Developing a favorable environment for technological development and innovative entrepreneurship refers, essentially, to the existence of facilitating institutional and regulatory framework conditions and supporting tools to set up and expand R&I activity, as well as to the availability of sufficient funding sources for innovative enterprises at all stages, including startups, scale-ups and established enterprises willing to address the international market with innovative products and services.
High-risk capital, including funding at early stages of a startup, but also sufficient funding streams for scaling-up and expansion, is an essential ingredient of a functional innovation ecosystem and will be supported by providing incentives for local fund holders to invest in startups and innovative enterprises with high-growth potential and by co-operating with financial institutions to develop attractive and functional financial instruments, with potential co-financing by European funds (i.e. EIB / EIF). The collaboration between public and private sector will be promoted to develop alternative forms of funding, such as a co-investment facility and measures to support venture capital funds and the development of a crowdfunding market.
The existence of favourable institutional and regulatory frameworks will also support the attraction of foreign high-risk investments, including foreign seed and venture capital funds, to set up private of public-private funds channeled towards innovation activity. It will also support the attraction of foreign multinational companies (MNC) willing to set up offices and R&I departments in Cyprus, creating a multiple, spillover effect over the Cyprus ecosystem and economy.
Creating a vibrant community of startups forms a priority and is being achieved by programs and incentives specially designed to respond to the needs of early stage entrepreneurship. This will also require the development and implementation of well-designed and sustainable support tools, such as business incubators, accelerators, innovation hubs and co-working spaces which are of significant importance. Such tools can provide integrated support services for the development of startups and high-technology innovative businesses that include office space, coaching, mentoring, international networking, seed funding and access to professional services. Moreover, it is necessary to develop an evidence-based and strategic policy suggestion on the most successful and effective way to approach the development of a Science Technology Park at the same time exploring other alternatives such as innovation hubs, virtual STPs, etc., adopted in other geographies.
Innovative entrepreneurship will also be supported through high-quality professional, legal and advisory services on topics relating to entrepreneurship, setting up a new business, protection and exploitation of intellectual property rights and participation to national and European R&I funding programs.