Establishing Malta as the Singapore of Europe
(An interview with David Bullock)
You have many years of experience in Malta. What do you think the Commonwealth Business Forum can do for Malta locally and internationally?
“Good luck in Malta, David” said one of the American directors. “I haven’t been to the Caribbean myself”.
Malta is still not on everybody’s map. It should be. The Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting can help to put it there. Being asked to host CHOGM again in November is not only an honour but a great opportunity to enhance Malta’s international standing.
Local Maltese business people who attend the CHOGM Business Forum have the opportunity to walk on the world stage with confidence.
In your opinion, how do local and international businesses stand to benefit from participating in the CBF? What does Malta have to offer?
Visiting international businesses will see the potential of Malta as a regional hub, with all the long term strategic advantages that it can bring. I am convinced that Malta has the potential to be the Singapore of Europe.
Back in the 1970s I ran a large international business in South East Asia and witnessed the rising influence of Singapore under Prime Minister Lee Kwan Yew to become the natural place for international companies to establish their regional head office and from which to develop their business.
Malta has similar advantages, e.g. strategic location, good communication facilities, sound financial institutions, English speaking, strong work ethic, excellent health and education facilities to keep an expatriate family happy, a good climate, excellent sailing and diving –just like Singapore.
From what I have seen the Maltese Government, the Commonwealth Secretariat and the Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council have been working hard to ensure a strong line-up of high profile international speakers and delegates for CHOGM and the Business Forum. Now it is over to the Maltese people.
Firstly, Maltese business people with international aspirations should go online and register immediately. It can be extremely expensive and time consuming to travel overseas and contact the right people. In November, a large group of important international business people will be coming here looking for opportunities. As gift horses go, these are thoroughbreds! Can you afford not to be there?
Secondly, almost every Maltese has friends and family working overseas, making up a large Maltese diaspora. Email or call them this week and alert them to the opportunity to visit their motherland at the time of the CBF. Do not risk them saying in December, “Why didn’t you tell me!”
Tell us a bit about Business Networks International
BNI is the world’s largest and most successful business referral organisation. Its structured programme of weekly business meetings helps the members to develop their presentational skills and to gain business referrals once they are known, trusted and follow the philosophy of “Givers Gain”. We are 30 years old and already in 58 countries.
I brought it to Malta four years ago, on the advice of your then High Commissioner in London. Today we have six chapters which meet in Floriana, Sliema, St. Julian’s, Attard and Qormi. The quality of our members is, I must say, extremely high.
As the director of BNI Malta, how will your members impact the CBF and how will they benefit from it?
Most of our members have a keen international outlook and many of them are now in the habit of visiting BNI chapters in other countries when travelling overseas. They look forward to benefitting from the CBF being here in Malta.
What could the CBF do to contribute to Malta in the long run?
Malta is a small island with few natural resources. One of its most overlooked assets is the Maltese diaspora many of whom are active and successful in business. I see CHOGM as far more than an event which ends in November, but as the start of a new era with a motivated diaspora working hand-inhand with local businesses towards establishing Malta as the Singapore of Europe!
As the dust settles, people should be encouraged to think outside of the box on how to maximize the benefit of Malta’s dual membership of the EU and the Common- David Bullock David Bullock has been a professional business manager and public speaker for over forty years.
His industrial career included working at a senior level with BP International and as a director with Unilever companies, including head of the Lever business in Indonesia.
He has spoken to both corporate and international groups across the globe. Until 2009, he owned and operated the South West Midlands region in the UK.
In 2010 David started the process to establish BNI in Malta, which he believes has the potential to become the Singapore of Europe.
He believes in the structured, positive and professional approach of BNI, with its philosophy of Givers Gain.
This, combined with the deeply embedded Maltese culture of business by referral, has great value for local and expat business people alike.
Please contact MaltaBNI to see how you can participate to build your business, by implementing the highly effective BNI referral marketing strategy and sustain your organization's growth.’
Malta is still not on everybody’s map. It should be. The Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting can help to put it there. Being asked to host CHOGM again in November is not only an honour but a great opportunity to enhance Malta’s international standing