on the ground throughout the entire process. There are already 12,000 tech professionals on the island, with a number of international tech companies having chosen Cyprus to expand their operations or set up their headquarters. The access to local, EU and non-EU talent, immigration and relocation incentives and the quality of life, are only a few elements that make Cyprus an ideal destination for tech professionals and have led to more and more tech companies choosing the country.

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Participants also had the opportunity to hear from some of the already established international tech companies in Cyprus who shared their first hand experiences of doing business in Cyprus. Avi Sela, Chief Operations Officer of eToro Group and board member of the newly-established Cyprus Tech Association, highlighted the benefits of relocating a business to Cyprus. “We have found a very welcoming business environment, a very innovative approach by government officials and regulators, and a very nice place to develop our business without compromising over talent,” he said. “We have managed to build and establish an operation center that serves not only our European clientele, but also services other regulated entities within the group, using our talent and experience that was developed locally here, in Cyprus,” he added.

Other speakers at the event included Michael P. Michael, Chairman of the Board of Directors, Invest Cyprus, Andreas Assiotis, Board Member, National Economic and Competitiveness Council, Stelios D. Himonas, Permanent Secretary, Deputy Ministry to the President for Research, Innovation and Digital Policy, Pieris Markou, CEO, Deloitte in Cyprus, Petros P. Krasaris, Partner, Head of International Tax and Transaction Services, EY Cyprus, Alexis Pantazis, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Director, Hellas Direct, Michael Milonas, Executive Director, The Naga Group AG and Kyriacos Kyriacou, General Manager, NCR Cyprus.

About Invest Cyprus

Invest Cyprus (Cyprus Investment Promotion Agency) is the investment promotion agency of the Government of Cyprus, dedicated to attracting and facilitating foreign direct investment into the country. In close collaboration with all governmental authorities and public institutions, as well as the private sector, Invest Cyprus is the country’s lead agent in establishing Cyprus as a world-class investment destination.

Cyprus

NextGenerationEU: European Commission disburses €157 million in pre-financing to Cyprus

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The European Commission has disbursed €157 million to Cyprus in pre-financing, equivalent to 13% of the country's financial allocation under the Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF). The pre-financing payment will help to kick-start the implementation of the crucial investment and reform measures outlined in Cyprus' recovery and resilience plan. The Commission will authorise further disbursements based on the implementation of the investments and reforms outlined in Cyprus' recovery and resilience plan.

The country is set to receive €1.2 billion in total over the lifetime of its plan, with €1 billion provided in grants and €200m in loans. Today's disbursement follows the recent successful implementation of the first borrowing operations under NextGenerationEU. By the end of the year, the Commission intends to raise up to a total of €80bn in long-term funding, to be complemented by short-term EU-Bills, to fund the first planned disbursements to member states under NextGenerationEU. Part of NextGenerationEU, the RRF will provide €723.8bn (in current prices) to support investments and reforms across member states.

The Cypriot plan is part of the unprecedented EU response to emerge stronger from the COVID-19 crisis, fostering the green and digital transitions and strengthening resilience and cohesion in our societies. A press release is available online.

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Commission approves €1 billion Cypriot scheme to support enterprises and self-employed individuals in context of coronavirus outbreak

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The European Commission has approved a €1 billion Cypriot scheme to support enterprises and self-employed individuals in the context of the coronavirus outbreak. The scheme was approved under the State Aid Temporary Framework. The support will take the form of state guarantees on new loans. The measure will be open to companies active in all sectors (except the financial sector). The aim of the scheme is to provide liquidity for viable companies which experienced business disruption due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The Commission found that the Cypriot measure is in line with the conditions set out in the Temporary Framework. In particular, the scheme (i) relates to new loans with a minimum maturity of three months and a maximum maturity of six years; (ii) foresees a  coverage of the guarantee limited to 70% of the loan principal; (iii) provides for minimum remuneration of the guarantee; (iv) contains adequate safeguards to ensure that the aid is channelled effectively by the financial intermediaries to the  beneficiaries in need; and (v) ensures that support will be granted no later than 31 December 2021.

The Commission concluded that the measure is necessary, appropriate and proportionate to remedy a serious disturbance in the economy of a member state, in line with Article 107(3)(b) TFEU and the conditions set out in the Temporary Framework. On this basis, the Commission approved the aid measure under EU state aid rules.

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Executive Vice President Margrethe Vestager (pictured), in charge of competition policy, said: “This €1bn scheme will enable Cyprus to support companies and self-employed persons affected by the coronavirus pandemic through the provision of state guarantees on loans. The scheme will help these companies address the liquidity shortages they face due to the ongoing crisis. We will keep working together with member states to find the best solutions to support companies during these difficult times, in line with EU rules.”

A press release is available online.

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Commission welcomes next step on the approval of the recovery and resilience plans of Croatia, Cyprus, Lithuania and Slovenia

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The European Commission has welcomed the positive exchange of views on the Council implementing decisions on the approval of national recovery and resilience plans for Croatia, Cyprus, Lithuania and Slovenia held on 26 July, at the informal videoconference of EU Economy and Finance Ministers (ECOFIN). These plans set out the measures that will be supported by the Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF). The RRF is at the heart of NextGenerationEU, which will provide €800 billion (in current prices) to support investments and reforms across the EU. The Council implementing decisions will be formally adopted by written procedure shortly.

This formal adoption will pave the way for the payment of up to 13% of the total allocated amount for each of these member states in pre-financing. The Commission aims to disburse the first pre-financing as quickly as possible, following the signing of the bilateral financing agreements and, where relevant, loan agreements. The Commission will then authorise further disbursements based on the satisfactory fulfilment of the milestones and targets outlined in each of the Council Implementing Decisions, reflecting progress on the implementation of the investments and reforms covered in the plans.

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