Ms Dana Farrugia, CEO at Tech.mt highlights Tech.mt’s vision and proactive role in being part of the solution when maintaining the Maltese digital economy.
The Maltese economy remained stable during the turbulent times posed by the pandemic due to the country’s persistence in adopting resilient digital and financial strategies across both the public and private sectors. This is why Tech.mt’s main agenda has this year been focused on assisting the business community in the midst of an ever-changing digital transformation landscape.
Malta’s real GDP growth prediction for 2021 increased to 5.6 per cent in the European Commission’s Summer 2021 Economic Forecast from the previous 5.2 per cent. This was attributed to a stronger-than-expected start to the year, an increase in confidence indicators, a high vaccination rate, and an improvement in the public health condition. This is higher than the Euro Area’s average growth rate of 4.8 per cent anticipated for 2021. In 2022, a similarly robust prediction of 5.8 per cent is projected. Malta’s extraordinary performance in the digital economy results from the country’s readiness for new technologies.
Since Tech.mt’s inception in 2019, the Maltese government has invested approximately €5 million to establish Malta as an international technological centre of excellence. In this sense, for the last two years, Tech.mt’s strategy has been centred on boosting the country’s vibrant and booming technology industry. Moreover, our objective has been to establish Malta as a quality and creative epicentre with a forward-thinking ambition and an attractive and supporting infrastructure.
The European Innovation Scoreboard 2021 highlights that Malta registered the 2nd highest rate of performance increase (51.5%) among all member states between 2014 and 2021 in the area of Use of Information Technologies.
Performance in this area is measured on the criteria of enterprises providing ICT training and employed ICT specialists. Apart from improving the value of Malta’s ICT industry, this also establishes the country as an appealing employment prospect within the international technology ecosystem, encouraging potential investment.
We at Tech.mt have made it our priority to understand the current needs of technology firms and start-ups and map out the requirements that they may require to reach their full potential. Tech.mt has taken a proactive role in assisting businesses in applying for relevant funding incentives from local entities, as well as guiding them down a clear route to growth and internationalisation. Tech.mt has also ensured through lobbying that several fiscal grants are re-designed to cater for the local technology industry. Furthermore, Tech.mt has heavily invested in promoting Malta among foreign universities and partnering with local educational institutions in order to expand the market’s intake of professionals and meet business demands and future job market expectations.
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.
Guiding businesses in enhancing their portfolios and pitches to attract investment and export their products lies at the heart of what we do. Tech.mt’s well-received consultancy initiative, launched earlier this year, provided start-ups, students and members of the academia with pro bono quality consulting services from established industry players in various strategic key areas, including concept validation, go-to-market strategy, digital marketing, digital transformation, and internationalisation. Additionally, our team assisted businesses at every stage of their digital transformation journey, from setting up eCommerce platforms to providing insight into available funding opportunities for digital transformation. Moreover, assisting with the application process for funding schemes offered by local entities such as Malta Enterprise, with the aim to support start-up undertakings with a viable business concept, expand their business activities, and further develop their ideas before being introduced to the market. At Tech.mt, we acknowledge that funding a start-up or an SME through loans is a challenge for many. Therefore, we are working closely with the Malta Development Bank as they envisage the launch of several guarantee schemes for SME’s whereby soft loans and bank credit will be offered to enhance new investment in innovation. Furthermore, we have worked with other entities such as MCST to support businesses in tapping into piloting projects and bolster R&D initiatives.
Focusing on post-covid prospects, Tech.mt is currently rolling out several networking opportunities 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.
Malta has demonstrated a constant capacity for resilience and growth in the face of global difficulties. The technology business is promising as the future is undoubtedly digital. The digital economy’s future is bright as new technology continues to be deployed. Blockchain, the Internet of Things, and Virtual Reality are gaining traction, motivating employees to acquire new skills deemed critical for every business. Therefore, we strongly encourage businesses, start-ups and self-employed individuals to engage with Tech.mt. In turn, we promise superior client relationship management through personalised advisory services and more.
We acknowledge that large tech companies, although a vital backbone, have their own challenges to face however, Tech.mt can assure that it is present in various fora to influence policy and is constantly finding avenues internationally where to promote Malta’s Tech sector as a choice of excellence. Tech.mt would like to thank the local tech companies who have sustained the economy through the pandemic following increased demand and keep doing so as we speak.