Burak Berk Doluay
Co-Founder & Director
UN Young World Leader for the SDGs, Young European Leader, SUSI Student Leaders on Social Entrepreneurship Fellow, Young Transatlantic Innovation Leaders Initiative Fellow, EU Trainer
Steven W. Stavrou
Co-Founder & Director
Price-Babson MBA Fellow for Entrepreneurship, Muhammad Yunus and Youth Fellow, Obama Leader Europe, European Health Parliament Alum
BS in International and European Studies and pursing a Master’s in Sustainable Development. Founder Zero Food Waste Cyprus in 2018, an initiative aimed at tackling food waste across the island
Experienced Communications Consultant with a demonstrated history of working in the public relations and communications industry.
Cyprus, an Eastern Mediterranean island-nation, has been divided between a Turkish-Cypriot north and a Greek-Cypriot south for nearly 50 years. Its capital of Nicosia is the last divided capital in Europe. Failed peace talks have left young Cypriots uncertain about the future of their country, where conflict between rival communities still exists. Yet, Cyprus remains a glimmer of hope in a highly volatile region of the world, geographically positioned in the Middle East, nestled in the Levant at the crossroads of three continents. Furthermore, the island has the potential to serve as a model for peace, stability, and prosperity across this region.
CyprusInno is an award-winning inter-communal social venture working towards building an island-wide entrepreneurial ecosystem in Cyprus via a hybrid platform of digital tools and live events while utilizing a novel method of entrepreneurship as a mechanism for peacebuilding. Our team engaged with entrepreneurs, academics, students, activists, innovators, policy makers, and others to discuss challenges facing all communities in Cyprus. As a driver of economic growth and job creation, entrepreneurship addresses these challenges while also helping bridge the gap between Cypriots on both sides of the island. We focus on entrepreneurship as a mechanism that unifies, inspires, and leads to social and economic development and youth engagement.
As citizens of a divided country, we thought critically about how to best build sustainable peace beyond limited traditional methods that had only reached a small portion of Cypriots. The model we developed to tackle this is supported by analysis backing the economic benefits of a Cyprus solution. Unification is estimated to increase the island’s GDP, employment opportunities, and growth in various sectors. By increasing business collaboration between Greek- and Turkish-Cypriots, we hope to create a path for a peaceful and prosperous nation. Aside from being an important driver of economic development, entrepreneurship is also an instrumental peace-building mechanism. Global peace through commerce can be achieved via accessible entrepreneurial capital, a key success factor for entrepreneurship that many conflict regions lack. According to the 2018 Global Peace Index, conflict has significant economic impact. In fact, when measuring the cost of violence as a share of GDP, Cyprus ranks 7thin the world. Economics is a driver of positive peace. Historically, low peace nations that have made significant improvements in positive peace have seen the strongest economic returns. Similarly, GDP growth has been three times higher in highly peaceful countries vs. countries with low levels of peace.
CyprusInno was founded in 2016 by a mixed Greek- and Turkish-Cypriot team who overcame historical and geographical divisions to the largest platform connecting entrepreneurs across the island via digital tools and live events. The organisation digitized/united the ecosystem via its web platform with 4,000+ members, a startups map, a jobs board, a funding database, a mobile app for virtual networking, and an e-learning lab with free coursework, and later expanded to host live inter-communal trainings, mentorship programs, networking events, hackathons, bootcamps, panels, and pre-accelerator programs, including innovative youth-focused entrepreneurship programs. CyprusInno additionally contributes to policy regarding entrepreneurship, youth, peace, and security, on the EU and UN levels.
Today, CyprusInno operates The Base by CyprusInno, a historic space located within the UN Buffer Zone which it transformed from a military container into a Social Impact Generator™.
The Base by CyprusInno, the world’s first Social Impact Generator™, combines the elements of a coworking center, meeting/office space, accelerator/incubator, innovation center, and multimedia studio located on the grounds of the historic Ledra Palace in Cyprus’ UN Buffer Zone in the city of Nicosia, the last divided capital in the world. It is the first space of its kind in the world situated in a demilitarized zone, positioning Cyprus as a potential model for other countries and regions.
A Social Impact Generator™ is an ever-evolving, multi-purpose space that enables the co-creation of social and economic impact in various fields of focus by bringing together both the private and public sectors, as well as civil society, via a hybrid platform of digital and physical tools.
The Base by CyprusInno was built by hand by CyprusInno cofounders and a few gracious helpers, using local producers and upcycling methods, and the MVP was self-funded entirely by the organization’s limited savings.
CyprusInno measures success in three ways. First, we measure success by engagement. This includes number of users, learners, event attendees, and more. Second, there is an economic benefit to success measured by the number of business collaborations we are able to achieve. The third is a social success metric measured by cross-border interactions. These initiatives described as part of our solution have led to new businesses, cross-border collaborations, and, most significantly, first-meetings between Greek and Turkish Cypriots in the name of entrepreneurship. We also have witnessed a handful of success stories from Greek and Turkish Cypriots who met at our mixers for the first time and collaborated on their businesses or on a new business shortly thereafter.