Athena High Technology Incubator Ltd (AHTI)
Athena High Technology Incubator Ltd (AHTI) is a VC driven, business incubator and accelerator based out of Cyprus. AHTI is a member of international associations such as the International Association of Science Parks (IASP), the National Business Incubation Association (NBIA) and the Incubator Forum (Gate2Growth) as well as an Associate Member of the European BIC Network (EBN). AHTI is a wholly owned subsidiary of Athena Public Company Ltd. (Athena), a Cyprus Stock Exchange listed company.
AHTI's mission statement is "To accelerate the development and drive start-up companies to sustained profitable growth, by providing them with access to funding and steering them operationally and strategically"
In summary, the company's key activities involve:
- Identifying new technologies and start-up companies mainly from Israel, Greece, Russia and Cyprus which have already developed a prototype, have a patent or have technology that can be considered proprietary
- Having the overall responsibility for the conduct of commercial and technology due diligence on these new technologies/start-ups
- Providing funding to promising new technologies/start-ups which pass the due diligence criteria for funding and enrolment to the accelerator (up to EUR 1 million per company through mother company)
- Steering them operationally and strategically, at a Board level, so as the accelerate their development and drive them to sustainable and profitable growth
The company is also involved in EU funded projects that are directly related to its major activities in the areas of innovation, technology transfer, entrepreneurship, venture capital and business incubation.
A feasibility study, sponsored by the government of Cyprus is underway for the development of a Technology Park in Cyprus. The preliminary area that has been selected is at the south coast of Cyprus (Pentakomo) and covers approximately 1.783.000 square meters.
The Government of Cyprus of Cyprus has already reached an agreement with Harvard University to utilize the park for educational purposes.
RESEARCH & DEVELOPMENT
The Cyprus government recognized that in order to become an international knowledge development center, amongst others, it is imperative to extend and upgrade her infrastructure relating to research, improve the quality and attractiveness of higher education and encourage the active involvement of Cypriot scientists, living in Cyprus and abroad, to further their research and entrepreneurial activities.
In the past decade, steps taken towards this direction include, amongst others, the establishment of the University of Cyprus, the Cyprus Institute of Neurology and Genetics, research institutions by the private sector, the Research Promotion Foundation, participation in FP5 and FP6 and an agreement reached with Harvard for the development of a research center dealing with health and environment.
INCUBATOR FACILITIES IN THE REGION
The government of Cyprus has recently established a programme for creating new small and medium high technology enterprises and innovation through incubating companies. The programme is under the auspices of the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism.
The services provided to the start-up companies include among others:
- Provision of funding for administrative expenses, for research and technological development and investments,
- Consulting services regarding registration and other legal issues of establishment of companies, provision of office space,
- Library and information centres, as well as administrative and financial support.
Each of the start-up companies enrolled in the program can receive up to EUR 200k from the government in the form of a grant. There are currently four business incubators participating in the government program.
EDUCATION & TRAINING
One of the aims of Cyprus is to become a regional educational centre. The University of Cyprus, established in the early 90s, has five faculties in Humanities and Social Sciences, Pure and Applied Sciences, Economics and Management, Engineering and Letters.
A second university, the Technological University of Cyprus is expected to be established soon with emphasis in technological applications, health services, economics and management, geotechnical services and applied arts and communication. In addition, there are several private colleges which are soon to be elevated to universities offering degrees in areas such as Business Administration, Engineering, Computer Science etc.
SUPPORT FOR BUSINESS START-UPS
The government of Cyprus has recently adopted and released a number of various funding programmes for SMEs, especially business start-ups.
This policy has been adopted by the government to provide practical and financial support to business start-ups. Among these programmes, apart from the one described above, the most common are the programmes for Young Entrepreneurs as well as Women Entrepreneurs. These programmes aim exactly at providing support for business start-ups for the first 2-5 years, covering expenses such as office space and technological support.
Furthermore, in the private sector, a number of Incubators have been established the last few years, among those Athena High Technology Incubator Ltd, providing services such as access to funds, office space, support services, including management support as well as support for research and technological development.
- Access to funds (EUR 300k - EUR 1million) through the company's major shareholders and other affiliates
- Office space along with internet infrastructure, secretarial support, receptionist, conference rooms etc.
- Company set-up and support services, including Accounting, Legal, IT Infrastructure, Health Care, and Banking Facilitation.
- Strategic and Managerial Support services, such as Networking, Corporate Governance, Marketing, Mentoring, Financial Advise, Human Resources Management.
- Full relocation services and advice concerning matters such as accommodation, transportation, educational system, legal status, and other regulatory matters/ licenses.
- Researching and applying for grants/subsidies such as different types of programs sponsored by the European Union.
LINKS TO MOST IMPORTANT WEBSITES OF THE REGION
Official website of Cyprus
Athena High Technology Incubator Ltd
Cyprus Chamber of Commerce and Industry
Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism
Employers & Industrialists Federation Cyprus
Cyprus Organisation for Promotion of Quality