A Gentleman of Prestige
When you make a first encounter with Elias A.Spyrou, you are immediately struck by his natural charisma, his earnest brown eyes and his warm smile. This first impression is soon forged with an admiration for his strong intellect and his oratorical skills- an attribute that he has more than likely inherited from his ancient Greek ancestors.
Confining the life story of Elias to a few pages, fails to serve him the proper credibility he deserves for his multiple professional accomplishments and for his on-going contribution to the positive economic development of his nation. Elias is best known for his strong entrepreneurial skills and for his responsible stance towards society at large. He has undoubtedly worked hard to earn his formidable reputation as the young Cypriot entrepreneur, who despite his young age (gracefully concealed by the silver lined hair streaks on his side burns), boasts a series of remarkable successes. “Starting young was great because I’ve seen results, whilst others at my age are getting started”, he exclaims with an air of satisfaction, as he continues to unravel some of his personal and professional highlights over what may seem like a lifetime of accomplishments to many.
My Family Inspires Me
Elias A.Spyrou was born into a Greek-Cypriot family in Limassol. His father Aristotelis Spyrou, is a highly respected and self-developed business man, valued for his contribution within the Greek- Cypriot community, who has worked hard both locally and abroad, to secure the well-being of both his family and his community. His professional steps were always directed by his vision for a prosperous development of his nation, which he passed on to his children over the years. Alongside the support receives from his father, comes the influence of his mother, who was born in Famagusta and became a refugee after the Turkish invasion, in 1974. She lovingly passes on to her son the values of the Greek Orthodox religion, traditional values and culture and the spirit of communal contribution. Elias swallows deeply to contain his emotions of respect and love for his family. “I feel blessed that my family has encouraged me to develop my own identity, that has in turn helped me to define my message to society”, Elias states proudly. “I admire them for believing in me, even when I wasn’t capable of understanding the magnitude of my dreams,” he concludes.
Some Entrepreneurs Are Made Whilst Others Are Born
His leadership traits are evident from a young age, since he always led his peers by gaining the consecutive presidency title of his classes at school. As a scholar he was inspired by Ancient Greeks and mythology and enjoyed reading the works of philosophers. Later at university, he becomes actively involved in Student Youth Group Associations and Committees. His quest for justice to prevail, within an island deeply wounded by the 1974 Turkish invasion, leads him into pursuing his studies in law, even though he knows that eventually he will exploit his strong entrepreneurial skills in lieu of practising law. His deeply in-grained sense of social and political justice and dignity, coupled with a calling to his Hellenic roots and heritage, lead him to Athens, the European capital of culture and wisdom, wherein he obtains his degree in Law from the National Kapodistrian University of Athens. In 2008, he returns to his homeland Cyprus, driven passionately by his vision to contribute to the positive growth and development of his country on an economic, political and social level.
Diverse Experience, Boundless Energy and An On-Going Quest to Accomplish
Having assessed the need to create a niche market for the provision of luxury services on the island, primarily to high-end affluent consumers and having years of extensive professional expertise in the car rentals industry, Elias takes the risk of establishing the Prestige Group of companies, by entering the luxury services market with the objective of becoming a leader in the provision of luxury services.
This innovative project is materialised in partnership with the Russian entrepreneur and lawyer, Eugene Kantserov, who Elias meets on a trip to Moscow. Their business acquaintance soon develops into a strong friendship, since they both share the vision of national economic development and innovation, so as to contribute towards the promotion of Cyprus as a centre of financial and investment opportunities and as a business bridge between Europe and the Middle East.
The Prestige Group is founded in March 2011, with firm foundations that had already been established over two decades by its parent companies, Arto Estates and Prestige Car Rentals. The group’s divisions are comprised of the Prestige Car Rentals, Prestige Publications, Prestige VIP Services, Prestige Investments, Unite Securité, Apollon Prestige Volleyball and Tokio Restaurant Bar.
The group has rapidly evolved over the past years and has successfully established itself as a pioneer and leader in the luxury services market. The rapid growth and solid development of the organisation is primarily attributed to the building and strengthening of local and global partnerships, as well as to the continual increase of high-net worth and corporate clientele.
With an impressive database of many affluent professionals and well-connected people, the natural progression is to enhance the top-level networking, which has already been taking place, and to nurture it
amongst those at the high end of the market. Another aim is to strengthen ties between Cyprus, Russia, the Middle East and of the United Arab Emirates – the homelands of so many of their clients, who seek the provision of luxury services. Recent developments from meetings from the United Arab Emirates are currently in the process of materialising, in an attempt to strengthen ties between the two countries.
The entry of the Prestige Group into the luxury services market comes at a period of the outburst of the global economic crisis. Elias is doubted and challenged by many for entering this sector and in particular by those already involved in the luxury services industry of Cyprus. The absence of a luxury services market on the island leads the Prestige Group to create a niche market for the provision of luxury services, thus enabling the high end of the local population to spend their money locally rather than abroad, in receiving these sought after luxury services. This in turn would contribute towards the formation of an environment wherein high-end individuals would be able to spend their money in. The provision of these services are provided across the group’s divisions so as to actively promote the quality of services in Cyprus and to further upgrade the market in this respect, with a longer term objective of branding Cyprus as a provider of specialized corporate and luxury services to the international community.
Friendship is a Partnership
The two partners prove a huge success story in the history of Cypriot and Russian relations on the island. Their partnership becomes even more strengthened over time as they enter into new developments and projects, despite the banking crisis in March 2013, by establishing a firm understanding of the spending needs of affluent people that develop during such a period and by realising that business opportunities are less common to come across during such times. In the same year and steering relentlessly against the current of national political and economic gloom, they establish Unite Securité, in an aim to offer high levels security services for their clientele and invest in the upgrade and in the increase of the Prestige Supercar and yacht rental fleet. Over the same period in time, they envision the materialisation of a unique project, the Tokio Bar Restaurant, which will serve to embellish the seafront road of Limassol, through the combination of traditional Japanese culinary art and philosophy, architectural and space planning, which harmoniously fuses with European comfort and style.
But the ride hasn’t always been a smooth one for Elias. He defines entrepreneurs as opportunists. “Persistence and the ability to constantly execute, even after failure is crucial, despite the risks involved, Elias states emphatically, making you somehow wonder how the various setbacks experienced during the ride have kept his vision unharmed and blazing. “The failure to innovate leads to obsolescence, so always keep improving your products and services”, he advises.
“My motivation has always been this intense desire of proving the world that young people have talents and dreams and opinions and that they can make a difference,” Elias explains.
Never one to still, Elias bring his boundless energy and vision new ventures by supporting the youth through the annual social and corporate responsibility programme of the Prestige Group, which sets into motion the active support and promotion of national sports. Elias speaks proudly of this endeavour by adding, “We have set this aim into motion as of recently, by acquiring the Prestige Apollon female volleyball team, alongside with participation in sponsorship and charity projects. Our vision is for all the youth to be actively engaged in sports and to exercise team spirit values and respectful attitudes, so that our youth develop into valued ambassadors for our nation.”
Elias explains how the Prestige Apollon currently operates with great success, boasting victorious wins and titles and is made up of teams of girls and young ladies from seven to nineteen years of age. “Our young talents are guided by experienced mentor coaches, who aim to teach them the philosophy of volleyball and the spirit of sport and fair play among young athletes.”
People Who Take Action Inspire Me. Talk is Cheap!
Elias has always shown an interest in public life and has developed a multi-level political activity over the years. He advocates a fair and viable solution to the Cyprus problem; a solution which should requisite the withdrawal of the Turkish invading army, the return of all refugees into their homes, the restoration of human rights and the basic freedoms in Cyprus, but also the establishment of a functional state. Still, for this to become feasible, he explains that Turkey must cease to pursue hegemony over Cyprus and to accept the Republic of Cyprus as an equal partner. “The fact that Turkey wishes to join the European Union while at the same time not recognising an internationally recognised member state of the Union, the Republic of Cyprus, is characteristic of the country’s political stance,” he concludes.
The country needs leaders, willing to take action that will generate this much desired fair solution.
The Architectural Masterpiece
“I feel extremely proud to announce that Tokio Restaurant Bar has of recently, officially opened its doors to the public”, Elias adds. The dream project has added value to the city of Limassol and has challenged us to meet the highest of standards in this industry. The opening ceremony was inaugurated by Archbishop Chrysostomos the second, who maintains close ties with Elias and who has commended and praised Elias over the past few years for his ideals and for his contribution to the national economy.
Leading Into the Future
It’s a hard journey to the gates of success, but Elias A.Spyrou continually seeks to bring his boundless energy and vision new and challenging ventures. His motto is: Keep the flame burning. To him, the goal we have in our mind, that dream that makes our heart beat faster, needs dedication, so that it can grow and light our path. Above all he concludes, “we need to focus on taking the right positions and standing in the places that belong to us, not only for ourselves but for everyone around us. That way we become guardians of the flame of change, hope and freedom. We become leaders!”
by Freda Yannitsas Costanian
Photographer: Olesia Ghohabi, Fashion Editor: Yiota Koufalidou