In 2021, Tech.mt set out with the main mission to continue to listen and act on the industry’s needs. We pledged to remain pivotal in making sure technology and digital platforms are used in the best way possible engraining an economy which is based on digital resilience and digital innovation. Tech.mt remained committed to guide technology companies in the right direction through expert advice, solution driven services, a platform for participation in events and by facilitating connections for businesses to scale or internationalise.
In 2021, Tech.mt set out with the main mission to continue to listen and act on the industry’s needs.
We pledged to remain pivotal in making sure technology and digital platforms are used in the best way possible engraining an economy which is based on digital resilience and digital innovation. Tech.mt remained committed to guide technology companies in the right direction through expert advice, solution driven services, a platform for participation in events and by facilitating connections for businesses to scale or internationalise.
Since the establishment of Tech.mt in 2019, the Maltese Government has invested around €5 million to establish Malta as a technology centre of excellence on an international scale. In this regard, Tech.mt’s approach has been focused on promoting the country’s thriving and growing technology industry. Additionally, our goal has been to build Malta as a world-class and creative epicentre with forward-thinking aspirations and an appealing and supportive infrastructure.
At Tech.mt, we’ve taken the initiative to understand the present demands of technology enterprises and start-ups and map out the requirements they may require in achieving their full potential. Tech.mt has taken a proactive role in supporting enterprises in obtaining appropriate financing incentives from local authorities and directing them down a clear path to growth and internationalisation. Additionally, Tech.mt has lobbied to re-design various budgetary grants to benefit the local tech economy. Furthermore, Tech.mt has extensively invested in marketing Malta to international universities and collaborating with local educational institutions to increase the market’s intake of experts and meet business demands and future job market expectations.
“The Maltese Government has invested around €5 million to establish Malta as a technology centre of excellence. “
Dana Farrugia – CEO at Tech.mt
Tech.mt has maintained communication with its members and beyond. Indeed, the number of one-on-one encounters with its members more than doubled during the first three quarters of 2021, reaching out and assisting more than 200 businesses operating within the sector. This demonstrates Tech.mt’s main priority to stay in touch with the industry it was assigned to serve and to continue cultivating an atmosphere conducive to development and collaboration. As a result, a virtuous cycle of trust has developed among diverse stakeholders, ranging from government and interconnected agencies to the corporate community.
Strategic Consultation Initiative for Students and Start-ups
This initiative, which is based on Tech.mt’s mandate to assist start-ups and students, was launched in Q1 2021 with the goal of assisting start-ups and/or students who have an innovative concept but may lack the knowledge and experience necessary to progress to the next stage of their entrepreneurial journey.
This purpose is to provide pro bono, unbiased feedback from an external perspective, managerial advice, strategic planning, and marketing approaches to local technology start-ups.
Through Tech.mt’s consultation partners, eligible beneficiaries are offered a predetermined number of hours of free consultation in a variety of key areas, including concept validation, market assessment and go-to-market strategies, digital strategies, e-commerce and digital marketing, and internationalisation.
This program has already benefited a sizable number of recipients, who have submitted great reviews and feedback regarding the quality of consulting provided by Tech.mt’s partners. Tech.mt will continue to promote and develop this initiative in the foreseeable future.
Technology Business Directory
In 2021, Tech.mt embarked on an ambitious mission to map the local technology ecosystem by establishing a comprehensive online database of enterprises operating throughout the local tech sector’s various verticals.
By becoming a member of this directory, registrants receive a number of tangible benefits, including being the first to learn about new incentives launched by Tech.mt and being kept aware of opportunities to showcase their technology solutions both locally and internationally.
Additionally, as part of its objective to support the local technology sector, Tech.mt has committed to meeting with all directory registrants to listen to the needs and provide the required support as well as discuss potential collaboration opportunities.
At the time of writing, the directory contains information on approximately 300 businesses and their services.
Digitalisation Assistance to Micros and SMEs
At Tech.mt, we understand that any current organization, in order to be really successful in the digital era, must have a strong digital presence.
A good number of local businesses still lack a digital presence.
Although many entrepreneurs acknowledge this, a good number of local businesses still lack a digital presence. In 2021, Tech.mt launched an initiative to assist businesses with limited to no digital presence in digitalizing their operations.
Additionally, we assist businesses in navigating the available incentives for digital transformation and extend our support during the application process to maximize their chances of being awarded funding.
Our team assists organizations at every level of their digital transformation journey, from establishing eCommerce platforms to advising on available finance options for digital transformation. We are also well-equipped to assist with the application process for funding schemes offered by local entities such as Malta Enterprise, with the objective of assisting start-up businesses with a viable business concept, expanding their business activities, and further developing their ideas prior to market introduction.
At Tech.mt, we understand that financing a start-up or SME through loans can be difficult for many.
As such, we are collaborating closely with the Malta Development Bank on the launch of multiple guarantee programmes for SME’s, through which soft loans and bank credit will be made available to stimulate fresh investment in innovation. Additionally, we have collaborated with other organizations such as MCST to assist firms in gaining access to pilot projects and bolstering R&D programs.
Throughout 2021, Tech.mt was at the forefront of lobbying with local entities that offer funding incentives so that such schemes were in turn expanded to include businesses operating within the tech sphere.
10th Year Anniversary of the eBusiness Awards
This year’s eBusiness Awards received applications from 50 businesses in seven different categories. A group of industry experts examined all proposals and selected the best solutions which were announced in November 2021. The eBusiness Awards provide a platform for the local business community to recognize digital achievements. The purpose of this event is to raise awareness of industry best practices in the digital realm and to urge other firms to follow suit.
Additionally, both last year’s and this year’s winners will be nominated for the internationally renowned World Summit Awards. Our website, https://ebusinessawards.com.mt/ contains additional information on the awards, including this year’s winners.
Technology is ever-growing. In order to assist businesses in the best way possible and efficiently promote the technology sector, at Tech.mt we stay ahead of the curve by carrying out research in various technological areas including IoT, Blockchain and Cloud Services.
As a key stakeholder within the tech industry, the Ministry for Economy, Investment and Small Businesses and other stakeholders consulted and referred to Tech.mt throughout 2021, on several national and EU level issues. These referrals are to gather Tech.mt’s insight from a digital and technological perspective.
Subsequently, Tech.mt provided consultations on the Digital Services Act, the Digital Governance Act, feedback on the DESI 2021 Report, the Cluster 4 Work Programme of Horizon Europe 2021-2022, the Digital Compass and the proposed Artificial Intelligence Framework amongst others.
Analysis of the local eCommerce industry
In 2021, Tech.mt together with the Malta Communications Authority disseminated a survey to relevant industry stakeholders intended to analyse the needs, perceptions, attitudes, and state of play of the local eCommerce industry. Its results served as a basis for public consultation and aided in the formulation of the upcoming 2021-2026 eCommerce Strategy.
IoT Adoption amongst Maltese Businesses
The Internet of Things (IoT) has evolved to become one of the world’s most in-demand technologies. The industry has been maturing over the past few years, however, to date, there was no insight on the state of IoT adoption among Maltese businesses. Therefore, Tech.mt conducted a study amongst local businesses to analyse the state of IoT adoption in Malta, assess industry perceptions towards the adoption of IoT and identify the obstacles present.
More than half of local businesses currently adopt some form of IoT technology.
In November 2021, Tech.mt published the results of this landmark study, which suggests that more than half of local businesses currently adopt some form of IoT technology. The study also sheds light on the benefits and pitfalls of adopting IoT technologies and makes recommendations based on these findings.
A national promotional campaign, featuring best practices from industry, with the aim of furthering take-up and adoption of IoT technologies will complement the launch of the report.
Eight MoUs in the field of Computer Sciences between Tech.mt, University of Malta and 8 Italian Universities
In April 2021 Tech.mt together with the University of Malta and eight Italian universities formalised MoUs that aim to establish specific areas of collaboration namely by creating employment networks for graduates, collaboration by way of joint studies, research, training activities and educational exchanges of mutual interest.
The participating Italian universities, ranking among the top 20 Universities in Italy in the field of Computer Sciences are Universita’ degli Studi di Camerino, Universita’ degli Studi di Catania, Universita’ degli Studi di Ferrara, Universita’ degli Studi di Genova. Universita’ degli Studi di Milano, Universita’ degli Studi di Perugia, Universita’ del Piemonte Orientale and Universita’ degli Studi di Verona.
Tech.mt has subsequently organised and chaired the first round of meetings between the Italian universities and the University of Malta, which identified the initial areas of collaboration that all three parties wish to address.
In 2022, Tech.mt will keep overseeing the implementation of the MoUs by remaining the main point of contact to ensure that these agreements will leave a lasting and tangible impact on all institutions involved.
Technology Assurance Sandbox
In 2021, Tech.mt collaborated with MDIA, in the promotion of the newly launched Technology Assurance Sandbox (TAS). This sandbox was specifically designed with start-ups and small businesses in mind, as it creates a safe environment for individuals and companies who are developing solutions of various innovative technologies, including Blockchain and AI. Tech awareness is also important; hence, this high-level collaboration will enable and equip the correct ambitions of such solutions in line with the established recognised standards.
Pre-post training for Maltese Diplomats
In 2021, Tech.mt collaborated with the Ministry for Foreign and European Affairs, to enhance the preparation of Maltese diplomats before their posting at Maltese representations across the globe. Representatives from Tech.mt prepared and delivered two, two-hour training sessions to help diplomats in familiarising themselves with Tech.mt’s remits, scope and mandate. Over 30 diplomats engaged in the training sessions which will undoubtably help in identifying opportunities that can be attractive to Tech.mt.
Collaboration with ArtzID
To achieve its vision of supporting digitalisation across different sectors, in the second quarter of 2021, Tech.mt teamed up with ArtzID to organise an event which revolved around a plethora of workshops, keynotes, mentoring sessions, and discussions around carefully curated topics such as digital marketing, selling art online, market trends, and how the arts community can benefit from new technologies such as AI and blockchain.
During this event, a pitching contest took place, with the winner being awarded €2,000 in prize money and access to one-to-one mentorship sessions with industry experts.
MCAST EIT Climate Accelerator
This year, Tech.mt formed part of a renowned panel of judges to adjudicate and choose several start-ups that would benefit from €20K in funding, tailored training and expert coaching to grow their business. This is part of the MED ClimAccelerator, run locally by MCAST. It is a programme aimed at boosting innovation in relation to climate change solutions by supporting and funding local start-ups. Throughout this year, Tech.mt has further supported these start-ups by providing mentorships, consultation and assistance in digitalisation and other areas within the foundation’s remit.
Nomad Residency Visa
Promoting Malta as a Tech hub of choice, means that Digital Nomads can find a home on the island to further their opportunities. In line with our mission to continue attracting tech business and talent to our shores, we collaborated with the Residency Malta Agency to launch a major campaign focused on the benefits of obtaining a Nomad Residence Permit.
Collaboration with Malta’s Overseas Representations
In November 2021, Tech.mt identified and reached out to a total of 14 Maltese Embassies and High Commissions across the globe ranging from the Americas, to Africa, Europe, Asia and Oceania. In the coming weeks, a series of meetings will be held with said Representations to introduce Tech.mt and explore avenues of possible collaboration with stakeholders in the identified regions.
Collaboration with Startup Blink
StartupBlink is an online platform renowned for mapping the start-up ecosystems in different regions across the world. StartupBlink’s mandate is in line with Tech.mt’s ambition to uncover the momentum of start-ups and to support their growth. Therefore, in the year 2021, Tech.mt became StartupBlink’s ecosystem partner to Malta, which saw the entity assist in mapping and managing the Maltese local start-up ecosystem on the StartupBlink platform. This partnership is expected to enhance the exposure of Maltese start-ups on a global level, opening the doors to internationalisation and business opportunities overseas.
Collaboration with UoM Racing
This year, Tech.mt supported UoM Racing, a student organisation within the University of Malta composed of students from different faculties, who use their expertise to design, build and race a formula style racing car in an international event – Formula Student. This competition brings together students from different universities across the globe, to deduce their racing capabilities, overall aesthetic, build quality and entrepreneurial acumen. Through this collaboration, Tech.mt continues to be committed in supporting the STEM field by helping students in achieving their entrepreneurial objectives.
Agreement with eSkills Foundation
In October 2021, Tech.mt formalised an agreement with the eSkills Foundation to support the provision of fully subsidised AWS courses for people residing in Malta. In just a few years, cloud computing has evolved from an emerging technology to one of the world’s most in demand tech verticals. Since Malta is also experiencing steady growth in cloud adoption, there will ultimately be an increase in demand for cloud certification from industry, therefore through this agreement, Tech.mt will be hitting one of its core targets, that is to bridge the skills gap within the tech industry.
Collaboration with Advantage Austria
On the 28th October 2021, Tech.mt organised an online matchmaking event in collaboration with Advantage Austria. During this event Tech.mt CEO, Ms. Dana Farrugia discussed the benefits of doing business in Malta to an audience of renowned Austrian companies operating within the technology sphere and beyond. A full day of matchmaking sessions ensued, which saw 32 local companies benefitting from networking opportunities with Austrian counterparts which enabled Maltese businesses to explore possible avenues for collaboration and business opportunities.
Tech.mt and Advantage Austria will keep working together to ensure that the ties within the technology sphere between the two countries are strengthened in the years to come.
Discussions on a Potential Agreement with the Abu Dhabi Investment Office (ADIO)
ADIO and Tech.mt are finalising discussions to establish an agreement with the view to explore potential investment and collaboration opportunities, jointly creating ways to promote, and approach and attract companies to Abu Dhabi and Malta. Furthermore, through this agreement, ADIO and Tech.mt will host and promote joint events and support visits of government, industry and academia representatives from and to Abu Dhabi and Malta. Finally, this agreement will facilitate introductions of potential investee companies and individuals from their territories wishing to expand to Abu Dhabi or Malta.
In November 2021, Tech.mt visited the ADIO offices in Abu Dhabi, to discuss the agreement in further detail with the view of signing in the coming weeks.
Promoting Malta on an International Level
Participation in events and summits at an international level is one of Tech.mt’s main priorities, in order to maximize the benefits of showcasing Malta as an attractive technological hub and to offer an opportunity for the Maltese local business community to participate and network with potential investors, partners and clients.
Tech.mt participated in multiple international events during 2021. Such included Expo 2020 in Dubai, the ADGM Fintech Abu Dhabi Festival, UK Fintech Week, GITEX Tech Summit in the UAE, and the European Health-Tech Innovation Week. Moreover, Tech.mt organized webinars on an international level in collaboration with the Malta Business Agency and various matchmaking events in collaboration with Trade Malta. Through such events, Tech.mt has developed relationships with national and international partners including investment agencies, innovation hubs, universities and entrepreneurial centers, angel investors, and start-up networks.
The inflow of interest from international partners has surged significantly in the aftermath of international events, demonstrating Malta’s international presence. Additionally, these events allowed the Maltese local business community to engage and network with prospective investors, partners, and clients.
Networking Events for the local Tech Sector
During the second half of 2021, Tech.mt hosted and participated in a number of networking events with the aim to continue creating awareness of all the support and assistance available whilst ensuring that the needs of industry players are met. This is all done with the hopes to continue pushing the use of technology and cultivating innovation mindsets with the ultimate aim to support business organisations in gaining a competitive edge. The networking opportunities go beyond our shores as we continuously strive to facilitate connections for local businesses and establish strong rapport with international industry players and businesses at the same time as positioning Malta as a hub for quality and creativity in the Tech and Innovation industry. In this regard, a team from Tech.mt has recently led a delegation of businesses to the United Arab Emirates as we continue sustaining our mission to offer exposure opportunities to the business community both within the local ecosystem and also on an international front.
Organisation and Participation in Local Events
Earlier this year a collaboration between Tech.mt and MCST lead to a webinar on Research and Innovation. Moreover, we participated in the Starting a Business in the EU and Malta’s Digital Ecosystem webinar organized by Malta Business; the FinTalks podcast series by Finance Malta; a webinar organised by MITLA on the topic of GDPR considerations and consent management in relation to tech and businesses; a pitching event for Distinct solutions in Manufacturing and Retail organised by The Malta Chamber in collaboration with Tech.mt; and in the Digital Skills for a Conscious and Active Use of Digital Technologies discussion. We were also invited to participate in a panel discussion themed ‘Digital Rights: A preliminary study on citizens’ awareness on the use of internet and social media’ organised by the office of MEP Alex Agius Saliba; and to discuss learning and career pathways with students at St. Margaret College.
Later on in the year, Tech.mt co-hosted ‘Building Virtual Business’ with MDIA as part of the programme of events for this year’s SME Week. Tech.mt also actively participated in the S+D Workshop Towards Fair Digital Transition, the Malta Start-up Festival, the AIBC Summit, and the Climate Action Awards as well as the SMEs and Green Growth conference organised by the Malta Employers Association, the Women Mean Business conference and in the SMEs meet MEPs – Exchange on the DSA debate.
Tech.mt further sponsored a number of events including: The JCI National Convention 2021; the Chamber of Engineers Annual Conference and the Good Chat Podcast Series.
In addition, Tech.mt recently visited the newly established World Pro Racing Facility in Ħal-Farruġ, dedicated to supporting innovation and technology on a national and international scale.
Supporting Students and Academia
At Tech.mt, we are committed in supporting Malta’s youth’s entrepreneurial vision, and this year we have collaborated with JAYE by sponsoring the Digital Signature Award. The Tech.mt Digital Innovation Signature Award was created to celebrate the achievements of young entrepreneurs who were best able to put their digital skills into practice to conceive an innovative business concept. The award perfectly fits Tech.mt’s aim to help young students in harnessing their entrepreneurial abilities relating to technology by giving them a platform where they can implement their ideas and be recognized for their achievements.
This year’s edition saw many exciting and innovative ideas put forward by young entrepreneurs. Tech.mt’s judging panel selected SilentSave as the winners of the award. SilentSave are proposing a wearable device that can be used in emergency situations to contact emergency services while simultaneously silently recording an encounter. It has multiple real-life applications which could have huge market potential. Tech.mt is committed to further support SilentSave’s ambitions in aiding the vibrant start-up to launch the product onto the market. Discussions are currently underway to continue expanding the collaboration between Tech.mt and JAYE in 2022.
Tech.mt also participated in MCAST Freshers’ week 2021 and the ICTSA Industry Expo 2021 and participated in the yearly publication by the ICT Faculty at the University of Malta, as part of our mission to generate awareness on the importance of STEM education for innovation and discuss how Tech.mt can help students and start-ups in pushing their ideas further.
An Entrepreneurship Guidance Document was this year launched by Tech.mt with the support of MCAST to assist students or aspiring entrepreneurs in realising their business ideas while being more creative and innovative. The detailed manual takes the user from the idea phase to the final stages of setting up the business or launching the product/service on the market.
Raising STEM Awareness
MCAST Entrepreneurship Module Student Pitches
In May 2021, as part of an entrepreneurship assignment, students from MCAST delivered their sales pitch to representatives from Tech.mt. As Board Members specialising in technological areas representatives from Tech.mt were responsible for assessing and supporting students wishing to take their project idea to a higher level.
The event saw over 1,000 Degree students presenting their sales pitch as the last component of their assessment. This offered an opportunity for students to enhance their transversal skills, in particular: teamwork, leadership, innovation, creativity and entrepreneurial skills.
Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Education Practices and Needs at Primary Level
This is a budget measure that Tech.mt is working on implementing for the years 2021 and 2022. Tech.mt is currently in the process of organising a series of focus groups in the field of computational thinking and computer science unplugged resources which could be directly useful for educators in the primary sector. Over the last few months Tech.mt has held consultation sessions with stakeholders from state, church and independent schools to gather their insight, followed by the creation and dissemination of a survey amongst educators. After gathering and analysing the data, this was presented to all stakeholders involved.
Minimising the Digital Divide and Promoting Digital Inclusion
At Tech.mt we believe that in order for the tech sector to be more resilient, efforts must be in place to minimize the digital gap, which is mostly gender related. Furthermore, promotion of digital inclusion is also at the heart of what we do at Tech.mt.
Work is on-going and in the pipeline with Tech.mt’s participation and involvement within various projects. These projects not only aim to narrow the digital divide and promote digital inclusion, but they also target the community in-general to be equipped with the necessary tech skills, as the future is undoubtedly digital.
Women of different ages are currently undergoing training as part of the study programme devised under the umbrella of the Women4IT project in order to equip participants with the digital skills required in this day and age and to eventually take successful steps into digital-related employment. The ultimate aim of this project is to increase the number of girls and young women participating in the digital agenda.
By the end of December 2021, students who successfully complete all necessary training modules will be awarded an MQF level 3 certification.
This initiative addresses what has become known as “online ageing” and aims at facilitating a pathway for up-skilling individuals between the ages of 55 and 74 in their digital competencies. A total of 5 ambassadors received training in various digital areas required in today’s society and will subsequently be disseminating the training programme to other elderly in the community.
In November, all project partners met in Geneva for the fourth and final transnational partners meeting. The multiplier event provided partners with the opportunity to attend the TEDx conference. This brought the project to a close on November 30, 2021.
Yet another initiative to continue to address the digital gap, the Get Smarter project is aimed at helping mobile users maximise the use of their smartphones. Online videos and training manuals, in both Maltese and English, are available online for the general public, targeting mostly the 55+ age groups.
There are currently 380 free Wi-Fi hotspots around Malta and Gozo and, in collaboration with its various partners, Tech.mt is offering at least 4 Wi-Fi connections in every town or city. This is to ensure that all citizens remain connected and integrated within the digital society.
An ongoing task at Tech.mt is conducting research on funding opportunities for projects that can be tapped into in line with Tech.mt’s mandate. Various project ideas have been explored for Tech.mt – led projects and we are also looking at embarking on partnerships in projects led by other entities.
Two budget measures proposed by Tech.mt have been approved at Governmental level, to be implemented in 2022. These proposed measures are a result of gaps within the technology industry that the entity wishes to address.
One of the approved measures is related to the formulation of a feasibility study amongst merchant acquirers, B2C retailers, software providers, and governmental stakeholders, to analyse the viability of the digitalisation processes related to online payments and digital receipts.
The second approved measure addresses the academia-industry gap which persist within the technology industry. Tech.mt put forward a proposal to administer funds to assist Maltese higher educational institutions to prepare students for industry-recognised certifications with renowned international players within the industry such as AWS, Microsoft and Google.
In November 2021, Tech.mt identified a potential international calendar of events for the forthcoming year to continue with its mission of promoting Malta and its local tech ecosystem overseas.
Over the next few weeks, the team at Tech.mt will be meeting with the organisers to discuss its potential involvement in said events.