CyprusInno was founded on the belief that economic freedom and entrepreneurial capital are tools for peace and prosperity. Steven Stavrou, a Greek Cypriot, and Burak Doluay, a Turkish Cypriot, banded together to connect and lift Cyprus through entrepreneurship and innovation. Together, they created CyprusInno, the first bicommunal digital platform that connects Cypriot entrepreneurs, startups, and innovators.
The CyprusInno website holds the largest database of startups in Cyprus and is the first and only to include startups from both the North and South. Entrepreneurs, innovators, and investors can register to connect with each other. The site also features a startup jobs board, a comprehensive and curated calendar of business events island-wide, and a digital magazine with useful resources for Cyprus entrepreneurs, among other features. Currently, there are over 1,100 users; a significant number considering the relatively small size of Cyprus.
CyprusInno’s model is supported by economic analysis and opinion from thought leaders that backs the benefits of a Cyprus solution. Unification is estimated to increase the GDP of the entire island, boost employment opportunities, and create growth in various sectors such as tourism, professional services, and higher education. By increasing collaboration between Greek and Turkish Cypriots, particularly entrepreneurs and innovators, the founders hope to create a path for a peaceful and prosperous nation. Burak states, “Political agreements are mostly based on economics. If we create these economic bonds between each other personally, we’re going to make it easier for leaders to prepare these kinds of relations in the future as well.”
Steven and Burak hope to expand CyprusInno’s capacity by offering mentorship, online training and education, in-person bi-communal events, and more. Furthermore, they hope the CyprusInno model can be used to address other conflict regions across the eastern Mediterranean. Stavrou states, “The premise of entrepreneurial capital and economic opportunity as peace building mechanisms is something we want to build this platform on. Business brings people together; economic opportunity brings people together; job creation brings people together.”