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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  • AI4Copernicus: 3rd call for AI and Earth observation-based experiments coming soon

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    AI4Copernicus will launch its third Open Call in January 2022 that supports experiments that address the development and testing of technical solutions that address industrial challenges by leveraging Artificial Intelligence resources and Earth observation data.

    With this new call, 8 prototypes will be funded with 80,000 euros each. In addition, the selected experiments will benefit from a 16-month acceleration program.

    AI4Copernicus is a European H2020 project that aims to bridge Artificial Intelligence (AI) with Earth Observation (EO) world by making the already developed AI4EU AI-on-demand platform, the digital environment of choice for users of Copernicus data, for researchers and innovators.

    The program goals are:

    • Integrate resources and large EO data of existing providers, give access to training material and expertise and enrich the AI4EU resources catalogue.
    • Incentivise diverse AI4EU and Copernicus communities to solve real problems of business and societal value, through 4 Open Calls.
    • Drive the evolution, uptake, and impact of all involved platforms: AI4EU and the DIAS platforms, especially WEkEO, CREODIAS and MUNDI.

    A series of 4 open calls have been planned, leading to: 8 small-scale experiments (smaller, single-beneficiary experimental projects targeting technology-advanced users) and 9 use-cases (larger-budget projects, involving at least one non-technology user). The open calls will necessitate the utilisation of DIAS platforms, Copernicus data, the AI4EU platform and the services and resources that will be provided by the AI4Copernicus project. Through organising, facilitating and mentoring these Open Calls, AI4Copernicus aims to reach out to new user domains and boost the use of the AI4EU platform.

    SMEs, startups and high-tech spin-offs can participate in the third call. The deadline to submit applications is April 30, 2022.

    To submit your application and apply for funding, rely on the strategic and operational support of the Malta Business Agency team. Request more information or a consultation by filling out the form below.

    Expo 2020: visiting the Malta Pavilion

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    Dubai-based newspaper Khaleej Times visited the Malta Pavilion at Expo 2020 to explain what makes the tenth smallest country in the world an attractive vacation destination for UAE travelers.

    Malta’s chosen message for the World Expo is “Connecting cultures and generating opportunities,” a slogan that perfectly sums up the strategic role of this archipelago positioned in the center of the Mediterranean.

    In particular, ample space has been given to the tourism sector, which every year brings 2 million people to the two main islands inhabited by a total of 550 thousand inhabitants, and which even in times of pandemic has managed to attract 600 thousand tourists.

    Visiting the Malta Pavilion, the Khaleej Times envoy met Maria Camilleri Calleja, Maltese Ambassador to the United Arab Emirates, who explained that the Maltese language is a mix of Arabic, English and Italian in 60% of its lexicon: thus any person visiting Malta from the Emirates is immediately greeted by a language of the local Maltese population that immediately sounds familiar.

    Malta is also a Mediterranean island, where you can smell the water, and where you can admire wonderful seaside resorts that combine with small fortified towns,” said the Ambassador.

    Moreover, on July 14th last year, the Emirates airline concluded its first direct flight between Malta and Dubai, accelerating the tourist presence from one to the other country.

    The final invitation, therefore, is to visit the Malta Pavilion in Dubai, and above all to visit Malta from Dubai. 

    Israeli start-up specialists launch VentureRocket Malta

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    VentureRocket Malta, an Israeli start-up ecosystem builder, focused on start-up scouting, financing and acceleration is set to be launched in Malta in the coming months.

    The initiative will scout innovative start-ups and companies both locally and globally, plan their introduction to the Maltese ecosystem, aid them with Malta government grants and support plans, and together with Malta Enterprise, build a specific case by case growth plan for them.

    VentureRocket is a part of Titanium Technologies Group that acts as a holistic start-up ecosystem management environment collaborating with governments, educational institutions, and innovative organisations.

    The company’s new management team covers over 20 years of experience in leading and managing complex tech projects worldwide, with a strong team of tech and business specialists from Israel, Ukraine, Moldova, and Kazakhstan.

    VentureRocket offers different acceleration services, including a digital environment and tools to manage the ecosystem of startups and investors and help startups execute their fundraising campaigns, global startup scouting and investor outreach activities, customised acceleration and incubation programs, and other dedicated services, according to the partners’ needs.

    At VentureRocket, we see great potential in entering the Maltese market. Currently, it includes over 250 tech startups from different industries, and due to Malta’s great strategic location, strong human capital opportunities, and a friendly lifestyle, it creates favourable conditions for startup scouting and finding great investment opportunities in the region,” – shared Asaf Yosifov, the CEO at VentureRocket.

    The investment is being supported by the country’s key contact point for startups – Malta Enterprise – with an aim of further synergising the local start-up ecosystem.

    Over the last months Malta Enterprise has launched a number of incentives for start-ups and an enablement and visibility campaign built around the portal StartinMalta.com.

    We are excited to partner with VentureRocket to bring more opportunities to Malta-based startups and help them realise their full potential by supporting them with ecosystem building services from VentureRocket. We are also confident that Venture Rocket Malta can be a great way for global start-ups to get access and grow in the Maltese and the European Union markets,” – said Malta Enterprise CEO Kurt Farrugia.

    This announcement is another milestone in the momentum we have been building over the last months via agreements with local and international partners. These efforts are reaping results with 73 applications for start-up assistance received between January and June this year compared to 46 applications in the same period last year. “Also we are seeing that a good chunk of our incoming FDI’s are exciting startups coming from a myriad of fields – from aviation to cybersecurity, from fintech to digital games. Malta as a startup hub is a works in progress”, he concluded.

    Sustainable tourism: MAST selects new business ideas

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    At the beginning of November was officially launched the project MAST (Mediterranean Alliance for Sustainable Tourism), funded by UfM for Employmen Promotion, and that has among its supporters our Maltese partner MACTT Ngo, along with other realities from Greece, Italy, Tunisia and Morocco.

    The project is aimed at companies, professionals, teachers, young people and students working in the world of tourism. All of them are asked to submit a new business idea based on sustainable tourism to be submitted by December 31, 2021.

    The works will then be evaluated by the MAST team during the month of January 2022, and the best work will receive a special prize, linked to the possibility of growth and development of the project.

    If you already have an idea in mind and want to get involved, simply register on the site www.mastproject.eu, attend a free online course lasting one hour (available in English, Italian, Greek and French) and fill out a form to get in touch with the project partner identified as a reference for your country, which will guide you in the drafting of the project to be submitted by December 31.

    The reference partners of the MAST project, who are waiting for you to collect the business projects, are the following:

    Lowering VAT for tourism among the new proposals of the Malta Chamber

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    The Tourism Operators Business Section at The Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry with the support of Seed, presented Rediscover, its vision for Malta’s tourism industry.

    Generally, the document proposes its recommendations based on eight (8) key themes:

    1. Branding & Marketing
    2. Digital & Innovation
    3. Accommodation
    4. Sectoral Infrastructure
    5. Culture & Identity
    6. Governance & Institutions
    7. Human Capital
    8. Connectivity

    The document is rooted in a detailed analysis of the hurdles faced by Malta and its tourism operators in this sector. This analysis is contextualised within broader international industry trends and is enriched by consultation with more than 29 industry stakeholders, leading to a series of recommendations and key performance indicators geared at revitalising the Maltese tourism sector in a post COVID-19 future.

    Amongst its flagship recommendations, The Chamber is re-proposing lower VAT on all tourist services to 7%, unless the product or service being offered is already VAT exempt. Incremental income from VAT reduction should be diverted towards improvement in salaries.

    This Vision proposes a new focus on unique and varied events which are true to the local identity, a proposal which forms part of a broader approach to strengthen the Maltese tourism brand as well as the specific marketing of destinations such as Gozo and Valletta in their own right.

    Furthermore, The Chamber proposes carrying out a sectoral review to measure tourism operators’ digital readiness to identify all opportunities for digital transformation and include opportunities for funding.

    President Ms Marisa Xuereb said, “The Malta Chamber recognises the vital importance of Tourism as a pillar of the Maltese Economy, and we believe that this document is the blueprint to strengthening and future-proofing this sector for decades to come.

    In his remarks, the Chair of the Tourism Business Section, Mr Alan Arrigo said, “We’ve placed sustainable growth in the epicentre of our Vision. One that is built on improving customer journey, encouraging authentic quality customer experiences and building on our capabilities to make Malta a destination of choice.”

    Robotics4EU for responsible robotics in Europe

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    Robotics4EU is the European Commission’s answer to the unprecedented importance of robotics in modern economy. Launched officially in January 2021 under the Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation programme, Robotics4EU aims to take concrete steps to ensure a more widespread adoption of (AI-based) robots in the EU, particularly in the areas of Healthcare, Inspection and Maintenance of Infrastructure, Agri-Food, and Agile Production.

    The project’s goal also includes raising awareness about non-technological aspects of robotics, such as ethics, legal, socioeconomic, data, privacy and gender issues. To do so, it will gather a responsible robotics community, with representatives from companies and academia in the areas mentioned above, citizens, policy and decision-makers, and it will organise community-building and co-creation events while advocating for the cause of responsible robotics.

    In the first few months of the project, a series of interviews and online surveys were conducted in order to gain insight from stakeholders and members of the robotics community in topics such as the deployment of robotics, current practices, shortcomings and other needs of the community. The issues pointed by the surveyed include labour force concerns, the consequences of robotics on overall human well-being, among others, and are available on the project’s website. This report also includes information regarding good practices from other projects, robotics community readiness and robots’ acceptability, cooperation between policy makers and the robotics community, among others.

    During the month of October 2021, Robotics4EU will also promote a GlobalSay – consultation that will engage approximately 700 citizens from 12 countries in deliberations about the societal and ethical impacts of robotics.

    A series of workshops starting in November 2021 and lasting until mid-2022 is also in the works. The goal is to broaden and empower the responsible robotics community and encourage the debate around cutting-edge issues and ideas for practical solutions that will support the responsible adoption of (AI-based) robotics.There will be a total of 20 workshops: four online and one presential for each of the projects’ areas (Healthcare, Inspection and Maintenance of Infrastructure, Agri-Food, and Agile Production).

    Robotics4EU is a €3 million coordination and support action comprising 7 organisations from 6 European countries with expertise in several technological domains. For more information on the project and future activities, visit Robotics4EU website at https://www.robotics4eu.eu/.

    Medaweek: the Forum of the cultural, audiovisual and creative industries

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    The opening day of Medaweek Barcelona, the week of the Mediterranean economic leaders, has finally arrived. In this 2021, Medaweek Barcelona will present itself to the public with the slogan “A common future” and will dedicate an unprecedented space to a sector that is becoming increasingly strategic for the revival of regional economies in the post-pandemic context: the creative, cultural and audiovisual industries.

    The conference dedicated to this sector, in presence and online, is scheduled this afternoon, Wednesday, November 17, at 15.00, and will be moderated by Caterina Passariello, Project Manager of Malta Business.

    The COVID-19 outbreak and the containment measures have led to closure of cinema theatres, standstill of productions and cancellation of audio-visual festivals. The impact on the economy and employment has been very severe and has affected the entire value chain of the audiovisual industry, from the creation of films and audiovisual works to their distribution. Even TV broadcasters, despite beating viewing records, have seen their advertising revenues decreasing due to the disruption of economic activities.

    Cinemas, festivals, producers, distributors, and creators are struggling to survive, risking bankruptcies and layoffs, especially for the many self-employed and freelancers of the sector. The whole industry of these small businesses that sustain our cultural diversity is at stake.

    The audiovisual sector is a key factor in the promotion of cultural diversity at local and international levels. Mediterranean audiovisual products currently suffer from a chronic lack of media coverage, with the general public of course, but above all with the professional public that could buy, distribute, broadcast and co-produce the programmes and films, which is encouraging the emergence and the networking of professional associations.

    At the time of the transition towards a mixed system in the audiovisual sector and in view of the creation of a common regional market and of a Euro-Mediterranean market, the role professional associations are able to play is becoming fundamental.

    The audiovisual sector, when seen from the angle of its production, is also traditionally an area of artistic collaboration and collective creativity combining sound, image and written material, and where, on a set, lighting technicians, set designers and make-up artists, for example, collaborate in the production of a film for television or the big screen. It is in essence an instrument of dialogue and communication that reaches beyond national and linguistic borders.

    Furthermore, the rapid growth of digital technology and the convergence of media have already led to obvious radical changes in our daily lives but, above all, they provide a unique opportunity to develop exchanges.

    The Mediterranean is an emerging region seeking international recognition. In this context, and given the post-COVID-19 unprecedented challenges, ASCAME takes the initiative to organise the ‘Mediterranean Creative Economy Forum’ in order to support the sector. The engagement of all stakeholders in the new strategy is key to its success and they need to play an active role. This forum will bring together the main Euro-Mediterranean radio and television stations, audiovisual and cultural operators, and institutional representatives of the region.

    Guest speakers at the forum will include:

    Víctor Francos Díaz General Secretary Ministry of Culture and Sports, Spanish government

    Jens Nymand Christensenformer Deputy Director General, European Commission

    Miquel Rutllant | President, Clúster Audiovisual de Catalunya

    María Carmen FernándezInnovation and New Business Manager, MEDIAPRO Group

    Rasmus Wiinstedt Tscherning | Founder and CEO, Creative Business Network (CBN)

    Rym AyadiPresident and Founder, Euro-Mediterranean Economists Association (EMEA)

    Sir Martin SorrellExecutive Chairman, S4 Capital

    Alia KhanFounder & Chairwoman, Islamic Fashion and Design Council

    Mohamed Zoghlami|Co-fondateur, d’Afric’Up et d’Africa in Colors

    For more information and to discover all the thematic fora, check the event’s programme here.

    The sport industry debuts at Medaweek Barcelona

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    Malta Business will be protagonists on the third and last day of Medaweek Barcelona 2021, the great event dedicated to the world of business organized every year by ASCAME, Association of Mediterranean Chambers of Commerce. The appointment to mark in the agenda is Friday, November 19, 2021 at 17.00 for the Mediterranean Sport Industry Conference, a conference dedicated to the sport sector that will be moderated by Caterina Passariello, Malta Business Agency‘s Project Manager and analyst of our news portal.

    Sport is a powerful force for cooperation and peace. It inspires and promotes the values of teamwork, non-violence, gender equality, social integration, tolerance and justice. Values that go beyond borders, cultures, races or religions.

    In a region with strong inequalities and deep unrest, sport facilitates social integration and economic development, and becomes a tool to address violence and insecurity, and provide better opportunities for young people.

    Mediterranean countries have much in common. A sea, a history, a culture, a food and values that remind us that it is possible to work together and create a new common destiny. These values are precisely those that sport conveys.

    Companies that focus their strategy, products or services around sport are growing and many sectors benefit from the associated cultural, economic or recreational activities, such as telecommunications, construction or tourism. The industry can increase the ability to acquire and produce knowledge, which is a key factor in competitiveness.

    However, the sport and recreation landscape is changing significantly in the Mediterranean region. The emergence of commercial events and properties in different countries in the region has meant that rights holders and established brands need to review and fine-tune their offerings, while the consumer leisure environment becomes increasingly competitive.

    In light of this, sport is being called upon to become a new growth driver through investment in infrastructure and job creation for young people. This will be discussed on Friday with distinguished guests such as Miquel Iceta, Minister of Culture and Sport of the Spanish Government; Ashraf Sobhy, Minister for Youth and Sport in Egypt; and Joan Laporta, President of Barcelona Football Club. he appointment is Friday, November 19 at 17.00, from Casa Llotja de Mar (Barcelona) and online.

    Medaweek: a talk for the relaunch of the cruise sector

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    Malta Business and its partner Euromed International Trade will be protagonists on the third and last day of Medaweek Barcelona 2021, the great event dedicated to the world of business organized every year by ASCAME, Association of Mediterranean Chambers of Commerce. The appointment to mark in your diary is Friday 19 November 2021 at 15.00 for the Mediterranean Cruise Industry Conference, a conference dedicated to the cruise sector which will be moderated by Caterina Passariello, Project Manager of Malta Business Agency and analyst of our information website.

    The cruise sector represents one of the most flourishing segments of the international tourism market in recent years, and sees the Mediterranean fully involved in this boom. The Mediterranean region is a very complete tourist destination as it offers a wide variety of landscapes and cultural and culinary activities, with a satisfactory quality-price ratio. Moreover, it can be enjoyed by all age groups throughout the year.

    Although the Mediterranean is the world’s second destination for cruise ships, after the Caribbean, it has the potential to become the first port of arrival due to its excellent climatic conditions that allow for a long cruise season, as well as the attractiveness of its diversity of cultures and differentiated itineraries. The world’s leading cruise operators and companies are aware of this promising and strategic growth space, and have already positioned themselves in the region to gain competitive advantages in this market.

    In fact, cruise travel is the fastest growing segment of the tourism industry, with demand increasing by 20.5% over the past five years. Some 29 million people have chosen to go on a cruise in 2019. And as of today there are more than 150 cruise ports in the Mediterranean coasts and about 70 operators, Barcelona being the main hub for all cruises and itineraries in the southern and eastern Mediterranean.

    The cruise industry makes 45 billion euros a year and generates about 320,000 jobs. It can be said without a shadow of a doubt that this sector plays a very important role in both the shipping and tourism industries. And its impressive production chain of direct and indirect goods and services associated with this sector acts as a strong economic driver.

    However, the negative effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have affected Mediterranean economies as never before, especially in the world of tourism. And after governments across the region focused on launching and implementing extraordinary measures focused primarily on those industries and production sectors, the time has come to plan for the recovery of key leisure sectors by combining sustainability and profitability.

    Among the speakers who will speak at the November 19 conference, live from Casa Llotia de Mar (Barcelona) and online, the presence of important names such as Mar Pérez, Head of the Cruise Department for the Port of Barcelona; Ukko Metsola, Director General of Cruise Lines International Association Europe; and Pino Musolino, President of the Port System Authority of the Central-Northern Tyrrhenian Sea, is already confirmed.

    AIBC Europe 2021: the day has finally come

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    AIBC Europe 2021, the big event organized by Sigma that will attract thousands of people at the Malta Fairs and Convention Centre in Ta’ Qali, officially kicks off.

    For the first time ever Sigma is  bringing its 4 leading shows together for the mother of all conferences. From the 15th to 19th November, AIBC, alongside AGS and  the World’s Gaming Festival – SiGMA, will bring the best in the business to a first-class meeting point at the MFCC, and with the partnership of Malta Business.

    Malta Week will also host the second edition of Med-Tech World, a digital health conference which will be held at the Hilton, Malta.

    The alignment of our super-shows allows investors to leverage the significant crossover potential for multi-faceted business deals and to double down on opportunities to connect with some of the leading affiliates, policy makers, thought leaders, suppliers, and operators in the industry.

    As Malta’s commitment to a new digital age becomes evident, this favourite in the global emerging technology event calendar is only set to grow. Malta Week is your chance to tap into the synergy between the emerging tech, digital marketing and gaming sectors, while making the most of what the islands have to offer.

    AIBC Malta

    THOUGHT LEADERSHIP

    A series of expert-led conferences will bring  emerging tech to the fore – revolutionising the way we look at technology and its ability to change the world. From cryptocurrency regulation to cutting-edge AI, the  industry’s most creative minds are leading the debate on the AIBC stage with an agenda of thought provoking keynotes and panels. 

    STANDING FOR QUALITY

    The AIBC expo floor brings a carefully curated display of the products and solutions leading the market. This high energy exposition offers a direct line to some of the top brands in the business – making it an ideal place for networking and deal-making opportunities.

    BUSINESS HUB

    In line with a strong interest in  tech and the growing value for companies looking to move into up-and-coming gaming markets, Malta is a leading hub for digital innovation and business, and carries a long-standing reputation for pulling off excellent networking events. 

    English-speaking, with a rich cultural history, and plenty of leisure and entertainment choices, Malta has much to offer those seeking to inject a little fun into their stay, providing a stunning backdrop against which to forge lucrative deals.

    View the event agenda

    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.

    Agriculture and food: a new vision is needed

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    Medaweek Barcelona 2021, the week of Mediterranean economic leaders, will dedicate one of its summits to the world of agriculture and food: the 1st Mediterranean meeting of Agriculture and Food is scheduled on November 17 from 17.00 to 18.30 at Casa Llotja de Mar, in Barcelona. It will be an opportunity to address important issues such as investment in sustainable agriculture, the construction of a food production always based on sustainability and typical Mediterranean and resistant to climatic factors, and the revival of the Mediterranean diet.

    Agricultural production is one of the pillars of the economy, representing 3% of world GDP and almost 30% of global employment. However, agricultural markets are unstable, reacting to speculative forecasts by operators, with price variations, as happened in 1986, 1996 or 2008. Strong price increases trigger riots and riots among consumers, as well as high income instability for producers: agro-food SMEs and farms.

    In 2020, this situation has even been more complicated by the closure of borders to contain the COVID-19 pandemic. Food insecurity, which already affects almost 40% of the world’s population due to lack of food or its poor quality, is much more compromised without the proper functioning of supply chains and public health.

    It is time for efficient approaches. Heritage diets, such as the Mediterranean Diet, must form the basis for the construction of regional food systems, based on proximity, solidarity and autonomy, and therefore, more resistant to economic and social, health or climate crises.

    In 2019, global agricultural startups invested nearly $ 20 billion in FoodTech. In the Mediterranean, the challenge is to promote modern, competitive, global and resource-sustainable agriculture in order to increase the attractiveness of the sector and offer employment opportunities to young people in a technology-dependent labour market.

    A new vision and association of the agricultural and food sector in the Mediterranean is urgent, based on joint development networks, which help to overcome current and future crises.

    It is urgent to promote measures to reactivate the agro-food sector and avoid its suffocation, but it is also imperative to lay the foundations for a new model of sustainable development. It is time, finally, to make courageous decisions.

    Malta Start-up Festival

    Malta Enterprise has unveiled the upcoming launch of the Startup Festival which is taking place between 11th-13th November 2021 at the Kordin Business Incubation Centre (KBIC).

    The Startup Festival, at which Malta Business will be present, is the culmination of Malta Enterprise’s efforts to support startups, as it brings together various experts in different workshops, focusing on three main pillars; sustainability, digitalisation and innovation.

    The festival hosts various workshops, inspirational talks, in a networking atmosphere.

    Commenting on the event, Malta Enterprise CEO Kurt Farrugia stated that “Malta Enterprise’s role in relation to startups is getting noticed, as we have enhanced our financial incentives over the last year and today we have a very attractive package, and we also have consolidated the startup ecosystem in Malta through the launching of the national portal startinmalta.com, in March 2021.

    Malta Enterprise will also be establishing the Blue Med Hub which will bring together startups and investment efforts in relation to the Blue Economy. 

    The Startup Festival is a celebration as this year is KBIC’s 20th Anniversary.

    The festival will highlight various success stories who had started from KBIC, or have received assistance in any way. 

    Interested startups and participants can view the programme and register for the workshops through this link.

    Want to develop your own startup? The Maltese ecosystem offers you a number of advantages, and the Malta Business Agency team will help you leverage them. Contact us by filling out the following form.

    Future tourism is sustainable: the MAST project has been launched

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    The tourism sector has experienced an unprecedented crisis following the Covid-19 emergency. Finally, now we are beginning to see the first signs of recovery, but not everything will be the same as before. As in other economic sectors, tourism has been at the center of analysis and reflection on how it will have to re-propose, re-adapt and reinvent itself in the post-Covid era. The key word that will involve the sector for its future is: SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT.

    Tourism operators are called to grow their projects with this vision, not only out of a sense of responsibility in the face of climate change, pollution and environmental protection. Sustainable development will in fact be a key to relaunch also in economic terms: national and European institutions are investing many billions of euros on this, which will go to sensitize consumers in their choices, and to support companies or associations that will believe in sustainability, updating themselves on new models of tourist offerings to be launched in the market and proposing their ideas.

    For these reasons has been launched the Mediterranean Alliance for Sustainable Tourism (MAST), a project funded by UfM for Employmen Promotion that has among its promoters our partner MACTT Ngo, along with other partners from Greece, Italy, Tunisia and Morocco.

    The project is aimed at companies, professionals, teachers, young people and students working in the world of tourism. All of them are immediately offered a free one-hour online course to keep updated on the dynamics of the tourism sector in the post-Covid era.

    The course is already available, free of charge after registration, through this link.

    Click here to register for free

    The next steps of the project foresee the opportunity, for those who attended the course, to submit a project or a business idea related to sustainable tourism models to be relaunched in the near future: contributions can be submitted by December 31, 2021, and the best proposals will receive a special prize!

    The third and last step concerns the construction of a new community of entrepreneurs, professionals and tourism operators: a community aware of the importance of sustainable development and ready to benefit from it both economically and in terms of image.

    So let’s start with the course “Sustainable tourism post Covid 19”: at no cost, to update and grow together!

    Meda Start-up meeting: the challenges ahead

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    Mediterranean Start-up & Entrepreneurship Meeting will connect already successful companies with new establish companies, which deliver innovative ideas and new approaches.
    The Mediterranean region is no exception, yet in recent years funding access has improved. Angel investment networks, venture capital funds and even several government-initiated funding programs have all come to the fore.

    As the region’s entrepreneurship ecosystem gradually frees up more capital for young and growing enterprises it needs to take a more critical look at its entrepreneurs’ and investors’ specific needs to enhance investment conditions.

    Mediterranean Start-up Meeting will gather entrepreneurs, investors, and support institutions from key emerging start-ups ecosystems across the Europe and the Mediterranean region.

    Seasoned entrepreneurs, investors, and experts will gather on the eastern shores of the Mediterranean to share experiences, insights, techniques, methods, and know-how, dishing out how-toss for newcomers, dos-and-don’ts for the up and coming, and inspiration for the rest.

    The startup and entrepreneurship culture is an encouraging development, but turning the trend into the norm could bring a series of challenges and policy questions for business, government and civil society to address.

    History has revealed a strong relationship between economic development and innovators and accelerators who can seize opportunities and take risks as well as provide a helpful boost in business education.

    While there are a growing number of funding opportunities and resources for entrepreneurs in Mediterranean region there are still significant constraints to obtaining capital including accessing larger funding sizes, diversifying funding sources, skills gaps and communicating with investors.

    This Forum adds to the larger conversation on the barriers and pathways to scale that entrepreneurs experience as they try to grow their companies in MEDA. It is a unique opportunity connecting startups with investors and companies successful in the Mediterranean region and globally.

    Mead Startups introduce a more critical assessment of funding conditions in the region’s ecosystem while also helping to highlight focus areas for improving these conditions.

    The forum will provide:

    • An opportunity for Mediterranean start-ups and entrepreneurs to display themselves to investors and the press.
    • Access to seasoned entrepreneurs, investors and experts from the eastern shores of the Mediterranean to share experiences, insights, techniques, methods, and know-how dishing out how-toss for newcomers, dos-and-don’ts for the up and coming as well as inspiration for the rest

    Medaweek Barcelona 2021: summits e forums

    Meda Hotel & Hospitality Forum: the way ahead

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    The Mediterranean Hotel & Hospitality Forum, scheduled on November 19 at 12:00 at Casa Llotja de Mar, as part of Medaweek Barcelona 2021, has an extensive programme offering the latest insight and market intelligence, highlight solutions and initiatives already available, as well as discussing innovations that will drive the sector forward. It is the must-attend event for those looking to develop green hotel policies, projects and technologies or looking to make their existing operations more sustainable.

    The Meda Hotel & Hospitality Forum has been running for over 4 years and is renowned for attracting the highest calibre of international hospitality representatives and companies. It connects business leaders from the international and the Mediterranean market with the aim of boosting cooperation, investment, infrastructure and hotel development across the Mediterranean.

    This event be held in a hybrid format to continue bringing together key team players in the sector and providing the space to make meaningful connections. It will also offer information about the industry latest trends and will be an occasion to meet potential projects online.

    The hotel industry has been severely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic since the first quarter of 2020, leading to the cancellation of reservations and events and the restrictions imposed on travel. Support is needed to keep the industry afloat, but the most important goal is to create a resilient and sustainable hotel industry that is capable of withstanding future major crises.

    The Mediterranean region has 20% of the hotel accommodation capacity worldwide. The 24 Mediterranean countries have 10,000 destinations, some 100,000 hotels and around a million restaurants in total. The vulnerabilities exposed by the pandemic, such as the oversupply of hotel capacity, bureaucracy, the lack of flexibility and innovation and the inadequate collaboration between all the actors involved, present an opportunity to reinvent the sector.

    The hotel industry of the future needs support. In addition to providing crisis relief for companies in the sector, a cooperative business environment has to be created for all stakeholders. It is urgent to promote a new and more efficient operating model by implementing the latest technologies, innovation and digitization, while maintaining safety and well-being standards for the local communities where they are based. Without a comprehensive plan that consolidates its leadership, recovery and long-term sustainability, this sector is in jeopardy.

    As a consequence, it is essential to develop a future tourism ecosystem in a careful and considerate way that provides the right products and experiences to meet the demand of future visitors. The path is clear: promote cooperation and coordination of a coherent, modern and efficient Mediterranean tourism market, a profitable sector that generates not only income but also jobs and benefits the entire population, and moreover a sector prepared for climate change and aligned with the UN Development Sustainable Goals.

    BLOCKCHANCE EUROPE 2021 goes ahead in hybrid format

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    BLOCKCHANCE Europe 2021, the leading conference in the blockchain and crypto sphere in Europe got the green light to take place in person under the newly established 2G health rules. The 2G-option allows people that are either vaccinated or have recovered to attend large events under less stringent conditions. Attendees will come together on 2-4 December 2021 in Hamburg, without having to adhere to strict distancing.

    “These are great news,” says Fabian Friedrich, Founder and CEO of BLOCKCHANCE. “As BLOCKCHANCE is probably the largest event in the blockchain ecosystem coming up this year, being able to meet face-to-face, join lively discussions and maximize the networking potential of our conference is priceless.”

    Virtual ticket holders can follow different live streams (via the Whova App) and video-chat with other attendees, speakers, and sponsors. The app offers many features to round off the virtual experience. Much of the blockchain community in Europe and beyond has been waiting to engage widely as growth of blockchain and other emerging technologies is skyrocketing.

    “BLOCKCHANCE is a gateway to the entire blockchain world. Although anyone can join virtually from anywhere, we expect two thirds of all attendees to come to Hamburg.”

    World-class speakers

    BLOCKCHANCE regularly attracts some of the most influential thought leaders. Among this year’s speakers are household names such as Michael Saylor, Co-Founder of Microstrategy, Joseph Lubin Co-Founder of Ethereum and Raoul Pal, Co-Founder of Real Vision – the Netflix of Finance.

    “Notwithstanding the pandemic we have been able to attract some of the most inspiring people, from sectors such as banking, digital payments, crypto-trading, artificial intelligence, software development and politics.”

    A blockchain-future for sustainable economies and societies

    The mission of BLOCKCHANCE is to educate society about the economic prospects and social impact of blockchain for a positive and sustainable future. BLOCKCHANCE Europe as an event connects businesses, civil society, and investors with developers of innovative blockchain solutions. The event creates networks, educates, and functions as a matchmaking platform for business leaders, developers, entrepreneurs, politicians, and investors from all over the world. 20% of the participants are CEOs or executives.

    The 3-day event offers presentations, panel discussions, workshops, complementary IT-courses, a blockchain cinema, a start-up award (up to EUR 100,000), parties, and an art gallery. Key topics are blockchain technology use cases, digital assets, sustainability, governance, traceability, token economy, digital banking, and AI.

    blockchance_maltabusiness

    MACE 2021: another successful aviation conference

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    MACE – The Malta Aviation Conference and Expo 2021, themed Rebooting the Industry, took off from the 26th till the 28th October with its third edition, welcoming to Malta some of the most inspirational experts in the aviation industry for three days of panel discussions, keynotes and networking.

    We are truly delighted that we are yet again able to host our conference physically after having to do it completely online in 2020. Following the hand dealt to the aviation industry by the now infamous Covid-19 pandemic, we managed to bring together the industry in order to discuss and collaborate on ways by which together we can take the industry back to pre-pandemic heights. We are proud to have yet again created a space for industry players, professionals, as well as policy makers to engage in discussions, partnerships and share best practices in a time of challenges that could turn into business opportunities,” said Stanley Bugeja, Jonathan Dalli and Joshua Zammit, MACE Founding Partners.

    With all Covid-19 precautions taken, the conference hosted over 35 local and international speakers including the Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Capital Projects, Hon. Dr. Ian Borg; the Director General for Civil Aviation, Transport Malta, Capt. Charles Pace; Former NASA Scientist, Dr Anita Sengupta; UK based travel vlogger and reviewer Noel Philips; and many more.

    Yet again, MACE, being Malta’s biggest aviation-themed conference, has truly proven to be of great value to the aviation community and it is thanks to our Main Partner, Transport Malta and other partners that believed in the conference and expo from its inception in 2019, that we have managed to achieve this milestone, which motivates us in hosting delegates again for the yearly MACE in 2022,” they concluded.

    Speaking during the conference, Hon. Minister Dr Ian Borg said, “Being Malta’s largest aviation conference, MACE is the perfect platform to target and attract keynote speakers and potential investments for further growth in this industry. As Maltese Government, through the Civil Aviation Directorate within Malta’s aviation regulator Transport Malta, we are proud to assist this prestigious event as main sponsors. Malta’s aviation register, 9H, is one of the fastest-growing ones in Europe, showing that the most influential aviation leaders are looking at Malta to continue expanding their services. Presently at around 600 aircrafts registered, we are committed to continue building on this growth and conferences like MACE are an excellent opportunity to foster healthy dialogue, collaboration, and the sharing of best practices to expand our horizons. Most importantly MACE will provide the right platform to deliberate on the way forward, especially after a crucial time brought about by the Covid pandemic. The Maltese Government is committed to offer a supportive shoulder in order to help aviation get back on its feet and continue achieving great results and continuous economic growth.

    In support of the industry’s social responsibility and commitment to a greener future, in 2021 the MACE organisers wanted to go that extra green mile to make the Conference and Expo completely carbon neutral. Together with our supporting partners Carbon TradeXchange (CTX), MACE has offset 100% of the expected carbon emissions that were generated through this conference.

    MedaWeek will open with a summit on Renewable Energy

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    This year, MedaWeek Barcelona will start with the 9th Mediterranean Green & Renewable Energy Summit, underscoring the summit’s slogan The time for “being renewable” has come.  After all, an increasing number of companies have put renewables front and centre of their corporate social responsibility programmes in the past five years and, what is more, an urgent global demand is that corporate cultures ingrain a sense of renewable responsibility in everyone.

    This summit will be the first major Mediterranean discussion on energy in a long time, giving the global community a chance to address progress on the way towards Sustainable Development Goal 7, which was set by the UN in 2015 to ensure access to sustainable energy for all. Therefore, the event will provide a complete outlook into the development of the Mediterranean renewable energy market and, in such way, it will be an ideal platform to bring together regional and global solutions and technology providers, who will present cutting-edge innovative solutions that ensure clean and green energy, and to create synergies between authorities and companies to enhance the development of renewable energy projects.

    The summit will be divided in four sessions:

    • The potential of the Mediterranean: tapping into the abundant solar and wind resources. This session will paint a map of the key stakeholders in solar and wind projects and will look at present and future opportunities for businesses and investors.
    • Towards a Mediterranean renewable solution. This session will tackle the global role of the Mediterranean in sustainability, its innovation needs and the potential the renewables revolution has for the development of all of society, especially for women and youth.
    • How the Mediterranean region can shape the post COVID-19 sustainability agenda. This session will address the role of the private sector in tackling climate change, dealing with unpredictability and effectively minimising the impact of climate shocks.
    • Innovation in renewable energy is more than tech. This session will look at the impact of the emerging fourth industrial revolution on the global energy transition and address in which ways innovation can contribute to a lasting, positive impact on people’s livelihoods.

    All in all, the Mediterranean Green & Renewable Energy Summit links with the essence of MedaWeek Barcelona, which is set to help the Mediterranean economic ecosystem move forward by creating a common innovative, sustainable and inclusive space for all the countries in the region.

    This year, MedaWeek Barcelona will take place from the 17th to 19th November in hybrid format.

    For more information and to discover all the thematic fora, check the event’s programme here.

    New Statesman: the return of the english Fintech Summit

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    New Statesman’s 4th annual edition of the Fintech Summit is back to take place on the 2-3 November 2021 at The Nobu Portman Square, London. Malta Business will be official media partner.

    Whilst we eagerly await a return to live events and networking, the health and well-being of all involved must remain our priority, so considering the ongoing developments and concerns around the pandemic, the conference will return in 2021 as a hybrid event.

    REGISTER HERE

    At this year’s event, you’ll have the opportunity to showcase your organisation and engage with influential decision-makers either in person or virtually. Attendees will also have the opportunity to engage with the speakers on the main stage and take part in live Q&A sessions, in the comfort of their homes or at The Nobu.

    Our hand-picked thought leaders and senior figures within the financial services industry will present key topics throughout the day examining regulations, technologies and trends that are shaping the world of fintech.

    The audience will include CIOs, CTOs, COOs, CDOs, Heads of innovation, digital, IT infrastructure, data analysts, customer experience executives, payments and mobile banking directors and digital transformation specialists from a range of financial institutions including retail, investment and commercial banks, as well as online banks and insurance companies.

    Our focus is to enable delegates and the financial services industry to find new ways of driving profitability and customer satisfaction through innovation. We’ll be exploring a range of topics, including:

    • Open Banking and PSD2
    • Artificial Intelligence
    • Customer Experience
    • Autonomous Finance
    • Biometric Technologies
    • Digital Transformation
    • Regtech and Compliance
    • Personal and Commercial Lendings
    • Blockchain
    • Mobile Banking
    • Fintech Landscape & Regulation

    This is a CPD certified event, allowing you to earn up to 12 CPD points. CPD is the holistic commitment of professionals towards enhancement of personal skills and proficiency throughout their careers.