The Innovative Entrepreneurship Project
Within the Turkish Cypriot community (TCc) there are some 17,800 registered Small Medium Enterprise (SMEs) with some 40% of these based in Nicosia. A high percentage of TCc businesses are in the hospitality and retail sectors. The level of ICT based or more innovative businesses is low with the majority of businesses being in low tech/low innovation and low value added sectors, such as trade and services.
SME’s are fundamental to the European economy and represent 99% of the total business population in the EU. These businesses provide some 85% of new jobs and two thirds of overall private sector employment. The ‘business birth rate’ and levels of entrepreneurial activity are critical to the economic wellbeing of an area. In addition the level of innovation in new and existing businesses contributes to the success of enterprises and their ability to grow and compete in export markets. In a knowledge based environment the private sector, public sector and the education sector all have complimentary functions resulting in a tripartite approach and high levels of innovation.
The enterprise culture within the TC’c is seen as being weak and the enterprise support system requires significant development. Turkish Cypriots generally do not see setting up an innovative entrepreneurial business as a real career destination.
The EU funded Innovative Entrepreneurship project aims to:
- Increase the levels of interest in self -employment/ entrepreneurship
- Increase the levels of small business start-up growth and survival
- Improve the support structures to support new business start up
- Increase the levels of innovation activity for new business, existing business, education and research
- Develop a sustainable enterprise/ business innovation centre HUB – as the heartbeat of innovation and outreach structures
NI-CO HQ & NI-CO Nicosia Team
NI-CO have been appointed by the European Union to deliver the Innovative Entrepreneurship project for the Turkish Cypriot community over the period January 2019 to December 2023. Since its establishment in 1992, NI-CO has delivered over 700 contracts in more than 119 countries on behalf of a range of funding agencies. NI-CO is a Northern Ireland based not for profit, public body dedicated to the pursuit of building efficient, accountable and sustainable public sector institutions capable of implementing positive change and delivering excellence with integrity. We employ 22 staff in our Belfast Head Office with 18 staff based in our Nicosia branch.