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Malta, a start-up hub

The history of successful Maltese companies is characterised by ambitious and courageous entrepreneurs who opened their own businesses and held on to their dream. Many a times, these businesses kicked off from small garages, and hard work and perseverance made them grow. 

The reality is that the Maltese entrepreneurial history, like everywhere else, is a mixture of failures and successes. The successful ones see a story of growth: from one generation to another, these businesses flourished. Against all odds, they have managed to shape, preserve and develop the backbone of our economy.

These businesses reflect the different sectors of our economy: from manufacturing to accommodation to retail, from professional services to artisans and technology entrepreneurs.

The latter sector might be the most celebrated vertical in the business world today. For myself and for this Government, it is the totality of the entrepreneurial spirit that is crucial. Diversification has been central to the Maltese economy. The pandemic has made this crystal clear. Therefore, we need to ensure that diversification remains the ethos in our efforts to support start-ups.

Yes, Malta is open for start-ups.

By ensuring diversification we are not only speaking about sectors but actually focusing our energy to develop specialised niches.

The development of the Maltese economy and the efforts of so many before us has attracted many investors that saw that Malta offered an environment that bodes well for business and trade.

Our geographical position, way of doing business and quality of life has rendered Malta attractive to many. The aim of consecutive governments has always been that of consolidating and nurturing these bonds. The aim was always to create a sustainable economy that translates into prosperity not only to the entrepreneurs but also to employees.  

Prosperity is not only wealth but it encompasses skills, the wits, the brains, the smarts of Maltese entrepreneurs mixed and complemented with that of foreign investors. Such innovation can create not only profits but also a better quality of life. Always, if developed sustainably.

This is the message that we are constantly sending out, even in our dialogues with stakeholders: Malta as a space for entrepreneurship, ideas, skills, collaboration and sustainable growth. Malta as a start-up hub.

Some consider that we already are a start-up hub – others contest this and doubt that Malta can compete with other jurisdictions.

The administration I represent however believes that we are further down the road than many might attest. We are also determined to crack those proverbial issues that have stopped us from reaching our full potential in nurturing more indigenous successes – and attracting more start-ups from around the world to grow from our shores. 

We want to promote the concept of collaboration between our start-ups, be it indigenous or foreign. This blend can actually spur our start-up eco-system to new heights.

The recent launch of the, the strengthened schemes by Malta Enterprise to support start-ups and the agreement signed between Malta Enterprise and the University of Malta are bold efforts to synergise all partners, not to replicate and create fragmentation. We want to use our energy to find solutions to issues which, if unblocked, can really turn Malta into a formidable player in the start-up world.

Through assistance provided by Malta Enterprise, new businesses can benefit from financial assistance of up to €200,000, under the BStart 2021 scheme. Complementing this is the Start-Up Finance, through which innovative enterprises can receive up to €800,000 in assistance. The third scheme is that of Business Development. A company that is transforming or consolidating its operation can benefit from tax credit aid or cash grants of up to €200,000. 

This means that, in total, innovative start-ups can benefit from up to €1.2 million in incentives from Malta Enterprise.

Malta already hosts a number of exciting start-up companies from various fields including manufacturing, aviation, life sciences, technology and creativity. We invite others to discover Malta. Our message is simple – Malta is the perfect place for start-ups.

Malta provides competitive advantages for doing business. English as a main business language, connectivity to the world, helpful Government entities, and innovative regulatory frameworks.

As Minister for Enterprise, I call on our local ecosystem to continue dreaming, creating and re-trying (even if one fails at first) and I appeal to start-ups who today are taking their first glimpse at Malta to look closer at what might very well be their next home. 

This article has been published on Malta Today on the 8th of April,2021