The €7.2 million Safeguarding & Creating Employment Grant Scheme in the Turkish Cypriot community is managed under the European Union funded Innovative Entrepreneurship project. It is in direct response to the COVID-19 crisis and focuses on providing financial and capability support to SMEs. Overall, the programme aims to positively impact the stabilisation of the post-pandemic economy in the Turkish Cypriot community.
Following the success of the 2021 ‘Lifeline Support’ Financial Support Scheme targeting SMEs in the food & beverage and hair & beauty sectors, Phase I of the Safeguarding & Creating Employment Scheme adopted similar grant principles to industry and business to business SMEs (2 – 15 employees). More than 750 businesses received financial support of €1500.
The emphasis for Phase II turned to capacity building and sustainability through the creation of up to 240 new jobs, whilst sustaining existing ones in the medium to long term. Eighty-six businesses (with up to 49 employees) were awarded grants of up to €60,000 at the beginning of 2022 to stimulate sustainable business growth. The combined package offers specialist support, funding for new equipment and employment opportunities, whilst the delivery model encourages businesses to compete in new markets and/ or innovate through digital and green transition, amongst a range of plans.
To ensure success, the delivery of what is essentially a grant management scheme, has moved away from a traditional process-oriented approach towards a client-centric solution. A team of local Business Support Officers with a strong understanding of business in the Turkish Cypriot community, with the support of a range of international experts work one-to-one with individual portfolios of beneficiaries. Cultivating strong working relationships, developing well-informed business insights and collaboratively evaluating progress will be key to achieving programme success.
The scheme is managed within the scope of the ‘Innovative Entrepreneurship and Dialogue’ project implemented by NI-CO and financed by the European Union, in coordination with the ‘European Union Coordination Centre’ (EUCC) and in cooperation with the ‘Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Industry’ (KTSO), ‘Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Commerce’ (KTTO), ‘Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Shopkeepers & Artisans’ (KTEZO), and ‘Turkish Cypriot Investment Development Agency’ (YAGA).