Igniting Tomorrow's Innovators: Youth Tech Fest Cyprus 2023

Igniting Tomorrow's Innovators: Youth Tech Fest Cyprus 2023

A Conversation with Sean Alimov

In the vibrant city of Nicosia, an innovative event is set to take place at the University of Nicosia on November 18, 2023. The Youth Tech Fest Cyprus 2023, envisioned and founded by seasoned executive Sean Alimov, aims to ignite the passions of the future generation in technology, art, science, and entrepreneurship. With over 400 participants, 100 educators, and representation from more than 30 schools, this grandeur festival promises a plethora of workshops, sessions, and hands-on activities designed to inspire and educate.

In our intimate conversation with Sean, we delve deep into the unique aspects of this festival, its primary objectives, and the anticipated impacts on Cyprus' tech landscape. Sean unveils the festival's commitment to inclusivity, fostering collaboration among various stakeholders, and the significance of introducing children to technology from a young age. Through his insights, we gain a glimpse into the festival's promise to "transform Cyprus into an Eastern Mediterranean beacon for tech-driven innovation."

Mr. Alimov, what are some of the unique aspects of the Youth Tech Fest compared to others?

This is the first fully inclusive children's tech initiative in Cyprus and Europe that is aimed at children ages 6 to 18 from both public and private schools, with Cypriot and foreign backgrounds, regardless of their economic status. The Youth Tech Fest also promotes diversity to ensure that more girls enter the tech ecosystem. We are very passionate about enabling meaningful collaboration between academia, businesses, and government to ensure access to quality education for all, including the underprivileged children and the ones with learning or health-related difficulties. The entry to the Festival is FREE so everyone has a chance to experience the latest technologies, gain insights from peers, practitioners, and international thought leaders, and realise future exciting career opportunities.

Can you tell us about its main objectives?

There are two main objectives of the Youth Tech Fest Cyprus. The first is to celebrate children's passion for all things related to creativity, technology, entrepreneurship, and innovation. The second is to recognise educators' efforts to prepare citizens to be literate in a technology-driven society.

Can you share more details about the Festival’s format and key speakers?

The Festival’s format includes 3 sub-events:

Fair - an exciting day packed with interactive shows, workshops, masterclasses, and hands-on activities led by educators, engineers, scientists, programmers, and highly experienced practitioners. There are Robotics, AR/VR, Gaming, Woodworking, Science, Coding, and various other zones where visitors can get involved as a family or let their young ones discover on their own the activities that are rich, exciting, and suitable for their age group.

Summit - we are bringing leading international experts and thought leaders to share best practices and the latest trends with the Cyprus-based policymakers, educators, executive management of schools and universities, as well as the business community representatives. Our goal is to facilitate long-term collaborative relationships and to create sustainable programs and activities that will awaken the passion of the young generation in subjects such as Entrepreneurship, Technology, Science, Engineering, Art, and Math. Our elite speaker faculty includes representatives from companies such as Shell, Google, Royal Institution (UK), Oracle, Microsoft, as well as a 13-year-old millionaire coder who is the youngest guest lecturer at Oxford University.

Awards - a ceremony that will recognize each E2STEAM (Entrepreneurship, Environment, Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics) project nominated by the attending schools. We encourage participation, collaboration, inclusion, and excellence. This is why there are no 1st, 2nd, or 3rd places - every nominated project is awarded, and every project mentor is recognized. Each school can nominate up to 2 projects - one from primary and one from secondary levels. If you wish to nominate an exciting project led by your school or your educational centre, please visit the Festival’s website or contact our team directly.

YouthTech Fest emphasises family-friendliness and encourages engagement as a family. How do you envision this approach benefiting the overall learning experience?

Parents play an important role in nurturing, providing guidance, direction, and education for their children; they essentially act as teachers themselves. By promoting engagement as a family and educating the parents about new technologies and methods, we enable them to better motivate children, encourage the formation of new skills at home, and share knowledge and information with others who are passionate about adequate education for children.

Beyond the Festival, what are your future plans to sustain the momentum and foster ongoing engagement with the youth and educators in the tech and education sectors?

Before launching the Youth Tech Fest, we conducted extensive research examining the best educational practices used in some of the world’s most successful jurisdictions for tech talent development, retention, and recruitment (USA, Israel, UK, India, Germany, Singapore, UAE, and smaller EU economies similar to Cyprus, like Ireland and Estonia). Based on our findings, it was clear to us that the Youth Tech Fest has to be an ongoing initiative, not just another "once a year" event. We are currently in the process of creating post-event collaborative programs and activities between academia and businesses to ensure the continuity of our mission of developing children's passions for innovation, technology, leadership, STEAM education, and careers.

Our future plans include organizing hackathons, skills-focused olympiads, real-world applications, and hands-on experiences both outside the classroom (locally and abroad) and in active learning at school via interactive lesson plans, webinars, etc. In parallel, we will be running workshops and thematic seminars aimed at educating the educators specifically on the topics of new and emerging technologies and the latest teaching and learning concepts. We have a fantastic global network of highly experienced practitioners, trained educators, entrepreneurs, and executives ready to support our initiative and planned activities.

What do you expect the impact of the Youth Tech Fest to be on the tech scene in Cyprus?

The impact of the Youth Tech Fest initiative on the tech scene in Cyprus is going to be significant. Cyprus strives to become a desired destination for technology-driven businesses. The term “Tech Hub” is already widely used here, and we've observed the establishment of reputable international tech companies and some relocating here. Given this, we have a significant concentration of companies, supportive government policies, a growing innovation and research environment coupled with the presence of world-class universities, and active tech communities that facilitate networking and collaborations among tech professionals via events, meet-ups, and co-working spaces.

Youth Tech Fest will create an engaging environment in Cyprus that offers a wider variety of future career opportunities, consistently develops creative leaders, and produces knowledgeable employees desired by both businesses and society

To become a real epicentre of creativity, cutting-edge advancements, and ingenuity, Cyprus needs diverse tech talent that keeps pace with rapidly developing technology. The IT field requires years of training, and individuals with sought-after skills are heavily courted. This is why, for talent retention, the world’s leading tech hubs like Silicon Valley, Tel Aviv, London, and Singapore focus on developing local talent and introducing technology to kids from as early as 4 years old. Youth Tech Fest will create an engaging environment in Cyprus that offers a wider variety of future career opportunities, consistently develops creative leaders, and produces knowledgeable employees desired by both businesses and society. This will ensure that Cyprus can become an Eastern Mediterranean beacon for entrepreneurship, innovation, and tech breakthroughs.

Finally, how supportive have the local schools, businesses and government been of the initiative so far?

We have had an incredible response from schools, government, and businesses. We would like to extend our gratitude to Minister Dr. Michaelidou and the fantastic staff at the Ministry of Education for being very efficient and professional in every interaction we have had. The Youth Tech Fest Cyprus is run under the Ministry’s auspices. We also express special thanks to our co-organisers, University of Nicosia.

Last but not least, our gratitude goes out to all of our Sponsors and Supporters that share our vision, namely: ASBIS (Headline Sponsor), payabl. (PayTech Partner), Digital Tree (Digital Media Sponsor), Engino (STEM & Robotics Educational Partner), Heroes Made (Social Emotional Learning Partner), Oracle Academy, Wood Wizards, Exness (Neophile Partners), AlfaSolid Works, Infourok, and Photos Photiades Foundation (Associate Partners). Also, the Youth Board of Cyprus, Cyprus Computer Society, Google Educator Group, Cyprus_iT, City Friends Club, KidIT, Cyprus Cubing Community, JA Cyprus, GDCy, and Sea & Sunlife.

What: Youth Tech Fest Cyprus

When: November 18, 2023

Where: University of Nicosia

More Info: youthtechfest.com

Who: Sean Alimov, the founder of the Youth Tech Fest Cyprus 2023, is a seasoned executive with expertise in improving profit margins, raising business productivity, executing growth strategies specifically for media and tech companies. Sean is a professional “dot connector” with the proven track record of building, managing and scaling highly engaged global communities.