Cyprus Diaspora Forum: Breakfast Networking Event March 6th.

Cyprus Diaspora Forum: Breakfast Networking Event March 6th.

Speech from the Managing Director of Cyprus Seeds

5 years ago, I was invited to a similar breakfast, in N.Y., to present to Greeks and Cypriots of the Diaspora in the US about Cyprus Seeds, a then new, private initiative which was to be launched in Cyprus, with the mission to support the commercialization of innovative research taking place in Cypriot Universities and Research Centers.

The promoters of CS were two individuals of the Diaspora, one Cypriot and one Greek. They both observed that there is talent in the Cypriot academia which is untapped. Their vision was to change the mindset of the most talented Cypriot scientists and graduating students, to dare be entrepreneurs, by taking their research from the laboratory to the market, giving solutions to world problems in the health sector, environment, climate, the arts and not only.

I was brought in to design a program to support this vision.

Inspired by a similar program that had been running very successfully, for more than 15 years at the MIT, I designed a 12M program to offer grants, mentoring, training and networking opportunities to the best academic teams on the island whose research had the potential to go to the market and make an impact.

At the launching of the Cyprus Seeds program, back in November 2018, one of the founders of Cyprus Seeds  said when addressing a room full of faculty, and students:

 ‘We will be nurturing your innovation from the lab to the market and will be investing in you because YOU ARE THE FUTURE!”

Given that Cyprus Seeds is a non-profit organization, to operate and run the program, we sought donations from the Cyprus government, from Foundations and from the private sector.

The first to support Cyprus Seeds was The Hellenic Initiative, a global non profit organization that brings together Diaspora Greeks and Philhellenes to invest in the future of Greece through programs focused on crisis relief, entrepreneurship and economic development. Cyprus Seeds is their only project in Cyprus!

The Cyprus Government followed suit to offer matching funding to the privately raised funds. The third founding donor of Cyprus Seeds is The Leventis Foundation.

All three founding donors have remained supporters of our program for the last 5 years.

Cyprus Seeds mission has also inspired private corporations, including Eurobank, EY, Genesis Pharma, Medochemie and ExxonMobil as well as individuals from Cyprus and abroad, who have been supporting us financially since our very first year of operation.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our donors and the Cyprus Government, as without their financial support, Cyprus Seeds would not exist.

In 5 years:

  1. Cyprus Seeds completed 3 cycles of its program.
  2. Supported 20 scientific teams from almost all the universities (public & private), and research centers on the island.
  3. Paid for the protection of the technology of all the projects in the program (mini TTO).
  4. Created employment opportunities and paid for the employment of more than 50 (full time and part time) scientists and post docs.

Most importantly, as the Managing Director of Cyprus seeds, I am proud to say that, as a result of Cyprus Seeds:

One doctor, from the Cyprus Institute of Neurology & Genetics, concluded 2 Licensing Agreements with two pharma companies in the US, bringing to the stage of clinical trials a drug therapy for a rare hereditary gene disease.

 AND

5, out of the 20 scientific projects we supported, spun out of their university, and formed Cypriot companies to commercialize their innovative research. These are:

  1. IQ3Solar Ltdfrom the University of Cyprus, is looking to bring to the market a solution for very early detection of faults in photovoltaic systems.
  2. Gynetronics Ltd– from the University of Cyprus, offers a new diagnostic tool for direct, in-vivo monitoring of the endometrial cavity.
  3. ARTES, from the Cyprus Institute, brings to the market a novel art characterization service.
  4. Mammocheck Ltd, from Frederick University, is looking to bring to the market a monitoring device for home breast cancer examination.
  5. IoTshield, from the CYENS Centre of Excellence (as we speak) is at the proof-of-concept stage of an intrusion detection system for the Internet of Things.

But what do these achievements tell us?

Well,

  • They tell us that there is talent on the ground, that is no less than that in our neighboring Israel, the USA or other countries which rank high on the map of innovation.
  • That there is an innovation, scientific eco-system in Cyprus with the potential to grow.
  • That there is reason to grow the Cyprus Seeds effort in order to create more employment opportunities in Cyprus, attract international investments and reduce the brain drain.

I would like you to be on our side to promote scientific innovation and entrepreneurship in Cyprus, which will create

a pipeline of technology companies, create opportunities for highly skilled jobs, reduce the brain drain and contribute to building a knowledge-based economy. Your help need not be financial. Our projects  need in particular your network of connections that will enable them to spread their wings and become successful ventures.

Already we, at Cyprus Seeds, punch above our weight -BUT we are ambitious, and we want to achieve more because our little island needs and deserves more!

Thank you.