Cyprus Entrepreneurship Competition (CyEC) is an annual contest that has been taking place since 2003. The competition aims at cultivating entrepreneurial attitude among young scientists, startup founders and high tech entrepreneurs in Cyprus. It challenges the participants to transform their ideas into real business opportunities and later lead forward-thinking companies. CyEC is sponsored by the Ministry of Energy, Commerce and Industry of Cyprus and Powerstar, a British engineering market leader in smart energy solutions. The competition is held on the premises of the University of Cyprus.
Competing vs. Learning
Though the event is manifested as a business plan competition, the overall idea is rooted in an educational initiative. The CyEC participants work under careful guidance of the assigned mentors, who are internationally accomplished entrepreneurs, to transform innovative ideas into economically viable business projects. As the participants go along various stages of the event, they learn to apply entrepreneurial thinking into practice and sharpen such soft skills as being an effective presenter, working in a team, integrated problem-solving, etc. What is more, the business plans, developed and polished during the competition, get exposed to potential investors who may find them worthy of additional financial support.
Going in line with traditional standards of a competition, the first three CyEC finalists are given monetary rewards.
What’s on agenda?
First, those wishing to participate have to submit a 3-page executive summary of their project in which they describe the essence of their business idea, its advantages, its target audience and the composition of a team. The CyEC Jury panel, consisting of academics and entrepreneurs, evaluates the summaries against the metrics in innovation and feasibility of the idea.
When successfully passing the evaluation stage, participants are invited to a Kickoff Weekend, which is an obligatory prerequisite for taking part in the actual competition. All in all, a Kickoff Weekend is a three-day action learning workshop that exposes participants to the most relevant entrepreneurship techniques and principles, such as Lean Startup, Effectuation, Business Model Canvas, etc.
The competition itself includes several phases, i.e. teaming, idea generation, prototyping, commercialisation and marketing. Participants are expected to develop a presentation with their business proposition and submit it to the CyEC Jury that considers proposed high tech ventures and selects the finalists. The finalists, in their turn, have to defend their business proposals in front of the CyEC Jury. The competition is rounded up with the Award Ceremony at which the three winners are announced.
What has CyEC given to Cyprus?
To Cyprus, CyEC was an opportune event to spot talented minds in the high tech domain, as well as to increase the awareness of business-oriented entrepreneurship in the country. Since the competition invited experts and entrepreneurs from various fields, it allowed local talents to explore different business sectors and create/co-create at the confluence of cognate or semi-cognate areas.
This article is based on a case study originally written by Novatex Solutions Ltd, developed as a part of the WEXHE Project.