Start-up strong, tools for suc­cess

The Malta Business Weekly - - FRONT PAGE -

The Malta Cham­ber of Com­merce, En­ter­prise and In­dus­try to­gether with Bank of Val­letta held Start-up strong, tools for suc­cess, as part of SME Week Malta 2017. The wellat­tended event was aimed at en­cour­ag­ing young peo­ple to take the start-up route and be­come en­trepreneurs.

Dur­ing the event the Malta Cham­ber to­gether with Bank of Val­letta launched the Malta Cham­ber-BOV SME tool­kit: http://www.mal­tacham­ber.org. mt/en/sme-tool­kit.The SME tool­kit is tar­geted to­wards the younger gen­er­a­tion with po­ten­tial start-up am­bi­tions and will guide them through the cru­cial de­ci­sion-mak­ing phases of set­ting up a com­pany, such as the Busi­ness Plan, Ac­quir­ing Fi­nance, Le­gal, Green Cre­den­tials and Mar­ket­ing.

Speak­ing to an au­di­ence of young as­pir­ing en­trepreneurs, New York Best founder and CEO Tommy Di­a­cono ex­plained how set­ting up a busi­ness from the ground up was chal­leng­ing but greatly sat­is­fy­ing in the long run. He told the story of how his com­pany went from hum­ble be­gin­nings to es­tab­lish­ing it­self in the ca­ter­ing sec­tor within a few short years. Di­a­cono said that his ded­i­ca­tion and a vi­sion to do things dif­fer­ently was the se­cret to his brand’s suc­cess.

Think founder and CEO Bjorn Az­zopardi also ad­dressed the event and spoke about his ex­pe­ri­ence in set­ting up his busi­ness and the chal­lenges he met along the way. He ex­plained how his com­pany started de­sign­ing and de­vel­op­ing web­sites in 2003 but soon ex­panded to in­clude a full port­fo­lio of we­bre­lated ser­vices. Az­zopardi said that with de­ter­mi­na­tion and ded­i­ca­tion, to­gether with his team, he man­aged to carve a niche into the lo­cal dig­i­tal mar­ket.

Wel­com­ing the young au­di­ence, Malta Cham­ber pres­i­dent Frank V. Far­ru­gia said that whether in the early stages of a start-up or at any other stage of set­ting up a busi­ness, there would al­ways be times that make the en­trepreneur ques­tion whether the ef­fort and sac­ri­fice is worth it.

“De­spite the seem­ingly im­pos­si­ble chal­lenges, it will be worth the ef­fort once the busi­ness has found its feet. Keep your head up and per­sist. Dream big, work hard, make your­self seen and heard. Be sure to ex­ploit all the help and guid­ance you can get from the many or­gan­i­sa­tions and on­go­ing ini­tia­tives aimed at sup­port­ing start-ups,” Far­ru­gia said.

Speak­ing dur­ing his in­tro­duc­tion, Al­bert Frendo, chief Credit Busi­ness Devel­op­ment of­fi­cer at Bank of Val­letta said: "It gives us great sat­is­fac­tion to be here to­day with our col­leagues from the Cham­ber of Com­merce to launch the SME tool­kit. This is an im­por­tant piece in the mosaic of sup­port given to start-ups and SMEs, who are key con­trib­u­tors to the Mal­tese econ­omy. As the bank for SMEs, Bank of Val­letta has been sup­port­ing these en­trepreneurs not only through tai­lored fi­nanc­ing but also by us­ing our EU Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Of­fice in Brus­sels to as­sist them in tap­ping into EU cen­tralised funds and take ad­van­tage of the op­por­tu­ni­ties avail­able. This has also en­abled us to launch in­no­va­tive ser­vices on the mar­ket, in­clud­ing EU-fund­ing risk-shar­ing fi­nanc­ing tools like the BOV Jaime Fi­nanc­ing Pack­age and its pre­de­ces­sor BOV Jeremie Fi­nanc­ing Pack­age."

He con­tin­ued by say­ing that: "While thank­ing the Cham­ber for co­or­di­nat­ing the efforts to bring this pro­ject to fruition, from our end, we re­it­er­ate our com­mit­ment to con­tinue to strengthen our col­lab­o­ra­tion with the Cham­ber to cre­ate fur­ther op­por­tu­ni­ties to sup­port these play­ers in broad­en­ing their op­por­tu­ni­ties, in a re­spon­si­ble and sus­tain­able man­ner."

A panel dis­cus­sion with the con­tri­bu­tion of Malta Cham­ber DG Kevin J. Borg, Mi­crosoft In­no­va­tion Cen­tre man­ager Mary Down­ing, Ju­nior Achiev­ment Young En­ter­prise CEO Ju­lian Az­zopardi, In­tact CFO Ni­cole Cas­sar and Camil­leri Preziosi Ad­vo­cates Se­nior as­so­ci­ate An­drei Vella, fol­lowed.

Con­clud­ing the event, the Min­is­ter for the Econ­omy Chris Car­dona said: “We have the lead­ing econ­omy in Europe right now and our next goal is to cat­a­pult our efforts to trans­form Malta in an is­land of en­trepreneur­ship and tech­no­log­i­cal so­phis­ti­ca­tion. The Min­istry for the Econ­omy is keen on help­ing lo­cal tal­ent and we recog­nise that now is the time to nur­ture an en­trepreneur­ship ecosys­tem and make our con­tri­bu­tion in build­ing to­wards a pros­per­ous in­no­va­tive so­ci­ety. The launch of the SME tool­kit is def­i­nitely a very good step in the right di­rec­tion.”

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