By Demetra Molyva
Cyprus Seeds is a pioneering, non-profit organisation based in Nicosia. Its mission is to assist the commercialisation of innovative research from Cypriot universities and place Cyprus on the world map of innovation.
To achieve its objectives, it offers a very competitive 12-month funding programme that includes pre-seed funding in the form of grants, mentoring, business skills training, and networking with potential customers and private investors in Cyprus and abroad.
The organisation finds its inspiration from similar successful initiatives in the US and Europe.
Designed by Oxford-educated Maria Markidou Georgiadou, with the help of Greeks and Cypriots of the Diaspora in the US, Cyprus Seeds attracts donations from world-class organisations. These include the Hellenic Initiative (THI) and the A.G. Leventis Foundation and private corporations in Cyprus, including Eurobank, EY Cyprus, Medochemie Pharmaceuticals and Alpha Mega.
Since the beginning, the Cypriot government has supported the Cyprus Seeds programme through funding that matches privately raised funds.
Cyprus Seeds runs its second cycle and currently supports 12 talented academics and researchers from universities in Cyprus and two centres of excellence, including CYENS and KIOS.
The 12 projects range from different sectors of the economy, including health, solar energy, water technology, devices & materials, arts, agriculture, and computer science.
It targets talented researchers, academic faculty, post-docs, and MS/PhD students engaged in innovative scientific research with strong IP value and the potential to scale up.
Cyprus Seeds is a lean organisation with an extensive network of partners, including the MIT Deshpande Centre for Technological Innovation in the USA and the MIT Enterprise Forum Greece, one of the Global MITEF Chapters Athens offers the accelerator programme for start-ups in Greece.
Cyprus Seeds also has a big international network of experienced mentors who offer pro-bono advice and support to the research teams, helping them accelerate the commercialisation of their innovative research and network with private investors abroad.
Even though two years old, Cyprus Seeds has gained an excellent reputation in the academic research community, attracting around 60 applications to its annual competition call. The annual funding cycle of the programme includes:
– Pre-Seed funding in the form of grants ranging from €10,000 to €100,000.
– A mentoring programme that assigns experienced high-calibre mentors from abroad to each research team.
– A series of training workshops on practical training on topics critical to commercialising scientific research, including filing for an IP. Market exploitation and pitching to investors.
– Networking events that allow research teams to meet and connect with private-sector industry leaders.
At the end of each funding period, a Demo Day is organised, giving grantees the opportunity to pitch in front of investors, business angels, and venture capital funds.
Cyprus Seeds is a national effort with enormous benefits for the country, including establishing technology companies, opportunities for high-skilled jobs and keeping Cypriot scientists at home.
Under the motto “Planting the Seed of Future Success”, the organisation stimulates a new-technology driven entrepreneurial culture in Cyprus and helps improve links between academia and the industry.
Finally, it creates an ecosystem of new companies that will render Cyprus attractive to international investment.
To learn more about Cyprus Seeds and its 12 innovative research teams, visit www.cyprusseeds.com.