MIA holds 9th SME Forum
The future development of Malta’s economy requires sustainable SMEs. The 2018 SME Forum, organised by the Malta Institute of Accountants, discussed growth opportunities in the digital revolution.
Held on 25 May at the InterContinental Hotel in St Julian’s, this was the ninth edition of the forum and saw the participation of entrepreneurs, professionals working in the field, as well as people interested in starting up micro-enterprises.
“The Malta Institute of Accountants has, over the years, empowered and will continue to support SMEs and SMPs in Malta to become more professional, ethical and better equipped to face the challenging times ahead," said MIA president William Spiteri Bailey in his opening speech.
An outstanding line-up of speakers addressed the forum, delving into different realities facing SMEs in the coming years. Central Bank Economics chief officer, Dr Aaron G. Grech, said that SMEs remain the backbone of Malta’s performing economy: “SMEs, rather than bigger firms, have created most of recent growth; a healthy trend as dependence on SMEs make the economy more diversified and less susceptible to shocks."
Joseph Portelli, chairman of the Malta Stock Exchange, said that quality of admission is crucial and revealed the MSE is currently implementing stricter admission rules to make it easier for eligible companies to be there but harder for those that should not.
Among other distinguished guests, Prof. Alexiei Dingli presented the generational opportunities for growth in disruptive technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, the Cloud, Blockchain, The Internet of Things and Big Data. SMEs can take advantage of this emerging wave of digitalisation that is transforming the way business is done.
This ninth edition of the SME Forum coincided with the coming-to-effect of the GDPR across the EU and participants had the unique opportunity to understand the implications of these regulations for SMEs.
A special session was led by David Cauchi, head of Compliance within the Office of the Information and Data Protection Commissioner where Dr Borana Hima from Grant Thornton Malta and Alan Alden from Kyte Consultants Ltd answered specific and practical questions of entrepreneurs and professionals.
The president of the Malta Employers Association, Dolores Sammut Bonnici, spoke about changes in the workforce landscape and their effects on employers. "The prospects of not having enough skilled employees have turned employers into educators. There are vacancies which cannot be filled at all levels. This is hindering all employers in Malta."
The forum offered SMEs practical help in important areas for entrepreneurs, including access to finance. René Saliba, chairman of the Malta Development Bank, said that the bank was created to fill an institutional gap: “Our purpose is to complement, supplement and collaborate with other banks to see that investments go through."
Business First CEO, Marika Tonna explained the upcoming projects by the agency: “Our next step is to achieve an interactive portal for running a business."
Addressing the specific needs of a family- run business, Dr Sarah Rausi from Fenech & Fenech delivered an expert analysis of the different modes of transfer and the related taxation law.
Noel Debono from Bank of Valletta discussed the theme of management within the context of SMEs.
The CEO of the Malta Institute of Accountants, Maria Cauchi Delia said that this successful edition confirmed the SME Forum as one of the landmark events for small to medium entrepreneurs and professionals in Malta, in line with the Malta Institute of Accountants’ promise to sustain the growth of SMEs.