Es­tab­lish­ing Malta as the Sin­ga­pore of Europe

(An in­ter­view with David Bul­lock)

The Malta Business Weekly - - LEADER / NEWS -

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

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