Dr Evros Alexandrou

Success Stories / Interview

Cyprus Cybernet, Chairman of the Board of Directors
Cyprus
www.cybernet.ac.cy

CYCYB LTD (CYPRUS CYBERNET) was founded in 1997. The company’s vision is to offer qualitative education to young people and continuous training for professionals in Cyprus and throughout the rest of Europe. CYCYB Ltd is responsible for maintaining and improving a network of 15 educational centres known as CYBERNET TRAINING CENTRES in Cyprus. The operational programme for these educational centres includes functional and educational procedures such as:

• Cooperation policy and procedures
• Design of the operation and management of all Cybernet centres
• Decentralisation through improvement of regional organisations and local self-government
• Educational reforms on issues like syllabus, new technologies and examinations.

The company is managed by a board of directors which comprises of seven members. Dr Evros Alexandrou is the chairman of the Board of Directors.

Project team: How do you personally understand the term ‘Europeanisation’ and how do you envisage it being implemented in your organisation?

Evros Alexandrou: I have quite a generic understanding of Europeanisation. I view Europeanisation as the process through which various organisations (private, public, non-profit etc) are aligned with the policies and activities of European culture and operations (both EU and non-EU countries). For those of us at Cycyb ltd and at the Cybernet CENTRES, Europeanisation means integrating our projects and educational offers with the European framework and, more specifically, with EU trends and strategies.

Project team: Does your organisation carry out any European or international work already?

Evros Alexandrou: We first started to expand our idea and our innovative teaching techniques using the franchise business model. We successfully expanded in Greece and developed very good links with various other educational organisations in Slovenia, Hungary and USA. In 2007, we submitted our first proposal under the CIP call for ‘Services in Support of Business and Innovation’. This was unfortunately an unsuccessful attempt. From 2012, the Board of Dirtectors started looking for international European opportunities in other funding programmes such as Erasmus+. We have also continued to cooperate with groups in Slovenia and Greece through other private initiatives.

Project team: What are the biggest challenges that your organisation has faced in its European or international work?

Evros Alexandrou: Cooperating with other organisations, whether within Europe or not, requires a lot of time, money and specific skills. Although we do not have any problems in the area of language skills, we realised that our project management skills and our understanding of the various EU policies (especially in education) were inadequate. This meant that there was a strong resistance to Europeanisation and internationalisation until recently. During the last two years, we made the necessary changes to our organisation’s mission and vision and aligned our objectives with Europeanisation processes. Unfortunately, the Cyprus economic crisis negatively affected our plans and has left us behind schedule.

Project team: In which areas of your organisation has European or international work had the biggest impact so far?

Evros Alexandrou: We have developed a more “European” vision and mission for our organisation. We have improved our project management skills and our management is now more positive about the idea of Europeanisation. Our educational services and products have become more qualitative and we offer a better range of training courses.

Project team: Where do you see your Europeanised or internationalised organisation in the future?

Evros Alexandrou: I hope that we will manage to have a successful presence on a European level by participating in some European projects and improving our competencies in various areas. Our main goal is to create a strong network of partnerships throughout Europe and to increase our international operation, both in Europe and elsewhere.

Project team: What would be your advice to other organisations so that they can better manage their Europeanisation or internationalisation process?

Evros Alexandrou: Invest time and energy in the pursuit of your goals. Participate in international forums and other events to get to know organisations from other countries. Make use of the internet since it is completely free! You must be prepared to work a lot and see only slow results. You need to be persistent: success will come eventually. Top management support and active leadership are essential ingredients of this success.