A series of free workshops aiming to support small and medium enterprises in the area of food production, funded largely by the US State Department, was launched on Friday afternoon in Akaki village, in Nicosia District.
The two-day workshops will deal with matters such as product quality and certification, safety and health processes, entrepreneurial development, networking, marketing, branding and funding, and are taking place from January 27 until March 18 in the villages of Anogyra, Akaki, Galata, Athienou, Kyprerounda, Neapolis University in Paphos, the Cyprus University of Technology in Limassol, and Odou village, and are open to the public.
The workshops are organised by the Cyprus Food and Nutrition Museum. Interested parties can access the workshops’ programme on: https://goo.gl/5LdQOT
This is the first time a Cypriot team has ever been among the winners of the Alumni Engagement Innovation Fund, a State Department programme that gives money created by alumni of our exchange programmes, US Ambassador to Nicosia Kathleen Doherty said, congratulating Chrystalleni Lazarou, head of the Board of the Cyprus Food Museum, and her team for their victory.
“The submissions come in from around the world and the competition – as it often is in the United States – is fierce since only a small number of the projects can win,” she noted, pointing out that last year 829 proposals were submitted from 137 countries.
Doherty also spoke of the support the US has given Cyprus, noting that “over the last four decades the US government has spent more than 500 million dollars here to provide educational opportunities, to strengthen bi-communal ties and to foster innovation and entrepreneurship in the private sector.
“At the same time more than 2,500 Cypriots have travelled to the US to study at American colleges and universities through the CASP and Fulbright programmes,” she said. “Over 4,000”, she added, have gone on shorter but still valuable exchange programmes.”
Cypriot Minister of Agriculture, Rural Development and Environment Nicos Kouyialis make a particular reference to the certification of Cypriot products in the EU. The government, he said, encourages the certification of Cypriot products as Protected Geographical Indications (PGI) of the EU.
“We feel that in doing so we create the conditions for real rural development because we support SMEs, we create new jobs and we improve the standard of living in our rural areas,” he pointed out.
He added that in the commercial treaties signed by the EU with third countries Cyprus calls for PGIs to be recognised. Addressing the US Ambassador, he expressed the hope that this will be the case in the treaty to be signed with the USA.
Kouyialis also assured that the growth of entrepreneurship and the promotion of Cyprus` quality local products are a priority for the Ministry and the government in general.
Cyprus Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) Senior Director Leonidas Paschalides congratulated the museum for its initiative and said that “continuous training and lifelong learning together with innovation and an emphasis on quality are the main ingredients of entrepreneurial success and are concepts which SMEs must embrace from an early stage in their effort to survive and to grow in a constantly changing business environment, whether technologically or otherwise.”