“What you do is who you are.”
Editors: I. Tsioutsioumi
C4E Director’s Letter
Dear students, colleagues, friends, collaborators and supporters of the Centre for Entrepreneurship,
Last semester, I informed the Council for Entrepreneurship of the University of Cyprus of my intention not to seek re-election at the end of 2020 and to step down as Director of the Centre for Entrepreneurship (C4E). For the last 6 years I have had the great privilege of serving as the Centre’s founding director, leading the efforts to establish C4E and to nurture a culture of and the skills for Innovative Entrepreneurship, within the University’s community and beyond, according to the University’s strategic plan. These years have been very fulfilling for me, and I will always be grateful for your trust and friendship.
When we embarked on the journey to launch C4E, in 2015, we reached out to the University community seeking to identify needs, expectations, and opportunities regarding innovation and entrepreneurship. We explored prior activities, relevant efforts, and existing capacities within our University. We also searched for best practices from established centres abroad, which we could adapt to our environment’s needs and means. C4E’s motto, “Educating, Innovating, Networking,” emerged out of this effort. This triptych epitomizes C4E’s mission, activities, and aspirations. The Centre’s aim, first and foremost, has been the empowerment of University of Cyprus’ students, researchers, faculty, and staff with the skills and the knowledge required to engage in creative, innovative, entrepreneurial activities leading to new ventures or fostering the development of innovative practices and solutions inside existing organizations. Innovation has been the second focal point of C4E’s mission. Widening the university’s innovation output and impact requires an agile environment that is truly supportive to provide world-class services ranging from ideation, innovation design, and rapid prototyping to business analysis, legal, accounting, and intellectual property issues, to seeking international partnerships and attracting investment. However, innovative entrepreneurship is an endeavor that rarely thrives in isolation. It requires continuous interaction and exchanges with numerous stakeholders within and outside the institution and the country. Hence, the third pillar of C4E’s mission: networking. Networking requires a consistent, coherent, and multifaceted effort in communicating the activities, the results and the experiences of C4E and the University’s research units. Networking is necessary for expanding the educational and innovation support role of the Centre, and for building bridges with national and international stakeholders that lead to practical and sustained synergies. This requires the creation of content of high quality in various media formats and its dissemination through multiple channels. Building bridges, however, requires trust, and trust is not a matter of mere words, but of actions consistent with communication, shared values, common priorities, and converging aspirations.
In its first six years of operation, C4E has designed, established, and operated numerous initiatives and processes to advance the three pillars of its mission, including the establishment of the certificate program in entrepreneurship, semester-long and short courses, hands-on training seminars, mentoring programs, distinguished lectures, nation-wide surveys and analyses, student missions abroad, entrepreneurship competitions (SINN and CyEC), business acceleration programs, matchmaking events, and our annual Innovation & Entrepreneurship Forum. In total, in the first 6 years of operation, we organized more than 110 events and activities with over 5500 participants, featuring distinguished entrepreneurs, prominent innovators, experienced trainers from major innovation hubs in the USA, Israel, China, and Europe. We established collaborations with top innovation centers and major stakeholders internationally, regionally, and locally. Most of these activities have been recorded and produced as videos that were posted on our YouTube channel attracting thousands of viewers, or were published in reports and proceedings, online and in hard copy.
Taking the opportunity of this letter, I wish to thank the many individuals who contributed in so many ways to the Centre’s progress. To the C4E staff, who so often work behind the scenes, I am truly amazed by your relentless efforts, professionalism, and enduring loyalty in good times but especially in the challenging times of the Covid-19 period; it has been a great privilege to work with you. To the past and present members of the Council for Entrepreneurship, I have benefited from your passionate devotion, sustained support, and wisdom in establishing and steering the Centre’s course. To the previous and present University Council and Rectorate, no one could have asked for better colleagues, whose good judgment, good nature and effectiveness guaranteed that our efforts would bear results. To our sponsors and partners, including PwC Cyprus and the Ministry of Energy, Commerce and Industry, I am grateful for your trust and continuous support. To the numerous individuals from Cyprus, the Hellenic diaspora and abroad, who volunteered hundreds of hours of their time and expertise - entrepreneurs, innovators, mentors, speakers, trainers, academics – I am indebted by your unwavering support and amazing service. And, to our students and young researchers, you have inspired and motivated all of us at every turn of C4E’s course. What you do in the years ahead will define the true measure of the Centre’s achievement; you are our hope for the future.
As for myself, I intend to focus on my scholarly activities, and hopefully take a sabbatical leave later in 2021, but I shall always be available to help the Centre in any way I can.
Marios D. Dikaiakos
The 5th Annual Innovation & Entrepreneurship Forum
The 5th annual Innovation & Entrepreneurship Forum (IEF2020) took place online on Friday December 18 2020. Opening remarks have been addressed by the Forum’s Chair, Professor Marios D. Dikaiakos, the Minister of Energy, Commerce, and Industry, Ms Natasa Pileidou, and the Chief Scientist of the Republic of Cyprus, Dr. Nicholas Mastroyannopoulos.
The first part of the Forum featured pitches of the Finalists of Cyprus Entrepreneurship Competition 2020 (CyEC) and the winners announcement. The second part focused on ‘The Challenge of AI’, featuring the PwC Distinguished Lecture by Professor Theodoros Evgeniou of INSEAD on ‘Navigating Data and AI Opportunities and Risks: New Challenges for Business and Regulators’. The lecture was followed by a panel discussion moderated by Mr. Evgenios Evgeniou, CEO of PwC Cyprus “The Challenges of AI for Business and Policy Making”. With this year’s focus on ‘The Challenge of AI”, IEF2020 the Forum embarked an interdisciplinary dialogue on the challenges, implications and perspectives that emerge from recent developments in the field of AI followed by the Innovation Capacity Track: Showcasing AI Capacities in Cyprus.
IEF is organized every year from the Centre for Entrepreneurship (C4E) of the University of Cyprus with the support of PwC Cyprus. More information for all the IEF activities http://bit.ly/3i43Buu
The PwC Distinguished Lecture “Navigating Data and AI Opportunities and Risks: New Challenges for Business and Regulators”
The keynote speaker of the 5th Forum’s PwC Distinguished Lecture was professor Theodoros Evgeniou from INSEAD. He presented Data and AI as a promising new value in creating opportunity for business and society and debated the risks that come along. Professor Evgeniou provided some historic perspectives on where AI is coming from and why business and regulators need to think about it differently from other technologies.
Watch the full lecture: https://bit.ly/3rJoJLh
The Winners of the Cyprus Entrepreneurship Competition 2020
The 1st prize winner of the CyEC2020 competition is Malloc, a team of 3 three engineers that created an AI software that aims to provide real time solutions for individuals and businesses worldwide in the area of data and privacy protection, Maria Terzi, Liza Charalambous, Artemis Kontou. The 2nd prize went to the cosmopolitan team of the BeHive Consulting Academy that aims to goal to bridge the gap between learners and the resources and the 3rd prize to ActiveHub who want to bring transparency between public interest organizations and their citizens.
This was the 12th CyEC Award ceremony and it was featured in the opening the 5th Forum, CyEC an initiative embarked by the University of Cyprus for the first time in 2003 and relaunched in 2020. This year organised for the first time by C4E yet again with the support of the Ministry of Energy, Commerce and Industry. The 9 Finalist Teams have successfully attended the CyEC Acceleration Program and after an extensive period of mentoring and workshops and they presented their enhanced Business Plans in front of the CyEC Jury. The award ceremony highlighted the pitching presentations of all the 9 Finalists.
Watch the CyEC2020 Winners presentations: https://bit.ly/3nYcKXP
IEF 2020 Panel Discussion “The Challenges of AI for Business and Policy Making”.
The PwC Distinguished Lecture was followed by a panel discussion with Associated professor Jahna Otterbacher (Open University of Cyprus & RISE CoE), Professor Antonis C. Kakas from the Computer Science Department of the University of Cyprus, Dr. Christina Orphanidou, Data and Artificial Intelligence Lab Manager, PwC Cyprus and the Keynote Speaker professor Theodoros Evgeniou. The discussion was coordinated by Mr Evgenios C Evgeniou, CEO, PwC Cyprus. Watch the discussion https://bit.ly/3rzxbMX
Innovation Capacity Track: Showcasing AI Capacities in Cyprus
The 5th Forum Innovation Capacity Track was dedicated to "The Challenge of Artificial Intelligence" and brought together existing capacities in Cyprus regarding research activities, industrial expertise, and training initiatives in Artificial Intelligence. The abstracts and information of all contributors can be viewed in the Forum’s Agenda. During the Innovation Capacity Track event, representatives from the AI4EU project presented its main activities and its new open call funding possibilities for innovative problems and solutions in practical AI.
Watch the Innovation Capacity Track presentations https://bit.ly/34UdKVc
Meet the Finalists of CyEC2020
The Key players of CyEC2020-the Finalists that participated to the second phase of the competition and the acceleration program are: ActiveHub, BeHive Consulting Academy, Fooderloo, Malloc, Qbon, Skysolutions, SmartEye, Spacemou and Victual:
More information about the selected teams of CyEC 2020 is published on the competition’s website: https://cyec.org.cy/teams/
A Hybrid Fall Semester
C4E101: Series of Lectures on Innovation and Entrepreneurship – Fall Semester 2020
During the Fall Semester, 15 students were enrolled for the C4E 101 and 6 for the C4E 102: Group Project in Entrepreneurship. C4E organized and supported 10 lectures, seminars, and
workshops. Due to the Covid 19 circumstances most of the events have been held online. On September 30 we hosted Marilena Shakalli Maroudia with the PwC Lecture: “Introduction to Negotiation Skills’ which is a regular lecture for C4E 101, the workshop was held with physical presence attended by approximately 32 participants from the University of Cyprus community and beyond and held with respecting all the protection measures of the Ministry of Health for covid19. We had 2 workshops with our partner Odysseas Economides Intro to 3D Design and Intro to 3D Print. We hosted Professor Muhammad Hamid Zaman of Howard Hughes Medical Institute , Departments of Biomedical Engineering and International Health with an online lecture on “Designing and scaling ethical engineering solutions for improving refugee health ”. On November 8th Menelaos Menelaou Executive Director at Youth Board of Cyprus, gave an Online Talk on Design Thinking.
The C4E 101 students had the opportunity to attend 3 of the CyEC Acceleration online workshops: The “From business idea to business model” with Giorgos Papagiannakis, the PwC Workshop: Create and Manage your own Business: A quick overview of key accounting and tax matters affecting your business with our long term associate Michalis Stavrides and the Finding the right marketing approach – Framework and tools with Gabriel Colic co-founder and General Manager for Cyprus at startup FlexCar.
Get more updates on the program of the Series of Lectures on Innovation and Entrepreneurship here.
Group Project (C4E 102 Elective Course) : Group Project in Entrepreneurship) Student team presents “SoundBreaker”How might we reduce the levels of noise in libraries and other quiet spaces? This was the problem explored by a team of students of the KEP102 – Group Project in Entrepreneurship course given in the fall of 2020. The students, Andreas Charalambous, Eleni Stylianou, Dimos Vamvourellis, Panagiotis Andreou, Constantinos Pafitis and Kostas Pasiourtidis from the departments of Electrical and Computer Engineering, European Studies, Computer Science and Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering have developed and prototyped SoundBreaker, a cyber-physical system using sensors to detect noise and notify the person in charge of the space, via messaging, to take action. The team developed a business plan and has already engaged in discussions with the University of Cyprus library for implementing a first demonstrator in real environment.
Knowledge Alliance for Evidence-Based Urban Practices (KAEBUP)
The Centre for Entrepreneurship participates in the European project KAEBUP as part of the University of Cyprus team, together with the Department of Architecture and the Software Engineering and Internet Technologies Laboratory (SEIT) lab of the Computer Science Department. This Knowledge Alliance’s main objective is to create an international educational and training method with experiential professional engagement, use of research as the basis for innovative professional practices and knowledge exchange between academia and businesses in the field of planning, architecture and urban design.
KAEBUP’s partners comprise HEIs, NGOs and enterprises from different European cities, who have expertise of evidence-based design and wish to strengthen the links between businesses and HEIs to mutually benefit from the tools that research can provide to enterprises. The cooperation between KAEBUP’s partners will be the key for addressing current needs and developing future educational systems providing students with the skills to enter the professional world and inspire HEI staff to innovate through research.
The 2nd EIT Digital Innovation Game in the University of Cyprus
The 2nd Innovation Game was hosted online on November 4th in collaboration with EIT Digital and Found.ation. The workshop steers participants through a process of team-based ideation and mock execution, simulating how start-up ideas are developed. No particular technical skills required to participate. The trainer was Marton Belik from International Education Lead at EIT Digital.
BridgesOfSolidarity : Cyprus-Lebanon Hackathon
The Youth Board of Cyprus and the Asher Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (ACIE) of The Holy Spirit University of Kaslik (USEK) and numerous important members of the two innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystems initiated, organized and implemented a Digital Hackathon aiming to join forces between young Cypriot and Lebanese members of the technological, innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystems of the two neighboring countries.
The Centre for Entrepreneurship cooperated for the support of the #BridgesOfSolidarity Hackathon (http://bridgesofsolidarity.com/) and also by participating in the Jury Members and Mentors.
During the Fall Semester 2020 the PwC Makerspace area has been modified in order to better serve the community and a new electronic lending system for the equipment was installed. There is some new equipment for the soldering station and the Mac is available for the 3D printer and VR programs. Get into the PwC Makerspace! https://youtu.be/_4j6S5vLXTg and check the available equipment http://bit.ly/3mVjYKL
Noteworthy Events and News
Global Entrepreneurship Hackathon Series
The Ureka Foundation's Global Entrepreneurship Hackathon Series powered by Ureka Education UK and INREGU, France is an intensive International Masterclass from London Business school and University of Oxford alumni: 6 hours of scintillating action with learning, brainstorming, ideation and team work.
Learn more and participate http://bit.ly/3px6TJn
Covid-19: a catalyst for change
The impact of Covid-19 pandemic across six key sector’s brands and businesses. As we emerge from a second lockdown, The Future Laboratory reflects on how this has played out, from phygital rehabilitation to at-home imagination travel kits.