Steven W. Stavrou & Burak Berk Doluay co-founded CyprusInno, an island-wide entrepreneurship ecosystem working to connect entrepreneurs in Cyprus (and other post-conflict regions) to build peace via entrepreneurship, technology, and innovation.
Steven and the CyprusInno team operate The Base by CyprusInno, the first Social Impact Generator™ located in a demilitarized zone. The Base 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’s digital platform connects young people and entrepreneurs from across the political divide in Cyprus and promotes peacebuilding with the help of innovation.
Steven is also a startup mentor for the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network’s social business accelerator program, as well as a board member of GreekTech – the first New York City based tech community and startup accelerator built by and for Greek and Cypriot entrepreneurs.
Burak’s passion for community development and social change has led him to take an active role in several NGOs over the past 8 years. In September 2018, he was selected as one of the UN Young Leaders for the SDGs by the Office of the UN Secretary General’s Envoy on Youth.
What do you/your organisation hope to achieve after your success in the Innovation Awards?
“We hope to continue our journey of building peace through entrepreneurship via the operation of our new innovation space, The Base by CyprusInno. We are striving for an active community of start-up founders and innovators from both sides and communities of our island who work from, get trained and accelerated at, and attend events at The Base, among other things. If our vision here is successful, we’ll look to replicate our model in other regions.”
What are the biggest challenges you are facing to nurture and expand your innovation and its impact?“The geopolitical situation in and around our island makes achieving the long-term impact of peace and reconciliation a difficult prospect. However, we believe that at the community level we can do great things working together via business. By limiting physical interactions, the COVID-19 pandemic has made peacebuilding through any means quite challenging. Digital peacebuilding through entrepreneurship is effective but is not enough on its own to sustain long term impact through innovation.”