Statement by H.E. Ambassador Nicholas Emiliou
At the outset I would like to thank the panellists for the many interesting points they have raised in their presentations.
Many country examples show that entrepreneurship and innovation improve competitiveness and lead to job creation and economic growth. It is a very powerful driver for change and it can have a significant contribution in poverty eradication.
Entrepreneurship stimulates economic growth because it generates new ideas and new ideas create new jobs, new revenue and wealth. Despite the difficulties as a result of the economic and financial crisis, Cyprus does have several advantages and assets that are pivotal to fostering entrepreneurship. One of them is its high percentage of university graduates and its very good legal and accounting system. Entrepreneurship in Cyprus is not new as 98% of the companies on the island are small to medium enterprises. Our entrepreneurship policy has in place a regulatory climate with simplified administrative procedures, conducive to investment, innovation and entrepreneurship while it encourages competitiveness in all areas of economic activity. It assists SME (small and medium enterprises) to promote their activities internationally and improves their access to research, technological upgrading, training and information services. It is noted that Cyprus ranks 36 amongst 185 countries in the World Bank’s “2013 Doing Business” Index.
From Cyprus’ experience we would like to highlight the following points important for fostering an entrepreneurship environment in any country:
The collaboration between universities and the private sector is quite important as it expands learning and practice from the university and the theoretical approach of the classroom to the tried and tested approach in the private sector and vice versa. In this context initiatives like entrepreneurship awards, introducing entrepreneurship courses into the academic institutions including on green and social entrepreneurship, funding on research and innovation and so many other incentives for students, youth, adults especially women and people at disadvantaged situations, are very important.
Lastly I would like to point to the fundamental role that the media in particular the social media play in communicating, connecting, networking, educating and spreading information amongst the entrepreneurship network community and beyond.
Thank you Madame Moderator.