The 55 startups currently active in Cyprus typically employ two to five people, have an average operating run of three-and-a-half years and have only limited participation of women, according to a study conducted by the University of Cyprus’ Center for Entrepreneurship.
“Cyprus’ entrepreneurial ecosystem has achieved great progress in the past decade but there is still a lot to do to fully utilize the tremendous potential this field can give the country’s economy,” PwC Cyprus, which supported the study, said in a press release, highlighting this as its most important finding.
Out of the 55 startup companies active in Cyprus, 31 are based in Nicosia, 13 in Limassol and three in Larnaca. Only 4% of them are identified as pre-startup companies. The vast majority of startups (91%) are headquartered in Cyprus with an average age of 3.5 years.
Most of these pre-startup companies are research spinoffs, but despite having a product or MVP they are not yet registered companies. The main reason, according to the study, is the legislation, which places restrictions on spinoffs originating in public universities, according to the statement.
Their composition is predominately male, with only 17% having either a female founder or co-founder, suggesting there is a need for further enhancement of the role of women in this field.
Most startups, or 64%, consist of small teams of two to five employees, teams with five to 10 staff represent 25%, followed by companies with 10 to 50 at 9%, and only 2% with large teams of up to 100 employees.
The study also found that 60% of people active in the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Cyprus believe local conditions are favorable and the infrastructure is good for startups, while 40% thought there is still “huge room for improvement.”
The best aspects, according to the survey, concern the areas of “information and communication technologies” and “favorable conditions for starting a business,” followed by the “level of regulation” and “access to research facilities and universities.” On the downside, “access to funding,” along with “access and support in finding qualified staff” have been the two factors that remain problematic. Early-stage startups and pre-startup teams overall, have trouble taking off in Cyprus, mainly because they face difficulties reaching out to investors.