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First Bi-Communal Startup Mentorship Programme Connects Across the Divide

First Bi-Communal Startup Mentorship Programme Connects Across the Divide

CyprusInno, the first and largest bi-communal digital platform connecting Cypriot entrepreneurs, has successfully concluded its first Bi-Communal Startup Mentorship Programme.  The programme connected some of the most successful Cypriot business leaders with entrepreneurs island-wide.

Entrepreneurs gained access to Skype sessions and email exchanges with their mentor, as well as marketing via CyprusInno’s website and social media channels.  In some cases, the entrepreneurs and mentors met in person.  Entrepreneurs worked with their mentors to tackle business challenges, explore growth opportunities, and seek advice on upcoming projects.  As a result, the entrepreneurs launched websites, adjusted their pricing strategies, enhanced their social media presence, expanded their product lines, and more.

Commenting on his experience, Co-Founder of MISIRiX Ali Furkan Cetiner, mentored by KPMG Cyprus Board Member Pangratios Vanezis, stated, “Working with Pangratios gave me a much clearer picture and vision about the future of MISIRiX".  Vanezis remarked, "It was a great experience, a tremendous opportunity to be able to assist in any way possible and more importantly to see that there is impact based on the process. We will definitely stay in touch and will be available to Ali to continue this process.”

Entrepreneurs from all over Cyprus were invited to apply for the programme.  Six entrepreneurs were selected from a large pool of applicants, each paired with one of six mentors, all successful Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot entrepreneurs and business leaders.  Selected Greek Cypriot entrepreneurs were paired with Turkish Cypriot mentors and selected Turkish Cypriot entrepreneurs were paired with Greek Cypriot mentors. The programme also saw participation from bi-communal teams and other Cyprus-based entrepreneurs.

"CyprusInno’s mentorship programme is a step forward in connecting people from different backgrounds in Cyprus,” said Andreas Hadjisofocleous, Entrepreneur and Director of HJS, who mentored Founder of Interpreter Melis Menent.  Hadjisofocleous added, “It’s definitely a unique experience which challenges established stereotypes and beliefs. It was a pleasure mentoring Melis and I am glad that through entrepreneurship we are helping to positively shape a peaceful future in Cyprus.”  Commenting on her experience with Hadjisofocleous, Menent noted, “Working with a mentor gives you the possibility to articulate the problems you may be facing…I can say that we are good friends now.”

Co-Founder of Controlley George Papageorgiou, mentored by serial entrepreneur Tunc Yalgin, commented, “It’s been a great privilege to be part of this programme.  It helped us look at our project from different angles.”  He continued, “A bi-communal startup mentorship programme is a great example of building trust among people and communities.  What essentially takes place is accepting (trusting) the genuine advice of someone who believes that the success of the other and of the whole community is his or her success too.”

CEO of BirthForward Veronika Christodoulides, mentored by Charis Michael, stated, “Charis helped me keep us focused and offered knowledge and guidance. Her support gave me more confidence.”  She added, “We were in a bit of a transformation phase, and Charis was very helpful and reassuring so I led the organisation in the right direction.” 

The programme also featured a bi-communal web TV project whose team was mentored by Gunperi Sisman, as well as Founder of Roads & Keys Angela Kashina mentored by Loacal Founder Aysem Zorlu.

“It was really inspiring for us to see how innovators from both communities worked together in the spirit of entrepreneurship,” said Steven W. Stavrou, CyprusInno co-founder. CyprusInno co-founder Burak Berk Doluay added, “We were honored to be able to organize and facilitate this programme, and we send a big thank you to the entrepreneurs and the mentors for their participation.  We look forward to the next one and to connecting the island day by day via entrepreneurship!”

To learn more about all the mentors and the entrepreneurs, and to stay up-to-date on the next call for applications, visit: http://cyprusinno.com/mentorship-programme/.


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