There is great potential for profit in the digital economy and the startup world, said Stavriana Kofteros in her introductory presentation at the Economic Ideas Forum in Nicosia. The town hall styled conference is organized by the Martens Centre in cooperation with the Glafkos Clerides Institute. The big bet, Kofteros said, is to turn this potential into reality, into actual products.
Shipping Minister Natasa Pilides in her remarks said that there is a big ongoing shift towards the East and China. Pilides explained that every sector has innovation potential noting that shipping works on a traditional model but there are opportunities to introduce disruptive technologies such as unmanned shipping and to provide industry solutions.
Startups can take advantage of the need for companies to meet shipping regulations such as in engine design, emissions and environment.
Companies are movable things, Pilides said. ''We have to start from the premise that we can lose what we have, and thats the situation in Europe and in Cyprus. 55000 seafarers are under Cyprus flag but very few are Cypriots. We have established Maritime Academies to supply our ships, around 300 are currently under training and there is demand for technical expertise in the Maritime industry''.
Kyriakos Kokkinos, National Chief Scientist for Research and Innovation said that the foundation of innovation in areas such as AI, data analytics and big data is research. In Europe there is 7bn venture capital investment spent on research but the number is 45bn in the United States. The Cyprus startup ecosystem is too small and needs to be part of a bigger community of research and innovation such as with Israel, the UK, Denmark and the Nordic countries, said Kokkinos.
Lenard Koschwitz, Senior Director for Public Policy at 'Allied for Startups' said that there is a need to turn Europe into a knowledge economy. ''We must look what do to enable entrepreneurs to stay in Europe'' said Koschwitz, stressing that ''politics is a step behind technological developments''.
Kathimerini is a media partner for the Economic Ideas Forum, organized by the Wilfried Martens Centre for European Studies, the official think tank of the European People's Party.