Nicosia, 29 July 2019

The buzz is still very much alive after the incredible Lead Cyprus Summer Camp week we had! It was a bumpy ride that was also so rewarding is pretty much felt like a rollercoaster! The support of the British High Commission and RISE kept us level-headed, focused and ready to deliver the biggest initiative of its kind.

So in a nutshell, here is what happened!

Members of the Lead Cyprus team crossed the border on the 15th of July heading to Kyrenia to kick off the first day and first thematic on the island! The mixture of volunteers, organizers, locals, and speakers was great and set the tone for the rest of the day. Most of the speakers were visiting Kyrenia and our host, GiGEM, for the first time. Participants traveled from all around the island, as far as Paphos!

Nicosia kicked-off its week on the afternoon of the 15th in the Ledra Palace Hotel. Our first workshop in Nicosia was about leadership. THe UN Peacekeeping forces were super helpful in making this happen! Nicosia afternoons were destined to be the best in the Buffer Zone!

Famagusta had such an engaged audience on day 2 - people who challenged the speakers and were fierce and ready to create. Requests continue to flow into our inbox for follow-up events for investors, for social entrepreneurship and more. The Lead Cyprus members traveled from all over Eastern Cyprus to participate and assist in the day 2 Famagusta thematic event. Meanwhile, back in Nicosia we had night 2 of the Nicosia week where we talked about failure for Cyprus’ first ever “Fail Open Mic,” sharing stories of lessons learned from failure.

Suddenly, we found ourselves in the middle of the week. Day 3, Larnaka Day, was such a blast! Larnaka Mayor, although unable to welcome participants, he supported the event organized in the coolest space, Youth Makerspace in Larnaka which is supported by the Cyprus Youth Board. Blue and Green entrepreneurship received the spotlight they deserved! Back in Nicosia, night 2 of Nicosia week in the Buffer Zone enjoyed a wonderful session on speaking for change and effective communication.

Disinformation Battles kicked-off in Limassol on Thursday morning for day 4, and opened up a whole new world for the participants. Our amazing speakers and researchers from every major university (some of them supported by RISE also) showcased amazing tools and new ways to deal with disinformation. There is a major wave of requests not only for a repeat workshop day, but also for their work to be showcased more! Participants, amongst others, then headed over to our second “Fail Open Mic,” Limassol edition. Back in Nicosia, our final workshop of Nicosia week was an introduction to centered leadership for female leaders.

The final day, day 5, the amazing Paphos Day with the thematic of making the city a startup gateway to Europe. A number of local-city speakers combined with international and other speakers from other cities created an amazing flow of knowledge that kept participants engaged and alert! A lot of the workshops will go mobile in the next few months for maximum exposure. Our lovely host, Neapolis University Paphos, made everything possible for us.

On Friday afternoon, as the week wrapped up and sunset was approaching, the yellow t-shirts and black wristbands came on as we kicked-off the weekend with Cyprus’ first-ever island-wide hackathon. In every city across Cyprus, everyone hacked in parallel. Although we haven’t put all the numbers out there just yet, the important thing to note is that there were 23 proposals submitted island-wide. We had 3 major winners, 6 city winners, and the best company winner., Bionic, Overflow, Ruby Technology, JPP Marketing, and the British High Commission made it all possible, as did our gracious hosts GiGEM, Hugge Space, The Business Bar, Youth Makerspace, Famagusta Cultural & Congress Center, and Palia Agora Palouriotissas. Food in Limassol was also powered by WOLF!

We thought this to be a sappy post, but it wasn’t. This was our journey in a nutshell, with just the ups, not the many downs we faced with how some viewed or treated our team, our members, or our participants. So many people rose above what was expected of them, we couldn’t be happier!

Thank you for supporting us!

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