LATEST ARTICLES

The 2021 Renewable Energy System Scheme

As promised on the occasion of the presentation of the 2021 Budget, the Maltese Government has launched the Renewable Energy System (RES) Scheme, which is administered by the Regulator for Energy and Water Services to further encourage the better use of the renewable energy being generated by the country.

This scheme is funded through national funds and applies to private individuals (natural persons) for use on their residential properties, and for organisations that are not carrying out an economic activity, provided that photovoltaic installation should have no active feed-in tariff allocation. If the photovoltaic installation was allocated a feed-in tariff, the guaranteed period should be expired.

This scheme was launched by means of Government Notice 298 of 2021.

The 2021 RES scheme is slightly different form past PV schemes as it will be incorporating different technologies under one scheme. Basically, the scheme will be split into the following options:

Option A – PV system with standard solar inverter.
Option B – PV system with hybrid inverter.
Option C – Hybrid/battery inverter and battery.
Option D – Battery storage only.

Applicants can only apply for one option with the exception of Option B whereby an applicant may also apply for Option D.

For option C only (Inverter plus battery), the inverter must be rated for the size of total kWp of the existing photovoltaic modules. As such systems where the ratio of inverter nominal ac power at standard testing conditions (STC) is lower than 0.8 times the array nominal power shall not be eligible for the grant.

For options A and B, the minimum system size is 1kWp and for Options C and D the minimum storage size is 2kWh.

In addition to the above, a standard minimum of 10 years warranty will be requested on all options.

As you may be aware, prior to submission of applications, all equipment has to be registered with REWS. In this regard, please note that Government Notice 52 of 2010 was amended to cater for the registration of Energy Storage Systems and now REWS is accepting applications for registration of equipment that meets the following standards:

– Lead Acid Batteries shall be certified to EN 61056-1-2, BS EN 60896-11, 21 and 22 as applicable or an equivalent thereof when so considered by the Standards and Metrology Institute within the Malta Competition and Consumer Affairs Authority;

– The lithium-ion shall be certified to IEC 62619 as applicable or an equivalent thereof when so considered by the Standards and Metrology Institute within the Malta Competition and Consumer Affairs Authority;

– Flow batteries shall be certified to BS EN 62932-1-2 as applicable, or an equivalent thereof when so considered by the Standards and Metrology Institute within the Malta Competition and Consumer Affairs Authority;

Applications for registration of technology can be accepted prior to the launch of the scheme. To access the funds ask the Malta Business Agency team for support by filling in the following contact form.

Communications on beneficial owners: increasingly severe sanctions for offenders

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For almost three years, Maltese law has obliged companies to keep and transmit adequate, accurate and up-to-date information on their beneficial owners. Since its entry into force, this duty has become so established and entrenched that company owners (direct or indirect, foreign or local) or their officials who do not comply with these measures risk incurring heavy penalties, aggravated by factors such as intentionality and premeditated deception. In the most serious cases, the penalty may even be imprisonment.

Unless all shareholders of a company are natural persons acting in their own name and appearing on the Malta Companies Register (MBR) lists, or the Maltese company itself is listed on a regulated market as described in the law, compliance with the Beneficiaries Act is a must.

But let’s see what the latest news in this regard. Since June 2020, companies are also required to pay an annual fee to contribute to the collection of data and supervisory operations by the public body.

The maximum penalties provided for by law for non-compliance, moreover, after having been contained in an initial phase, have gradually increased, now reaching completely relevant thresholds. The maximum daily penalty for each day of delay, until the non-compliance is remedied, has risen from 10 to 100 euros. While an unintentional delay in filing a form for a fortnight could cost the company up to 6,300 euros.

There is also the sanction that could be imposed by the Malta Registrar of Companies if it finds a discrepancy between the records on beneficiaries transmitted by a company and those kept internally by the company itself. In this case the factor of voluntariness emerges, and the maximum threshold set for this sanction has increased from 10,000 to 100,000 euros.

Companies that existed before the entry into force of these rules (before 2018), which did not comply with the new rules when the initial moratorium expired, and which are still in default, are subject to a daily penalty of up to €500, plus a maximum of €10,000.

Finally, the maximum lump sum penalty for late filing and failure to keep documents has increased from 1,000 to 5,000 euros.

It is hoped that these penalties will discourage those who want to deceive or mislead the public administration on this front. And that they can enhance Malta’s image of legality in the eyes of the world after difficult years.

But there is also the problem of excessive sanctions compared to what could be mere oversight. For this reason it is advisable not to take these obligations under advisement and, in case of doubts or difficulties, to rely on the advice of a professional. The Malta Business Agency staff is also at your complete disposal on this matter.

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  • ITPIS: support for internationalisation from Malta

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    International markets present countless opportunities for forward-thinking companies looking to grow their business. In the current economic climate, looking beyond the borders of the domestic market exponentially increases the opportunities to reach more customers, increase sales, revenues and prospects of a manufacturing or commercial activity. Especially in a small context like the Maltese one, internationalising one’s business is essential and strategic, also thanks to the support that local institutions provide to businesses and the excellent bilateral relations that the country is developing with many strategic areas of the world (Europe, Africa, Middle East, Arab countries, Russia, China, Japan, United States, Canada and South America). Companies that are able to look to international markets also tend to be more innovative in their product and service offerings and in their internal processes, boasting a higher level of competitiveness compared to their competitors.

    Measure

    The International Trade Promotion Incentive Scheme (ITPIS) aims to support Maltese companies that want to internationalise their business, or that are already exporting and want to promote a product or service in a new market.

    Institution

    This incentive scheme is administered by the government body TradeMalta Limited.

    Regulatory reference

    The Enterprise Incentives Regulations SL 463.04 (Malta Enterprise Act, Chapter 463 of the Laws of Malta) provide the legal basis for this incentive scheme.

    Purpose

    Duration

    The scheme is currently valid for a period of three years ending on 31 December 2023. These Incentive Guidelines may be amended and updated regularly.

    Submission procedure

    The application for incentives is made through a detailed online form. Once the application is approved, companies can submit one or more applications using another specific form.

    Beneficiaries

    This incentive is open to companies whose aim is to intensify their internationalisation activities with a view to increasing their exports. The beneficiary must be a company registered in one of the following categories.

    Type and amount of contribution

    The total contribution that can be granted to an individual enterprise is limited to EUR 30,000 per year. TradeMalta can reimburse small and medium-sized enterprises up to a maximum of 50% of eligible costs, and large enterprises up to a maximum of 40% of eligible costs.

    Per diem costs are reimbursed up to 40% of the official government rate.

    Support to a single enterprise may not exceed €200,000 over a period of three consecutive fiscal years.

    Eligibility criteria

    No support will be provided to defaulting enterprises in respect of value added tax (VAT), income tax and national insurance; public entities; commercial enterprises engaged exclusively in economic activity in direct competition with third parties and in which the government has a controlling interest are eligible; enterprises engaged in activities specifically excluded under applicable State aid regulations; enterprises involved in the production of and/or trade in arms, munitions, military equipment and hardware; and enterprises whose main activities fall within the following NACE code sections.

    Eligible costs

    The following categories of expenditure incurred by enterprises for internationalisation activities will be reimbursed by the government incentive.

    Here are 20 successful startups from Malta

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    As reported on several occasions, Malta is an increasingly sought-after landing base for many tech entrepreneurs, who over the past five years have helped to create a true startup hub in the islands. And while it is true that the Maltese startup ecosystem has so far been known mainly for its development and innovations in the gaming and blockchain sectors, there are other sectors in which companies are continuing to grow, even after the start of the pandemic. Let’s see below some of the most interesting startups in the Maltese landscape:

    • BCA Solutions: Founded in 2017, it is a legal consulting startup that offers services such as licensing, token legal opinions, regulatory consulting, blockchain implementation and cybersecurity
    • Cashcow: Founded in 2017, it focuses on generating valuable leads for a variety of partners and affiliates. Led by three Finns, Cashcow’s flagship product is ‘Casino Professor’, a site that compares online casinos to ensure the user makes an informed choice
    • CIVIQUO: Founded in 2018, it is one of the first investment migration platforms in the world. It helps people find their next destination of residence or citizenship by combining a wide selection of alternative solutions
    • Costa Media: Launched in 2019 by Portuguese founders, it is a fast-growing iGaming business support company with websites in Europe and Latin America. It offers a variety of digital marketing and lead generation services through content marketing, pay-per-click advertising and search engine optimization
    • Covery: Founded in 2016, it is a global risk management platform that helps online businesses prevent fraud, mitigate risk and grow revenue
    • EBO.ai: Founded in 2017, it provides artificial intelligence-based virtual agents to help companies build valuable and lasting relationships with their customers by automating processes but maintaining a level of “humanity” in customer interactions
    • Efforce: Created in 2018, the startup aims to make tokens as the preferred system for monetizing and utilizing energy savings worldwide, allowing taxpayers to participate in energy efficiency projects by capturing future savings in a “tokenized” version
    • Elrond Network: Founded in 2017, it has raised approximately 1.8 million to date. Provides a secure and efficient public blockchain network available to developers to create decentralized applications and execute “smart” contracts, lowering execution time and costs
    • Few: Founded in 2020, provides immersive sessions and experiences for physical and mental fitness. It has already raised €250k in funding from Malta Enterprise and other investors
    • Fracture Labs: Founded in 2018, developed a multiplayer survival role-playing game, called ‘Decimated’, getting 375,000 euros of funding in 2020 alone
    • FreeHour: Founded in 2017, it provides a mobile app platform for students to help each other by exchanging free lessons. It currently has 25 thousand users, establishing itself as a reference tool for Maltese and Gozitan students
    • Fyorin: Founded in 2019 with a mission to change the face of business banking through a smoother corporate banking ecosystem for SMEs and financial institutions
    • KTO Group: Founded in 2018, it is an online gaming startup specializing in agile software solutions designed to ensure above all the safety of players, who can have full control over their experience thanks to preset limits on money to deposit, game times and losses
    • Pixel.Bet: Founded in 2018, it aims to create a transparent, convenient and tailored gaming experience for all those who love esports
    • Rootz: Founded in 2018 by a team of iGaming professionals and experts, it develops platforms for online gaming by paying attention to innovative and efficient programming, streamlined yet powerful graphics and rich content
    • Solfy: As of 2018, this fintech startup has raised €1.2 million to help banks grow credit availability with less risk, increasing the number of customers and the volume of retail transactions. All thanks to a new international ecosystem of banks, merchants and customers, in which consumers receive loans from lenders to make purchases through a mobile app
    • STASIS: Since 2017, it has developed EURS, a cryptocurrency designed to be a “tokenized” version of the euro, which aims to bridge the gap between decentralized finance and the off-chain market
    • Tryvium: Created in 2018, it provides a modern platform for booking hotels, apartments, B&Bs and other accommodations, incorporating blockchain and smart contract systems, and allowing users to purchase tokens to make transactions and reservations
    • VAIOT: As of 2018, it has raised 4.5 million to provide tech companies with a digital contracts and legal service using primarily artificial intelligence, which is combined with the blockchain
    • Xcoins: Founded in 2016, it is a cryptocurrency exchange platform with more than 250,000 customers under its belt from more than 167 countries around the world.

    To develop your startup project rely on the strategic and operational support of the Malta Business Agency team. Ask for more information or a specific consultancy by filling in the following form.

    Agrifood: the Regulation on unfair commercial practices is in force

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    Last June 18, 2021, the new Regulation on Unfair Commercial Practices in the Food Supply Chain, better known as the “Malta Regulations”, finally entered into force.

    This transposes Directive (EU) 2019/633 (“UTP Directive”), which aims to ensure the viability of operators at all stages of the agri-food supply chain. The measures envisaged are aimed at protecting farms and agri-food companies, especially with turnover thresholds of up to 350 million euros, from unfair commercial practices such as last minute cancellation of orders, delays in supplier payments, unilateral and retroactive changes to contracts, failure to pay suppliers for unsold goods.

    The Directive introduces mandatory written contracts between suppliers and purchasers, the possibility for those who suffer injustice to denounce them personally or through associations while maintaining confidentiality, the prohibition of commercial retaliation by the purchaser, certain times for the action of the legal authority of contrast. Effective and incisive enforcement measures are envisaged, which should be the responsibility of specific institutions in the member states. The latter will have to transpose the legislation within 24 months of its approval and enforce it within 30 months.

    As reported in an analysis by law firm Ganado, the Regulation will be applied:

    • if the supplier or buyer is based or operates in Malta
    • if the alleged unfair practice is carried out, in whole or in part, in Malta
    • if the supplier and the purchaser, in their specific commercial relationship, meet the annual turnover thresholds established by the law with a dynamic approach depending on the different categories of turnover for both the supplier and the purchaser.

    The Regulation do not apply, in any case, when the “buyer” is a public authority and when purchasing through tender procedures.

    The same Regulation applies to contracts signed after June 18, 2021, but will also be applied retroactively to contracts signed before June 18, 2021 only as of June 19, 2022.

    Certain unfair practices are then identified through a “black list” and “a grey list”. In the former, practices are prohibited under all circumstances, while in the latter, they are prohibited unless explicitly agreed to by both trading partners in the terms of a “clear and unambiguous” supply agreement.

    Here are what those practices are.

    BLACK LIST:

    • Payments beyond 30 days for perishable agricultural and food products
    • Payments beyond 60 days for other agribusiness products
    • Short-term cancellations of perishable agribusiness products
    • Unilateral changes to the contract by the buyer
    • Payments not tied to a specific transaction
    • Risk of loss and spoilage transferred to the supplier
    • Refusal of written confirmation of a supply agreement by the buyer, despite the supplier’s request
    • Abuse of supplier’s trade secrets by the buyer
    • Commercial retaliation by the purchaser
    • Transfer of customer complaint review costs to the supplier
    • Some supplier-buyer relationships may be exempt from some of the blacklisted business practices.

    GREY LIST:

    • Returning unsold products to the supplier without payment for the goods or their disposal
    • Charging the supplier for the storage, display, or listing of products in the marketplace
    • Requiring the supplier to bear the cost of any discounts on products sold by the buyer in a promotional offer
    • Requiring the supplier to pay for advertising the products
    • Require the supplier to pay for marketing the products
    • Requiring the supplier to pay for the buyer’s staff, room set-up
    • Also under the Regulations, investigations may be initiated by the UTP Board on its own initiative or upon receipt of a complaint from a supplier.

    When requested, the UTP Board must ensure that the identity of the complainant is protected. This confidentiality provision is in place to reduce the risk of potential business retaliation against the complaining provider. Providers may also submit complaints anonymously.

    After the conclusion of the investigation, the UTP Board must issue a report explaining how the buyer engaged in a prohibited unfair trade practice. These findings may also be accompanied by an estimate of the damages suffered by the buyer as a result of the unfair trade practice. The UTP Board may, then, invite the affected supplier and buyer to a mediation process to agree on the amount of damages to be paid.

    Source: Ganado

    Malta Business: the new catalogue of marketing services

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    The team of Malta Business Agency is excited to launch the latest update to its service catalogue, dedicated to improving the visibility of companies, and built on the suggestions of some of its most loyal customers.

    Maltabusiness.it is an up-to-date information web portal, with news and insights on the world of economy and business in Malta, which looks with interest at the internationalisation of SMEs, innovation, sustainability and the growth of the Euro-Mediterranean context.

    Over the years, a dynamic, multimedia and forward-looking web space has been created, step by step, from our consultancy agecny as a container of news, suggestions and opportunities for entrepreneurs, and with a network of national and international contacts, now available to increase multiple forms of corporate and professional business.

    The services are designed to grow a company’s image through forms of support in the field of communication and marketing.

    Through the partnership with Euromed International Trade, and with a team of professional journalists, computer technicians, graphic designers, marketing and corporate communication experts, Malta Business is able to offer the following services:

    • Video interviews – Your direct and immediate communication
    • Editorials – Thematic insights for your business
    • Webinar organisation – Present your products and services
    • Promotional banners – Targeted and effective advertising
    • Social campaigns and profile management – Talk to the general public
    • Website creation and e-commerce – Your company’s “virtual home
      … and much more (articles, press releases and other turnkey communication solutions)

    To find out more about the products and services, and the relative costs, download the new catalogue for companies from the following link:

    To request a free quote, or for more information on how to achieve any marketing objective, contact the Malta Business Agency team by filling out the form below!

    Third Malta Aviation Conference & Expo launched

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    The MACE Founders launched the 3rd Malta Aviation Conference & Expo that will be happening between the 26th and the 28th of October at The Westin Dragonara Resort in St Julian’s, Malta; whilst also catering for a hybrid physical-online solution.

    MACE is Malta’s largest aviation conference and for the second year running will be supported by Malta Business as official media partner.

    The main aim of the event is to create an environment of collaboration and cooperation for aviation leaders to come together and help each other succeed, profit, and thrive, during an unprecedented period, but also with a keen view towards future-proofing the aviation industry. To this effect, the theme chosen for MACE 2021 is “Rebooting the Industry”, particularly following what has undoubtedly been a turbulent period. Delegates will have the opportunity to participate in live panel debates, meet industry suppliers and discuss the above-mentioned theme with regulatory officials, industry professionals and subject matter experts.

    For the third year running, the event is being supported by Transport Malta, and will be held under the patronage of the MBAA (Malta Business Aviation Association).

    Speaking at the launch of MACE 2021 during a Press Conference, Jonathan Dalli and Stanley Bugeja, Co-Founders of MACE said: “It has been a great experience for us to see this brand developing over the last 3 years as the go-to conference for aviation professionals from Malta and our guests beyond our shores. For two years consecutive years we have done so, with our conference in 2019 bringing together 350 people and the one in 2020 connecting over 450 participants online.”

    MACE is yet again bringing the industry together, this time round to explore and discuss the how and what can reboot the industry to pre-pandemic growth. MACE 2021 is all about supporting the innovation discourse and its potential impacts on new and improved air mobility”

    Also present for the press conference were the Hon. Dr. Ian Borg, Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Capital Projects, and Mr. Joseph Bugeja, Chairman & CEO of Transport Malta.

    Congratulating the MACE Founders, Hon. Minister Dr. Ian Borg said that MACE is an excellent opportunity to foster healthy dialogue, collaboration, and also sharing of best practices in the industry. “It is the right platform to deliberate on where we want to go, especially after the pandemic is over. It will also help us to rethink how this industy will thrive again”. He continued to say that the Maltese Government will continue to offer a supportive shoulder to help aviation get back on its feet.

    Mr. Joseph Bugeja, Chairman & CEO for Transport Malta said that “it is a pleasure for the Authority for Transport to demonstrate its continued support to MACE. Transport Malta strongly believes that MACE is the appropriate medium to promote and foster Civil Aviation in line with its vision for its flourishing and dynamic Civil Aviation Directorate.”

    During the same press conference, the Conference Partners also launched the early bird prices for the conference. Those registering to the conference by the 12th of September, will be able to purchase their ticket at the price of €180 (excl. VAT).

    MACE was founded by DC Aviation Group, The Concept Stadium and Novargo.

    Cell Companies in the maritime and aviation sectors

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    Cell companies are companies that separate their business into “protected cells” through a segregated portfolio in which the assets and liabilities of different classes are separated from the core business of the company, thus limiting litigation damages and financial impacts to a single cell and protecting the company’s core business.

    In Malta, the provisions of the Companies Act for the incorporation or conversion of so-called ‘cell companies’ were first introduced in 1998, as part of the new Insurance Business Act enacted at the time. It was only later, in 2011, with the introduction of the Companies Act (Incorporated Cell Companies Carrying on Business of Insurance), that this type of company could be used for the first time. It was mainly the insurance sector that benefited, before being extended to various types of variable capital investment companies.

    The latest step came about a year ago, on 3 March 2020, with a reform of the Companies Act that extended the cell company to the aviation and maritime sectors: not only for those who own or operate aircraft and vessels, but also their management and all related ancillary activities, including providers of security services and companies with equity interests in aviation.

    Following the advantages already available to insurance, securitisation and collective investment undertakings, aviation companies can therefore also ring-fence their assets in such a way that they are beyond the reach of creditors or other third parties who have claims on assets relating to another airframe.

    In the event of the insolvency of one cell, there will be no effect on the solvency or otherwise of the other cells or of the company itself. This is achieved because each company has the ability to create within itself one or more independent departments in order to place and protect specific assets. Operating in Malta in the aviation and maritime sectors is made easier by the fact that a system such as the cellular company system is able to protect the company from the risks involved in its business.

    For specific advice please contact the Malta Business Agency offices by filling out the form below.

    Blockchain Expo Global: connecting the tech ecosystem

    The world-leading Blockchain Expo series returns to London at the prestigious Business Design Centre on 6-7th September 2021 and virtually on 13-15 September to host its fifth annual global event, with the partnership of Malta Business.

    It will bring together key industries from across the globe for two days of top-level content and discussion across 4 co-located events covering Blockchain, IoT, Cyber Security & Cloud, AI and Big data.

    5,000 attendees are expected to congregate for the event including CTO’s, Heads of Innovation and Technology, IT Directors, Developers, Start-Up’s, OEM’s, Government, Automotive, Operators, Technology Providers, Investors, VCs and many more.

    The Blockchain Expo will showcase the most cutting-edge technologies from more than 125 exhibitors and provide insight from over 100 speakers sharing their unparalleled industry knowledge and real-life experiences.

    The Blockchain conference agenda will present a series of expert keynotes, interactive panel discussions and solution-based case studies. All exploring the key industries that are set to be disrupted the most by this new technology, including; legal sectors, retail, financial services, healthcare, insurance, energy, music, government, real estate and more.

    Here you are the agenda: https://blockchain-expo.com/global/combined-agenda/

    View full speakers list: https://blockchain-expo.com/global/blockchain-speakers/

    Blockchain Expo Global hosts other events that will always be held at London’s Olympia from 6th to 15th September 2021:

    • AI & Big Data Expo: for IT decision makers, developers & designers, heads of innovation, chief data officers, chief data scientists,  brand managers, data analysts, start-ups and innovators, tech providers, c-level executives, venture capitalists , and many more
    • Cyber Security & Cloud Expo: for CISO’s, Heads of Innovation and Technology, IT Directors, Security Professionals, Start-Up’s, OEM’s, Government, Operators, Technology Providers, Investors and many more
    • IoT Tech Expo: for CTO’s, Heads of Innovation and Technology, IT Directors, Developers, Start-Up’s, OEM’s, Government, Automotive, Operators, Technology Providers, Investors, VCs and many more
    • 5G Expo: for TO’s, Heads of Innovation and Technology, IT Directors, Telecom Providers, Developers, Start-Up’s, OEM’s, Government, Automotive, Operators, Technology Providers, Investors, VCs and many more.
    • Digital Transformation Week: for CTO’s, Heads of Digital Transformation, Heads of IT and IT Directors, Directors of Business Transformation & Innovation, IOT / AI Infrastructure Providers, Cloud Service Providers, Business Analysts, Solution Architects, Network Managers, Information Security Managers and more.

    Restart from Malta with the Digital Economy: the free webinar

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    Malta is an ideal country in which to develop business projects related to the Digital Economy. Incentives to innovative and technological startups, digital infrastructures, cybersecurity policies, national development strategies and a large presence of companies in the sector make the Mediterranean island an ideal ecosystem for the growth of new projects.

    To learn more about these opportunities Malta Business presents the webinar “Restart from Malta with Digital Economy” scheduled for Monday, April 26, 2021 at 4:30 pm. Attendance to the event is free, subject to mandatory registration via the following link:

    For participant registrations, priority will be given to professionals and companies operating in the Software Development, Digital Marketing, DLT Technologies, Artificial Intelligence, Technology startups and Fintech sectors.

    The meeting will be attended by some of the key players in the world of the Maltese digital economy, representing the most important associations and government authorities responsible for the management and supervision of processes related to technological development. These are the speakers and the topics that will be discussed:

    Stephen McCarthy (CEO, MDIA): Ensuring Security in Technology

    Dana Farrugia (CEO, Tech.mt): Malta’s attractiveness as a Leading Tech Hub

    Melanie Debattista (Manager and Investment Promotion, Malta Enterprise): Malta’s digital economy and its opportunities

    Jackie Mallia: Strategy for Artificial Intelligence

    Cherise Abela Grech (FinanceMalta): Opportunities in Fintech

    Ernesto Caccavale (Head of International Office, MACTT): Training for Technology and Internationalization

    The meeting will be introduced by Caterina Passariello, Project Manager of Malta Business, and Agostino Ingenito, Secretary General of Assomalta. The event is organized with the support of Malta Enterprise, FinanceMalta, Malta Digital Innovation Authority, Tech.mt, MACTT, Euromed International Trade, Imprese del Sud, Italia4Blockchain e ANGI.

    Social Enterprise Bill discussed by key stakeholders

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    The Social Enterprise Bill, which is currently in its final stages in Parliament, was recently discussed by key stakeholders at an event organised by the FPEI, Malta’s Foundation for the Promotion of Entrepreneurial Initiatives. The panel of speakers discussed the support and opportunities that social enterprises would enjoy once the sector is regulated, as well as ways to help these entities thrive.

    During a brief introduction, FPEI manager Matthew Caruana explained that social enterprises are critical to the wider business landscape because they offer solutions to environmental, societal and community problems. Somewhat expectedly, though, access to finance remains a challenge for enterprises of this kind, as highlighted by a number of the panelists. Dr Roberta Lepre, from the Social Entrepreneurs Association Malta (SEAM), pointed out that social entrepreneurs would also benefit from being mentored by established entrepreneurs and learning the ropes of how to run a business by shadowing others.

    One of the clauses in the proposed Bill, which requires a company to submit its business plan to the regulator when applying to be registered as a social enterprise, was debated at length. Dr Lepre expressed her concern and that of SEAM at the fact that this requirement would force these budding entities to reveal information they might not want to divulge at such an early stage. Steve Ellul, from the Ministry for Energy, Enterprise and Sustainable Development, agreed and recommended that, instead of a business plan, it might be less invasive for social enterprises to set clear social objectives with specific KPIs attached to them, and for these enterprises to then be rewarded if they consistently hit those KPIs.

    While everyone agreed that social enterprises should be encouraged, all the speakers also felt that social responsibility should not be limited to this kind of enterprise. “There needs to be a shift in mindset, where corporate entities start incorporating social and environmental aspects in their business model just like social enterprises do,” Mr Ellul suggested. Mr Caruana agreed, expressing his hope that all businesses will eventually be green, ethical, and socially responsible.

    Focusing on the importance of social enterprise, the Hon Dr Miriam Dalli, Minister for Energy, Enterprise and Sustainable Development, through a recorded video message, said that the Act would provide a robust framework that would enable its growth. “Social organisations often focus on important social needs that are often specific to our communities,” Dr Dalli said. “Without social enterprises, these needs would take much longer to be detected and addressed by the public sector. This is why we need to support these enterprises and make sure that their effectiveness is leveraged as much as possible. Our objective is to create a holistic ecosystem which attracts, supports and enables the growth of innovative corporate ideas with social, environmental and sustainable objectives embedded in their business model.

    FPEI is actively involved in the promotion and support of such enterprises. “We are currently participating in three Erasmus Plus programmes that deal with entrepreneurship and its various branches, such as crowdfunding, adult learning, social entrepreneurship and upskilling,” explained Giselle Borg Olivier, Projects Manager at FPEI. “The common thread that runs through these projects is the aim to get people involved in the workplace – whether it’s by developing their own project and finding ways of financing it or improving their skills to develop themselves in a more holistic manner.

    The event was also addressed by David Pace Ross on behalf of the Opposition, and Dr Marthese Portelli, CEO of the Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry. Both speakers said they looked forward to seeing the Bill enacted into law. “We need to make it work, and we can only achieve this if we identify all the teething problems that will be encountered along the way and address them together,” added Dr Portelli.

    The Malta Chamber signed new agreement for sustainable mobility

    The Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry, and the Foundation for Transport signed a cooperation agreement to promote forms of mobility that are sustainable, energy-efficient, and respectful for the environment.

    With sustainability being a main pillar in The Malta Chamber’s vision towards ethical economic growth, the ‘Sustainable Mobility Committee’ within The Malta Chamber has been championing this drive towards an eco-friendly future through several initiatives” said Ms Marisa Xuereb, President of The Malta Chamber.

    This cooperation agreement is yet another tangible commitment of how The Chamber is working with different stakeholders to improve the quality of life and wellbeing of all while driving sustainable economic growth,” said Ms Xuereb.

    Through this signing, both parties agreed to collaborate on initiatives related to the electrification of the fleet which will result in reduced emissions and an advancement in the technology and expertise in this sector. These include the building of competencies and certification of people and organisations that operate in the sector, the establishment of guidelines to promote a wider adoption of charging stations, and fiscal incentives to electrify their vehicle fleet with a strong emphasis on cost effectiveness.

    The Malta Chamber will add an extended outreach to industry players in the transport industry and will create synergies to explain and educate the general public and the business community about new technologies,” said Mr Joseph Bugeja, Chairperson of the Foundation for Transport.

    It has become increasingly important to instil confidence in new technologies and act proactively by engaging with industry players to:

    • gauge first-hand experience on how new technologies impact their business
    • understand safety through gained confidence
    • gain understanding of what works best for their company
    • identify skills gaps and seek solutions to meet training requirements
    ,” said Mr Bugeja.

    The agreement was signed by Ms Marisa Xuereb and Mr Chris Vassallo Cesareo as President and Deputy President of The Malta Chamber respectively, and Mr Joseph Bugeja and Mr Anthony David Gatt, Chairperson and Board Administrator of the Foundation for Transport respectively. Dr Ian Borg, Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Capital Projects, and Dr Marthese Portelli, CEO of The Malta Chamber attended the signing ceremony.

    Digital Champions for Small Business competition

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    The “Digital Champions for Small Business ” initiative was launchedat a joint event hosted by the WTO Informal Working Group on Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs), the International Trade Centre (ITC) and the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC).

    The aim of the initiative is to help small businesses go digital and increase their participation in international trade. Proposals on how to help MSMEs address the difficulties they face with digital trade should be submitted by 15 September 2021.

    The initiative was announced at a virtual event attended by WTO Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, ICC Secretary General John Denton, ITC Secretary General Pamela Coke-Hamilton and Ambassador Jose-Luis Cancela, Coordinator of the Informal Working Group on MSMEs.

    Proposals are invited from industry associations, chambers of commerce and non-governmental organisations that are experienced in MSME and digitalization issues. The winning proposals of Digital Champions will be announced at the WTO’s 12th Ministerial Conference to be held in Geneva from 30 November to 3 December 2021.

    What kind of proposals should be submitted?

    • Proposals can focus on awareness-raising campaigns, competitions, capacity building, training and mentoring programmes.
    • Proposals should be designed to be delivered by the entity submitting the proposal and should not focus on WTO negotiations, or proposed changes to WTO rules.

    How to submit proposals?

    • Proposals should include details on the concept, aims, timelines and other information as appropriate.
    • Proposals should be no longer than three pages and should be sent to the following address in Word or PDF format: Digitalchampions@wto.org

    Deadline for the call for proposals is 15 September 2021.

    Okcoin secures regulatory approval in Malta

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    Cryptocurrency exchange Okcoin may soon be opening its doors wider to crypto traders in Malta and the Netherlands following approval from key regulators.

    In a Thursday announcement, Okcoin said it had secured formal registration from the central bank in the Netherlands and secured “in principle” approval for a virtual financial assets license from the Malta Financial Services Authority. In addition, the exchange has obtained a money transmitter license for the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico.

    The regulatory benchmarks in Europe are part of Okcoin’s plans to partner with local banks and payment providers to minimize regulation risks and make it easier for customers to purchase crypto with the euro. The exchange has been providing Dutch residents with crypto-to-crypto trading since 2018, and registered with the country’s central bank as a crypto service provider in May 2020.

    With these licenses, we will continue growing our presence aggressively in Europe and adding payment rails and banking partnerships,” said Okcoin CEO Hong Fang. “Europe is a big focus for our global growth plans, and we have added almost 25 team members in 2021 to better serve our customers in this region.

    Founded in 2013, Okcoin is one of the world’s oldest crypto exchanges and has steadily expanded to now serve customers in more than 185 countries. Though its headquarters are based in the United States, last year Okcoin moved into Singapore after it had also secured regulatory approval in Japan.

    Many crypto and blockchain firms have set up operations in Malta, expecting the country would provide favorable regulations within a European Union member. In the Netherlands, however, officials called for a complete ban on mining, trading, or holding Bitcoin last month.

    To develop your business project in Malta and obtain a licence ask the Malta Business Agency team for advice.

    EU Commission: new proposals to strengthen the anti-money laundering

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    The European Commission has presented an ambitious package of legislative proposals to strengthen the EU’s anti-money laundering and countering terrorism financing (AML/CFT) rules. The package also includes the proposal for the creation of a new EU authority to fight money laundering. This package is part of the Commission’s commitment to protect EU citizens and the EU’s financial system from money laundering and terrorist financing. The aim of this package is to improve the detection of suspicious transactions and activities, and to close loopholes used by criminals to launder illicit proceeds or finance terrorist activities through the financial system. As recalled in the EU’s Security Union Strategy for 2020-2025, enhancing the EU’s framework for anti-money laundering and countering terrorist financing will also help to protect Europeans from terrorism and organised crime.

    The measures greatly enhance the existing EU framework by taking into account new and emerging challenges linked to technological innovation. These include virtual currencies, more integrated financial flows in the Single Market and the global nature of terrorist organisations. These proposals will help to create a much more consistent framework to ease compliance for operators subject to AML/CFT rules, especially for those active cross-border.

    A new EU AML Authority (AMLA)

    At the heart of legislative package is the creation of a new EU Authority which will transform AML/CFT supervision in the EU and enhance cooperation among Financial Intelligence Units (FIUs). The new EU-level Anti-Money Laundering Authority (AMLA) will be the central authority coordinating national authorities to ensure the private sector correctly and consistently applies EU rules. AMLA will also support FIUs to improve their analytical capacity around illicit flows and make financial intelligence a key source for law enforcement agencies.

    In particular, AMLA will:

    • establish a single integrated system of AML/CFT supervision across the EU, based on common supervisory methods and convergence of high supervisory standards;
    • directly supervise some of the riskiest financial institutions that operate in a large number of Member States or require immediate action to address imminent risks;
    • monitor and coordinate national supervisors responsible for other financial entities, as well as coordinate supervisors of non-financial entities;
    • support cooperation among national Financial Intelligence Units and facilitate coordination and joint analyses between them, to better detect illicit financial flows of a cross-border nature.

    A Single EU Rulebook for AML/CFT

    The Single EU Rulebook for AML/CFT will harmonise AML/CFT rules across the EU, including, for example, more detailed rules on Customer Due Diligence, Beneficial Ownership and the powers and task of supervisors and Financial Intelligence Units (FIUs). Existing national registers of bank accounts will be connected, providing faster access for FIUs to information on bank accounts and safe deposit boxes. The Commission will also provide law enforcement authorities with access to this system, speeding up financial investigations and the recovery of criminal assets in cross-border cases. Access to financial information will be subject to robust safeguards in Directive (EU) 2019/1153 on exchange of financial information.

    Full application of the EU AML/CFT rules to the crypto sector

    At present, only certain categories of crypto-asset service providers are included in the scope of EU AML/CFT rules. The proposed reform will extend these rules to the entire crypto sector, obliging all service providers to conduct due diligence on their customers. Today’s amendments will ensure full traceability of crypto-asset transfers, such as Bitcoin, and will allow for prevention and detection of their possible use for money laundering or terrorism financing. In addition, anonymous crypto asset wallets will be prohibited, fully applying EU AML/CFT rules to the crypto sector.

    EU-wide limit of €10,000 on large cash payments

    Large cash payments are an easy way for criminals to launder money, since it is very difficult to detect transactions. That is why the Commission has today proposed an EU-wide limit of €10,000 on large cash payments. This EU-wide limit is high enough not to put into question the euro as legal tender and recognises the vital role of cash. Limits already exist in about two-thirds of Member States, but amounts vary. National limits under €10,000 can remain in place. Limiting large cash payments makes it harder for criminals to launder dirty money. In addition, providing anonymous crypto-asset wallets will be prohibited, just as anonymous bank accounts are already prohibited by EU AML/CFT rules.

    Third countries

    Money laundering is a global phenomenon that requires strong international cooperation. The Commission already works closely with its international partners to combat the circulation of dirty money around the globe. The Financial Action Task Force (FATF), the global money laundering and terrorist financing watchdog, issues recommendations to countries. A country that is listed by FATF will also be listed by the EU. There will be two EU lists, a “black-list” and a “grey-list, reflecting the FATF listing. Following the listing, the EU will apply measures proportionate to the risks posed by the country. The EU will also be able to list countries which are not listed by FATF, but which pose a threat to the EU’s financial system based on an autonomous assessment.

    The diversity of the tools that the Commission and AMLA can use will allow the EU to keep pace with a fast-moving and complex international environment with rapidly evolving risks.

    NGI: 2nd call launched for ONTOCHAIN project

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    From the current Internet standpoint, the way knowledge is generated, curated, shared and stored raises critical concerns about security, privacy, fair and equal distribution of benefits, potential for abuse and adverse impact on individual rights. Citizens, everywhere, are at risk of being presented with partial or biased information reflecting the viewpoint of their provider. ONTOCHAIN empowers internet innovators to develop trustworthy blockchain-based knowledge management solutions that will be part of a novel software ecosystem. The concept underlying this ecosystem is a better share of knowledge and value on the internet and that for various domains such as health, economy, mobility, public services, energy and sustainability, news, media, entertainment, Industry 4.0, tourism.

    Through this second Open Call, up to 12 projects will implement an infrastructure that will host ONTOCHAIN’s trustworthy data, metadata and services, and specific software solutions that can be used widely, further extending the use cases and the architectural features designed by the teams selected through the first Open Call.

    Join ONTOCHAIN by submitting a proposal addressing one of the open call topics.

    Who can apply: Internet technologists, researchers, developers and innovators.

    Applicants can apply as individuals or linked to a legal entity. Hence, the participation is possible in several ways:

    • Team of natural person(s): Team of individuals, all established in any eligible country. This does not consider the country of origin but the residence permit.
    • Legal entity(ies): One or more entities (consortium) established in an eligible country. Universities, research centres, NGOs, foundations, micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (see definition of SME according to the Commission Recommendation 2003/361/EC), large enterprises working on Internet or/and other related technologies are eligible.
    • Any combination of the above.

    Only Applicants legally established/resident in any of the following countries (hereafter collectively identified as the “Eligible Countries”) are eligible:

    • The Member States (MS) of the European Union (EU), including their outermost regions;
    • The Overseas Countries and Territories (OCT) linked to the Member States1;
    • H2020 associated countries (those which signed an agreement with the Union as identified in Article 7 of the Horizon 2020 Regulation): according to the updated list published by the EC2;
    • The UK Applicants are eligible under the conditions set by the EC for H2020 participation and as long as they comply with the same eligibility rules as the other Applicants.

    The total budget is 1.3 million euro. Participants will get grants of up to 145 thousand euros (funding without equity), free coaching and free access to the best infrastructure (iExec and MyIntelliPatent).

    The deadline for submitting your proposal is the 15th September 2021 at 17:00 CEST.

    To participate in the ONTOCHAIN call for proposals, please request more information or specific advice from the Malta Business Agency team by filling in the following form.

    Women TechEU: supporting deep-tech startups led by women

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    Deep tech accounts for over a quarter of Europe’s start-up ecosystem, with European deep tech companies now valued at a combined €700 billion and counting. Yet women remain largely underrepresented across this industry.

    Founded on innovation in engineering and advances in science, deep tech start-ups tend to have longer R&D cycles, and often take more time and capital to build than other start-ups. Most could fail in their first years if they do not receive the right support and investment early on. Women in deep tech often face the additional hurdle of gender bias and stereotypes, particularly prevalent in sectors like technology.

    Funded under the European Innovation Ecosystems work programme of Horizon Europe, Women TechEU is a brand new initiative of the European Union. The scheme offers first-class coaching and mentoring to female founders, as well as targeted funding to help take their business to the next level.

    Women TechEU offers financial support to the company as an individual grant of EUR 75 000 to support the initial steps in the innovation process, and the growth of the company,

    Mentoring and coaching provided by the EIC Business Acceleration Services (BAS), under the new “Women Leadership Programme”, which include dedicated networking and pitching events,

    The possibility to participate in dedicated activities organised by InvestEU and Enterprise Europe Network.

    The pilot scheme launched on 13 July supports a first cohort of up to 50 promising women-led start-ups, starting from 2022.

    Deep Tech

    Deep  tech  is  technology  that  is  based  on  cutting-edge  scientific  advances  and  discoveries , and  characterised  by  the need  to  stay  at  the  technological  forefront  by  constant  interaction  with  new  ideas and results from the lab. Deep tech is distinct from ‘high tech’ which tends to refer only to Research & Development intensity.

    Funding opportunities

    The call for proposals is open.

    The deadline for submissions is 17:00 (CET) on 10 November 2021.

    Who can apply

    Women TechEU targets highly innovative start-ups founded, or co-founded, by women holding a top management position (CEO, CTO or equivalent) in the company at the time of submission. The company must be registered and established in an EU Member State or a Horizon Europe Associated Country for at least six months at the time of the submission.

    Association agreements are currently under negotiation with a number of third countries. Until these have been signed, the transitional arrangement set out in the General Annexes to the Horizon Europe Work Programme 2021-2022 is applicable with  regard  to  the  following  countries  and  legal  entities  established in  these  countries, with which association negotiations are being processed or where  association is imminent.

    Applicants established in Horizon 2020 associated countries or in other third countries negotiating association to Horizon Europe are treated as entities established in an associated country, provided that the Horizon Europe association agreement with the third country concerned applies at the time of the signature of the grant agreement.

    To apply, you must:

    For more information, please contact by filling in the form below.

    New amendments to the Companies Act proposed

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    Bill 233 presents several proposed amendments to the Companies Act, Malta’s law on companies. The amendments mainly concern an increase in the transparency related to the persons called upon to act as directors of Maltese companies (including specifically the inclusion as a disqualification of the lack of a corporate service provider licence – called CSP – in cases where it is required) and the introduction of new address requirements for companies and their representatives.

    Although at first glance the changes may not appear to be far-reaching, if the bill is enacted in its current form, CSPs supplying multiple companies may need to adequately reorganise their systems to ensure effective compliance with the new requirements, a process that takes time.

    In terms of additional requirements introduced by the draft law, the following stand out:

    1. documents to be delivered to the Malta Business Registry (MBR) for registration that contain a person’s name and residence must now include the date of birth (or registration number in the case of a company);

    2. the M&A of a company – i.e. the process underlying the transfer of ownership – will now have to contain the company’s e-mail address and this will also have to be included in the company’s annual statement each year;

    3. the annual declaration will also have to indicate the company’s principal business activity;

    4. the directors of the company may choose to indicate a “service address” in the company’s memorandum of association rather than their “residential address”;

    5. Companies will be required to maintain a register containing the names, residential addresses and e-mail addresses of all its directors and shareholders, notifying the MBR of any changes within 14 days of registering such changes accompanied by the relevant statutory form (penalties for non-compliance have been introduced in this regard and the MBR will use this register for regulatory purposes without making it available for public inspection)

    6. future directors of private companies will now have to sign their consent to act as directors by signing the articles of association or a consent form (as is currently the case for public companies)

    7. all prospective directors will now be required to submit a signed declaration to the MBR stating that they are not aware of any circumstances that would render them ineligible to act as directors under the law or in another member state.

    As far as registration requirements are concerned, it is likely that all CSPs will have the data described above available in one form or another. However, for most, if not all, CSPs, it is unlikely that such data will already be organised in a way that allows for quick and easy extraction in accordance with these new rules.

    With company records now predominantly being kept digitally through special software programs, it is likely that CSPs will need to commission software changes to ensure that the new requirements are captured by their automated record-keeping functionality, particularly when ensuring that the company’s annual return includes the new details.

    A reasonable transitional period to accompany these legislative amendments would, therefore, be welcome as it would allow for a smoother collection and organisation of this data even through any software changes that might be required for this purpose.

    Along with imposing these new requirements on companies, the Bill also grants some additional powers to the Companies Registry, including:

    • the power not to register changes in directors or shareholders if the information required by law regarding the address register has not been submitted or if it is not satisfied that the company has provided accurate and up-to-date information about its directors and shareholders;
    • before registering any statement notifying a change of director, secretary or legal representative, the power to require such information as it considers necessary to ascertain the correctness of such statements or to ascertain that the requirements of the Act have been complied with;
    • the power to inform a company of any circumstance which prevents a person from acting as its director, including, where appropriate, the lack of a CSP licence, thereby requiring the company to submit removal to the MBR within 14 days of the initial notification and, failing that, the duty to make a judicial application for removal;
    • the power to refuse the appointment of a director where that person would be disqualified to act in any other member state;
    • before registering a new company or returning it, the duty and power to take all necessary steps to ascertain the identity of a person and the correctness of the information submitted
    • the duty to provide competent authorities and interested persons, as defined in the Money Laundering Prevention and Terrorist Financing Regulations, with full access to the MBR website, including through an application programming interface;
    • the duty to deal with all aspects of online formation of companies, online registration of branches and online filing of documents and information.

    The bill also grants the MBR the power to issue, after consultation with the minister, binding procedures and guidelines for companies and their officers.

    Malta’s National AI Strategy ranked 10th best amongst 54 countries

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    A Global AI Index carried out by Tortoise Media has ranked Malta’s National Artificial Intelligence Strategy in 10th place out of 54 countries, significantly surpassing countries such as Estonia, Sweden and Austria amongst others.

    The Index investigated seven key indicators: Talent, Infrastructure, Operating Environment, Research, Development, Government Strategy and Commercial, which Malta received a very positive scoring on. The AI Index ranked Malta in 17th place when it comes to Talent, 36th and 25th in Research and Development respectively, 18th in Commercial and in 10th place in Government Strategy; with an overall ranking of 32 out of 54.

    In reaction to this AI Index, Parliamentary Secretary for Financial Services, Digital Economy and Innovation Silvio Schembri remarked how it has only been few months since the official launch of Malta’s National AI Strategy and yet the country has already reached the set target of putting Malta amongst the top 10 countries with a strategy for this sector. 

    The vision is for Malta to become “the Ultimate AI Launchpad” – a place in which local and foreign companies and entrepreneurs can develop, prototype, test and scale AI, and ultimately showcase the value of their innovations across an entire nation primed for adoption. The ambition is to create the conditions for AI to springboard from Malta to the world” said Schembri.

    He said that the Strategy and Vision for Artificial Intelligence in Malta aim to ensure that benefits brought about by this next wave of innovation delivers benefits across all segments of Maltese society.

    The Malta Digital Innovation Authority CEO Stephen McCarthy welcomed the results presented by the Global AI Index, as they give a high level of confidence as we move forward with the execution of Malta’s National AI Strategy. The MDIA has been given the role of overseeing the implementation of the same strategy.

    We have the world’s first national AI certification programme firmly in place. The certification process includes a detailed assessment carried out by registered Systems Auditors who will review the technology, in line with Malta’s Ethical AI Framework and MDIA guidelines, in order to ensure that the AI is ethically aligned, transparent and socially responsible. The process also includes a due diligence exercise on the key people in the business, to build additional layers of trust for users of the technology.” said McCarthy.

    Tortoise Media has developed the Index to ensure that policy makers, entrepreneurs and the public have a solid understanding of the new technology, as this significant breakthrough has been compared to the discovery of electricity.

    This index ranked the United States as the frontrunner in AI development, scoring twice as highly as second placed China, mainly due to the quality of research, talent and private funding. On the other hand, China is the fastest growing AI country, surpassing the United Kingdom.

    Source: Malta Digital Innovation Authority.

    Register for free and watch our webinar “Restart from Malta with the Digital Economy”.

    Justice in Malta: trade disputes

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    Litigation relating to commercial disputes in Malta is generally settled before the national court, both in first and second instance. However, there are special courts that may be appointed for disputes of a specific nature. There are also “lower courts” (Inferior Courts) which are competent for court cases with a reduced monetary value.

    The parties may also agree to settle their dispute in arbitration, either before a dispute arises or after a dispute has already arisen. Arbitration in Malta tends to be more efficient and more specialized than litigation, with the possibility of appointing arbitrators with particular technical or industrial knowledge and experience. Moreover, since Malta is a signatory to the New York Convention (1958), any judgement resulting from an arbitration procedure based in Malta can be fully recognized and enforced in other Contracting States of that Convention.

    The main procedural rules governing commercial litigation are enshrined in the Code of Organization and Civil Procedure (the “COCP”), Chapter 12 of the Laws of Malta.

    Commercial litigation before the Higher Courts of Malta is generally initiated by an application filed by the applicant in the court register indicating the subject matter of the application and the remedy sought and confirmed on oath. Once notification has been filed, the addressee of the litigation is given twenty (20) days to submit a response, failing which he or she would be deemed to be in default before the law.

    After the commencement of proceedings, a hearing shall normally be held to deal with matters of case management, including confirmation of the validity of the notification to the parties. The court may also appoint a judicial assistant to manage the hearing and collect evidence. Once the evidentiary stage is completed, each party will have the opportunity to present its concluding arguments in writing or orally, and the court will issue a final judgment which may be subject to appeal.

    The COCP also provides for a more rapid procedure to enforce an appeal for a certain, liquid and payable debt not exceeding twenty-five thousand euros (“25,000”). This application must be accompanied by a statement from the applicant attesting to the existence of the claim. After thirty (30) days from the notification, without the defendant having replied, the Court may proceed to pronounce the judgment in favour of the applicant.

    There is no fixed time limit within which the proceedings must be concluded. The duration of disputes depends largely on the case management practices adopted by the court. In practice, after a court application has been filed, the first hearing is usually set within six weeks.

    Exceptionally, special summary proceedings filed in relation to a claim that is certain, liquid and due must be heard no earlier than fifteen days and no later than thirty days after notification of the sworn application to the defendant.

    Set out from Malta to launch your business idea! You can do it thanks to the support of Malta Business Agency, by filling out the following form:

    eCommerce from Malta: a great opportunity

    Do you want to gain a better understanding of what selling online entails? Do you even know where to begin? Are you at a loss when it comes to sourcing the products and services you need for setting-up an online store? Let’s take a look at some of the key steps to follow when starting an online sales business from Malta with the support of Malta Business Agency’s team.

    Planning your business

    When planning an online business you need to be aware of the applicable legislation, such as the Electronic Commerce Act, the Consumer Rights Regulations, the Data Protection Act and the related Value Added Tax on goods and services for conducting online trade.

    Planning yout IT requirements

    Selecting the right hardware and software can be crucial for an eCommerce business! At this stage you need to carefully plan out the requirements, especially with regard to the equipment selected and security measures deployed, to ensure the smooth running and success of your business. We will take you through the IT requirements you would need to consider when planning to take your business online.

    Taking your business online

    Once you decide to take your business online, you need to secure a good domain name and create an intuitive website, amongst other things. We will help you with the selection and registration of the domain name and how to go about planning your website.

    Facilitating online payments

    One of the benefits of eCommerce is the ability of traders to sell, and for shoppers to buy products from anywhere in the world at any time. You need to bear in mind that impulse buying is a common trait amongst digital buyers and having to mail a cheque or pay in person could discourage consumers from concluding a purchase. We will explain what you can do to start accepting electronic payments on your website.

    Promoting your online business

    This is a very important aspect which needs special attention when setting up any type of business, especially an online store. You need to connect with customers and stand out from competition. Find out more with us about how you can effectively promote your online business and increase your eCommerce conversion rate.

    Delivering your products

    Delivery is a vital aspect in eCommerce, one which can significantly impact a customer’s buying decision. You need to guarantee customers an efficient service throughout the entire shopping experience. It is as important as having a well-designed website! We are able to give you some best practice tips on delivery.

    Providing exceptional customer service is critical for an online business. Customers may be wary of buying from a trader that they have never met before and therefore, need help to overcome their concerns and hesitations. Trust us to know how to meet the growing expectations of today’s customers! Contact us by filling in the following form!

    The Islands, aircraft carriers of Mediterranean tourism

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    The islands of the Mediterranean have experienced great development in recent years with the expansion of their tourism sector. Tourism integrates many positive elements, generates job opportunities, especially for young people and women, improves seasonal income, promotes the construction of infrastructures, develops technologies and services, and facilitates the cultural and social exchange that enriches the traveller and the destination. However, there is a big difference between growth and a fair and consistent distribution of income, and today we know that “getting back to normal” is not the way to build a prosperous and sustainable future.

    With COVID-19, the islands have suffered losses of billions of euros of activity, both direct and indirect. The world has gone through a painful, heavy and costly phase in its long confrontation with the virus, and the battle continues. That is why we are facing an opportunity to restart the sector and offer a new post-COVID-19 tourism model.

    Present and future challenges, for the Mediterranean in general and its islands in particular, are to become a sustainable tourist destination and impose a shared responsibility based on the three pillars of sustainability: economic, environmental and social. The tourism of the future incorporates balanced and focused development objectives, and requires a change of attitude in the entire value chain: destinations, companies and tourists.

    The Mediterranean is the number one tourist destination and accounts for 30% of world income and 12% of regional GDP, a similar percentage of registered employment. Now their islands require vital support to facilitate their transformation towards a new, more resilient, green and blue model that strengthens local economies in a balanced and sustainable way. The islands must become the aircraft carrier for this new regional tourism.

    The islands of the Mediterranean must be coordinated. They must work for their common objectives and to face their common problems: climate change, profitability, seasonality. A cooperation project of a coherent and efficient Mediterranean tourism market is necessary. Consolidate a “Mediterranean Brand” and profitable tourism aligned with the Development Goals. Without a comprehensive plan that consolidates its leadership, recovery and long-term sustainability are in jeopardy. We cannot compromise future needs by poor strategy and management today.

    The islands are special vacation destinations, they are in our culture and imaginary, nowhere more than in the Mediterranean in summer. But the impact of the current tourism model, such as marine litter on the beaches, is especially visible on the islands. We must take advantage of the situation generated by the pandemic to rethink the model.

    In past times, the tourism sector has demonstrated its ability to overcome crises and adapt to change, boost growth and create jobs, despite economic and geopolitical challenges, terrorism or natural disasters.

    The islands of the Mediterranean can emerge from the pandemic strengthened, and continue to be an engine of the economy. But governments and the private sector must work together to overcome the impact of the pandemic and this unprecedented social and economic crisis.

    It is important to value tourism in the Mediterranean islands. But it will be necessary a strategy and instruments in which all the actors involved should involve. National and regional policy makers must use new approaches to provide a robust response to help the sector recover. There are precise normative, regulatory and institutional frameworks with sufficient incentives to stimulate the development of supply and productive capacity. A common strategy that guarantees that the Mediterranean tourism sector becomes resilient, sustainable, inclusive and competitive.

    Community-driven tourism also promotes responsible consumer behaviour by fostering a deeper cultural exchange and understanding than traditional sun and beach tourism. Do not forget the importance of visitor awareness. Consumers are a powerful engine of change. Their voices and demands have the power to improve the economy and well-being.

    The pandemic can be the transforming point of the economies of the Mediterranean islands and from there, of the entire region. We know that we must cut greenhouse gas emissions in half. We are living a Fourth Industrial Revolution, with new digital tools, which are a powerful accelerator of inclusion, competitiveness and cooperation that improves sustainability. Since the global financial crisis of 2008, we know that we must evolve. While tourism has historically shown a great capacity to adapt, innovate and recover from adversity, this unprecedented situation requires new approaches, a strong response and partnership at various levels.

    Ferdinand Braudel said that “the Mediterranean is not a landscape but innumerable landscapes. It is not a sea but a series of seas”. The Mediterranean is a sea of ​​islands and therefore attracts millions of visitors from all over the world. Faced with the pandemic, uncertainty economic and the continuing challenge posed by climate change, we can face the challenges of the future for the long-term sustainability of the Mediterranean islands.

    Article written by Anwar Zibaoui, General Coordinator of ASCAME