Startups4peace 2022 in the divided island of Cyprus

A successful Startups4Peace year in Cyprus came to its end. Two bootcamps, a pitching battle and a memorable trip to SLUSH in Helsinki for four winning teams provided a unique experience that helped startups in Cyprus from both communities to develop.

The experience at SLUSH(layout.types.url.description) 2022 showed the Startups4Peace(layout.types.url.description) winners that the sky is the limit, and that there are no checkpoints when it comes to business.

While in Helsinki in November 2022, Startups4Peace delegation from Cyprus met the Director for the Unit for South-Eastern Europe, Markku Lampinen and the desk officer for Cyprus, Marja Cruz. Startups team discussed about their work, vision and business ideas at a relaxed lunch by the Senate square.

The delegation also had a tour at A-Grid(layout.types.url.description) at Aalto University, a startup hub where people and ideas grow in a safe and inviting environment. The team members were all amazed by the great work and dedication that entrepreneurs give to their vision and businesses.

At A Grid, Aalto University Campus.

The program of the delegation included a visit to Maria 01​ in one of SLUSH side events; Maria 01(layout.types.url.description) is an entrepreneurial community and a selection-based campus for tech teams.

At SLUSH the teams had two full days of meetings with investors, other startups and potential partners, followed by inspirational speeches from Finland’s Prime Minister Sanna Marin, the European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth Mariya Gabriel, Nikolay Storonsky, founder and CEO of REVOLUT, Miki Kuusi co-founder and CEO of Wolt and many more.

Startups4Peace t​eam members Şirin & Ayşe said, “overall, this whole experience gave me so much confidence and inspiration! I want to thank the Finnish Embassy in Nicosia and all involved for this amazing opportunity. We learned so much out of every single aspect of SLUSH.”

The team had a chance to experience Finnish Sauna, of course, and even a dip in the ice cold water. Egehan said “If you want to travel and enjoy Finland, first go ice swimming. Otherwise you will freeze”.

Iasonas and Charis from JJobo startup, an online services marketplace platform, said: “As a team we gained an admirable technological and entrepreneurial experience through our visit to Finland and at SLUSH. We had the opportunity to experience the Finnish culture, infrastructure and heritage, to meet with business people, investors and entrepreneurs. That was indeed a very inspiring, educational and motivating trip for us.” 

The benefit of Startups4Peace is not only on the program itself, but on the inspiration, the contacts and the friendship that young people from both communities experience.  

​Startups4Peace program is one of the few ongoing bicommunal programs at the moment on the divided island of Cyprus that gives this opportunity to startups from both communities to come together, learn and develop. The program has been a valuable contribution to the peace process in Cyprus for the past seven years. There is an increase in the interest to participate to the program on both sides of the island; in the Turkish speaking north and in the Greek speaking Republic of Cyprus in the south.

The Startups4Peace team expresses its many thanks to the Embassy of Finland in Nicosia and the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland for their support.

Startups4Peace 2022 delegation at Senate square and the Cathedral in Helsinki, Finland.


More information

Startups4Peace is a competition and mini-acceleration programme co-funded by the Embassy of Finland and the European Union within the scope of the Innovative Entrepreneurship project, implemented by NI-CO. The programme is delivered in partnership with CYENS, Cyprus Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Commerce.