Tech.mt was given a mandate for 2020, to promote and highlight the exceptional technology sector in Malta. Time was heavily invested in scouting talent, putting forward success stories, establishing new working relationships with the tech sector and investing within the circular economy. The tech sector made it through the pandemic due to various use of current or emerging technologies, but also through being adaptable and agile.
Despite the challenges presented by COVID-19, Tech.mt continued to campion Maltese talent by participating in local and international fora, encouraging upskilling and academic research in the field and providing guidance to firms seeking to expand beyond Malta’s shores. Covid-19 has put us all in a difficult position, and it has strained many businesses in terms of consumer and investor demand, but it has also encouraged change, and Malta can boast of a resilient infrastructure and solid management styles within the tech sector and beyond. Our promotional efforts have lately been focused on guiding businesses to transition from an offline business to fully online and maximise the advantages of having an online presence.
The investment injection by Tech.mt helped create awareness of the sector, monitor the sector, highlight the success of the tech sector and also in the sphere of innovation, assist in digitalization and in return listen to the feedback of the tech sector.
When comparing the third quarter of 2019 with that of 2020, one should also notice a rise in the service turnover index with regards to services in Information and Communication by 14.4%.
Malta’s tech sector displayed strong resilience during 2020 both in infrastructure and in gross value-added (GVA) terms. When comparing the GVA for ICT in 2019 with 2020, there was a rise of 6.5% during the third quarter of 2020. It is one of the industries locally that still experienced growth during this turbulent year, given that investment in innovation and R&D did not halt during the pandemic. When comparing the third quarter of 2019 with that of 2020, one should also notice a rise in the service turnover index with regards to services in Information and Communication by 14.4%.
The Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI) Malta Study of 2020 recognized Tech.mt as a “strategic establishment for the tech sector in Malta”. This highly regarded EU study recognizes the entity’s remit within the context of the island’s National Digital Strategy and underscored the collaborative perspective being adopted by the entity. There was a great participation interest from the technology ecosystem and Tech.mt ensured a promotional space to the local and uprising and emerging technologies.
The official Tech.mt magazine, Tech.Mag, was launched this year and two editions were published, to date. This bi-annual publication fuses thoughtful journalism into the rapidly evolving world of tech innovation. Features include exclusive interviews with local tech leaders discussing the following themes: banking, AI, blockchain technology, education, tax infrastructure, COVID-19, startups, apps and gadgets.
A major objective for Tech.mt remains that of taking Malta to international destinations, thus creating an environment which encourages mobility and innovation. While many conferences and large gatherings were cancelled due to COVID-19, nurturing local growth and attracting FDI remained top of the list for Tech.mt through regular participation in online seminars, summits and webinars.
During 2020, Tech.mt established the need to create real-life case studies of tech companies growing in Malta. The aim of these success stories is to show the resilience of the technology sector and to promote the assistance that Tech.mt can offer solution owners to get their work off the ground and into the local market. A number of companies and their respective technologies were provided with a platform to promote and showcase their product/service, and this is planned to continue in the coming year.
Participation in International fora related to different sectors in artificial intelligence, start-ups, digitalisation, intellectual property, venture capital, cloud computing and mobility in a digital world. Tech.mt participated in the Dublin Tech Summit, Africa Tech Week and the Web Summit. The Africa Tech Week was an opportunity for the local sector to explore exporting opportunities and approach foreign partners to internationalize or expand their business outside our shores. The Web Summit, which is considered to be the largest technology event, served as a platform to expose the skills and talents of local entrepreneurs and businesses in the field of technology. Events took place solely virtually and Tech.mt gave the opportunity to local business and entrepreneurs to participate by giving out free tickets during the Africa Tech Week and the Web Summit.
Tech.mt acts as a go-to entity for companies and being the promotional arm for the sector
An ongoing task at Tech.mt is the implementation of campaigns across various channels and targeting a wide-range of audiences, from encouraging students to take up STEM subjects, to women’s empowerment to actively participate in the tech sector and finally, to local and international businesses operating within the sector. Tech.mt acts as a go-to entity for companies and being the promotional arm for the sector we strive to ensure a wide reach across the market. Tech.mt’s campaigns are driven through the careful listening to what the sector wants and therefore, point technology companies in the right direction.
Tech.mt worked with various local influencers on a campaign to raise awareness about online safety, as part of the BeSmartOnline! Project. The campaign featured strong messages about various themes such as: cyberbullying; inappropriate material; sexual harassment; fake reality; and the bright side of social media. This campaign also gave insight to the real life of famous Maltese Influencers behind their Insta-glam images/videos on social media. The campaign addressed the positive use of the internet and social media. The campaign was covered over various media such as television and social media. Moreover, a campaign with the name of Our Kids Online was supported on a local radio station covering topics such as chatting at different ages, socializing virtually, child privacy, using smart phone devices, monitoring your kids, consent and child sexual abuse material.
This year, a strategic partnership initiative was launched with the Industry to continue building on the strong relationship that exists with the private sector. The main purpose of this partnership is to assist the local start-up ecosystem by aiding start-ups and small businesses which have an innovative concept but don’t have the knowledge or the experience to move their concept forward. This initiative will ultimately provide unbiased feedback from an external perspective, management advice, strategic planning and marketing tactics.
Tech.mt has continued to establish collaborative partnership contacts with a number of foreign Universities. The primary objective of these collaborative partnerships is to create a means for cooperative efforts to strengthen the academic interchange between Malta and Italy, and to promote the technological and research capabilities between all parties involved. These collaborations encourage a closer working relationship between technical institutions, government, regulatory authorities, businesses, research, education and other organizations in the technology sector.
The eBusiness Awards were hosted by Tech.mt this year, being the first time since the inception of these awards. Over 80 nominations were received for this year’s edition encompassing 10 awards, which were evaluated by an independent adjudicating committee. Due to the ongoing COVID19 global pandemic these awards were held through an online capacity and thus, further complementing the significant drive for businesses to go digital and encourage the widespread development of online platforms and tools. This year’s edition was a reflection of the strength of the technology and innovation sector in Malta and its direct impact on the Maltese digital economy. Such awards embody the spirit of technological innovation that will spearhead Malta’s economic future.
The Tech.mt website is constantly updated with all the relevant information related to the technology sector. The next phase of this website is the creation of a catalogue of products/services offered by local tech companies. This catalogue shall be marketed by Tech.mt during high-level fairs and conferences overseas.
Tech.mt established a relationship with the Institute of Journalist in Malta and participated in the Awards night hybrid event by presenting one of the awards on the Award Night. The National Study of the Digital Divide in the Maltese Islands, whereby a proposal has been submitted at European level which has also been endorsed by the Ministry for Finance. The Establishment of diplomatic contacts in strategic regions such as the UAE, Africa, Indonesia, South Korea, China, India, Vietnam and Japan. A number of joint collaborations and sharing of knowledge with other local stakeholders were established such as with Malta Enterprise, Malta Development Bank, MIMCOL, MCST, NSO, Chamber of SMEs, MEA and Business Enhance. Additionally, through collaboration with local academic institutions such as the University of Malta and MCAST in promoting a career in technology and entrepreneurship.
Due to the pandemic a number of projects had to be extended but work continued and also diversified according to the current situation that we were living in. Our ongoing projects include: Women4IT, BeSmart Online, ICT 4 the elderly, Get Smarter, Dizzjunarju bil-Malti DIGigital INVasions, Excelerate and Wi-fi points around the Maltese Islands.
A total of 75 youth, between the ages of 13 and 17, were given the opportunity to enrol for a free, online Design Taster class delivered by ICE Malta. The curriculum designed exclusively for BeSmartOnline! empowered young talent to be creative, learn in-demand industry tools such as Adobe Illustrator to elevate the level of their work or school projects and most importantly, be aware of the importance of always keeping themselves safe when showing their work or communicating online.
A call for Tenders for the Provision of Digital and IT Training Services as part of the Women4it Project was launched this year.
The Women4IT training programme will target young women aged 18-29 years who are not in employment, education or training and aims to train 100 women across Malta in digital-oriented jobs. The aim of this project is to develop helpful, concrete actions and approaches to upskill young women with a learning to learn attitude, a sense of initiative and provide them with the social skills necessary to find a job.
ICT 4 the Elderly is a strategic partnership project funded by the Erasmus+ program of the European Union. This initiative addresses what has become known as “online ageing”, by offering the public a learning opportunity on how the Internet can play an important role in improving the quality of life through online social interaction.
The Get Smarter project is aimed at helping mobile users maximise the use of their smartphones. The project consists of an informative training programme, which takes the users through some very useful tools that are available on a smartphone and offers interesting tips for effective usage.
The concept of the DIGigital INVasions for the Promotion of Cultural Heritage project revolves around promoting the exchange of good practices for the involvement of citizens in the dissemination, enhancement and care of cultural heritage, through an innovative methodology based on the use of new communication technologies. The methodology improves the digital and communication skills of cultural operators, helping them become promoters to and engage citizens in the valorisation of cultural heritage. It also works to improve the digital skills of citizens involved (from the youngest to the elderly) by using new technologies to promote and give more value a cultural point of interest.
The Wi-Fi points enable users to connect to the Internet at any time of the day. All the Internet points are filtered against inappropriate and unlawful content so as to offer a safer Internet environment particularly for minors. There are currently more than 400 free wi-fi spots around Malta and Gozo and, in collaboration with its various partners, is offering at least 4 Wi-Fi connections in every town or city.
The scope of having an online Maltese Dictionary is to keep the Maltese language present and alive within the digital sphere. The Maltese Dictionary platform allows the user to search for a word in both English and Maltese. If the word searched yields no answer, the page allows the user to suggest its inclusion. Therefore, we are continuously updating and expanding the facilities offered on the portal www.maltesedictionary.org.mt.
Another project entitled Excelerate, aims to encourage businesses to go digital and invest in cloud technologies. This digitalisation will give businesses a great opportunity to improve their efficiency, increase their margins and generally provide a better customer experience in today’s competitive market.
Malta joins other countries such as Sweden, United Kingdom, Japan, Finland, Chile, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, and Rwanda in a global effort towards AI policies and systems that support children’s development.
Earlier this year, UNICEF invited Governments and interested companies to pilot the Policy Guidance on AI for Children and share their findings about how it is used, what works and what doesn’t. These real experiences from all participating partners are aimed at improving future versions of the guidance and inspire others to implement more child-centred AI policies. Tech.mt, together with the Office of the Commissioner for Children in Malta, is proud to announce that it has been selected to partner with UNICEF in order to bring forward a child-centred approach into Malta’s digital policies and strategies. Tech.mt’s proposal was chosen out of all the submitted applications. Through such a partnership, Malta joins other countries such as Sweden, United Kingdom, Japan, Finland, Chile, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, and Rwanda in a global effort towards AI policies and systems that support children’s development.
Tech.mt was the national contact point for the Better Internet for Kids (BIK) Policy Map project for 2020 in terms of data collection and submission. The BIK policy map is a key tool to allow the proper assessment of the implementation of child online safety policies at national level and across Europe, and the planning of the way forward.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Maltese Safer Internet Centre worked on a number of initiatives including a series of infographics which were shared on social media and teleskola.mt, safety tips for children, parents and educators and also an aminated video which had an organic reach of around 17,000.
As part of the Be smart online project, during the Safer Internet Day held on the 15th February, Tech.mt organised a public activity to promote better use of the internet and disseminate educational resources to both teachers and parents.
In 2021, Tech.mt will 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 remains 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.
Tech.mt looks forward to working closely with the tech sector to ensure further growth and success in the coming year.