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Malta, incentives for companies: Start-Up Finance 2020 scheme

The aim of the Start-Up Finance 2020 is to support Small Start-up Undertakings that demonstrate a viable business concept and that exhibit commitment to expand and further develop their economic activity. Malta Enterprise may provide support not exceeding four hundred thousand euro (€400,000) which may be increased to up to eight hundred thousand euro (€800,000) if the Start-up is an Innovative Enterprise.

The support “Start-Up Finance”, with the exception of a onetime Accelerator Grant shall be awarded as a repayable advance. This incentive shall be available until the 31st December 2022.

Innovative enterprise

An Innovative Enterprise shall be an undertaking that:
a) can demonstrate, by means of an evaluation carried out by an external expert that it will in the foreseeable future develop products, services or processes which are new or substantially improved compared to the state of the art in its industry, and which carry a risk of technological or industrial failure;
b) the research and development costs of which represent at least 10 % of its total operating costs in at least one of the three years preceding the granting of the aid or, in the case of a start-up enterprise without any financial history, in the audit of its current fiscal period, as certified by an external auditor.

Eligible activities

Start-up undertakings shall be considered as eligible if they are, or shall be engaged in one or more of the following activities:
a) Manufacturing;
b) Software development;
c) Industrial services analogous to manufacturing;
d) Health, Biotechnology, Pharmaceuticals and Life Sciences;
e) Other innovative economic activities which are enabled through knowledge and technology providing services or products which are currently not readily available in the relevant market or which shall be provided through a process which is novel.

In addition to the above, Start-up undertakings must not be engaged in activities excluded from receiving this aid in terms of the applicable State Aid regulations (see Section 6 State Aid Rules and Obligations) and must be engaged solely in activities which fall under the following NACE codes:
B Mining and Quarrying
C Manufacturing
D Electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning supply
E Water supply, sewerage, waste management and remediation activities
G Wholesale and retail trade; repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles
H Transportation and storage
I Accommodation and food service activities
J Information and communication
K Financial and Insurance Activities
M Professional, scientific and technical activities
N Administrative and support service activities
P Education
Q Human health and social work activities
R.90 Creative, arts and entertainment activities
R.91 Libraries, archives, museums and other cultural activities
R.93 Sports activities and amusement and recreation activities
S Other Service Activities

Eligible projects

The Corporation shall only consider as eligible projects that meet at least two of the following criteria:
a) propose products and/or services that have the potential to generate income from various geographical markets;
b) produce products and/or services which are new or substantially improved compared to complementary products on the market;
c) utilise processes which are new or substantially improved compared to those adopted in current complementary activities.

Other requirements

Another prerequisite for the approval of the incentive is the approval of an annual expenditure budget linked to the measure that does not exceed 6 million euros, and an overall budget linked to the same request for funds that does not exceed 18 million euros.

The incentive may be linked to the financial activity of “private equity“, through which an entity acquires shares in a company defined as “target”, either by acquiring existing shares from third parties or by subscribing new shares by contributing new capital within the target.

Alternatively, it is possible to apply for incentives by justifying certain expenses with due precision: for example, salary costs for the acquisition of manpower, expenses for the purchase of tangible and intangible assets, acquisition of working capital, participation in a crowdfunding or a programme that is recognised as a “Start-Up Accelerator”.

Malta Business Agency supports the start-up phase of a Start-Up and the application path to be executed for access to Start-Up Finance 2020 funding. Ask for more information or book a meeting with our consultants by filling in the following form:


This article provides general information only and does not replace professional advice in any way. It is recommended to consult a qualified professional before making any important decisions regarding financial, legal or other matters. The author and the publication are not responsible for any errors or damages caused by the use of the information contained in this article.

Caterina Passariello
Caterina Passariello
President of the Canadian Chamber in Italy, a no-profit association that aims to stenght the relationships between Canadian and Italian companies and professionals. Head of the Mediterranean Academy of Culture, Tourism and Trade Institute of Malta. Business consultant and project manager with specialization in the internationalization processes of companies. Master Degree in Management Engineering, with a Thesis about how supply-chain tracking changes with Blockchain, with particular attention to Agri-Food Supply-Chain. Interested about internationalisation, blockchain, dlt, smart contract.


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