The Malta Independent 27 May 2019, Monday

The GOZO EXPO 2019 - A Platform of business development opportunities and networking

Monday, 8 April 2019, 15:33 Last update: about 3 months ago

The Gozo EXPO and the Gozo Business Awards are events that will inspire you, that will ignite your entrepreneurial spirit and encourage you to embark on the path to business development, with partnership and agency opportunities being offered on a variety of platforms. It is a Trade Fair in a high-energy and collaborative environment that will culminate in the Gozo Business Awards Gala. Presided over by the Minister for Gozo Dr Justyne Caruana, the EXPO is being held on Friday, 31 May and Saturday, 1 June 2019. Martin Vella writes

The forthcoming Gozo Expo 2019 and the Gozo Business Awards, which are being launched together with the support - and under the auspices - of the Minister for Gozo Dr Justyne Caruana and the Gozo Business Chamber, are two distinct business events, combined in a unique innovative business idea.

Right from the start, the main objective was to change the current mindset and thinking of the way of doing things, to get businesses to network, interact and foster business development with each other and create a win-win situation for local as well as foreign business investors to gather under one roof and share business prospects. A fun atmosphere can be created by taking advantage of trade openings, striking new partnerships or agency agreements, showcasing products and services and talking with each other in round table conferences, making presentations and creating a fun atmosphere for visitors to come, learn, buy and enjoy in a new concept, which will be revealed in the coming weeks. To have such a strong, productive business relationship and general public interaction is a great source of reassurance.

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The strategic location of the Maltese archipelago of Malta, Gozo and the very small island of Comino is important, acting as it does as a bridge between Europe and North Africa and Eastern/Western Mediterranean countries, and also because it has always had a central and pivotal maritime role in the Mediterranean over the centuries, including World War II. Visitors from all over the world form a large part of our tourist industry. We acknowledge the fact that we are a small island and cater for a small market but, irrespective of our size, we can offer as many business and investment opportunities, including trade incentives, as any other country in the region, if not more. 

To have such strong connections with foreign countries and attract FDI (foreign direct investment) can only benefit all our partners, and it is our intention to try to enhance such relations and offer attractive prospects to EU companies willing to do business in Malta and Gozo, with serious prospects and a fresh new outlook. Moreover, such efforts undertaken to improve Gozo's business and tourist relations can become an exemplary springboard for other areas of trade development and growth. I know for a fact that where there is a will, there is a way! People have tried to dissuade me, saying that I am mad to come up with such an initiative, but  I took such negative advice as a challenge and today we can say that one of our dreams at MBR Publications Ltd is not just taking shape, but is also coming to fruition. As an encouraging example, one of my colleagues told me that I would not even manage to get 10 booths booked for the trade fair.

Well, today, I can say that we have exceeded all expectations and have over 50 booths booked to participate in what is going to be a major surprise in terms of having an EXPO for the first time in Gozo.Therefore, there is much scope and also pleasure in being able to request collaboration, intervention and assistance from any foreign company or Embassy to try to bring over some major companies or SMEs interested in doing business with Gozo, as well as encouraging Maltese entrepreneurs and business organisations to come forward and join in this trade fair.

We are offering business start-ups free booths as an incentive to help such entrepreneurial budding companies, who can benefit from the forthcoming Gozo Expo being held at the Grand Hotel in Mgarr, Gozo, on Friday, 31 May and Saturday, 1 June, with a preceding Press Conference at the same venue being held to officially launch the event on 10th May at 10am, which will be addressed by Dr Justyne Caruana, Minister for Gozo, and other major sponsors and stakeholders.The very fact that we have been successful in convincing and getting together quite a number of exhibitors and participants is already a major feat, but a lot of work remains to be done and,' until the date arrives, we will be working around the clock to make this EXPO a huge success. We are committed to empower exhibitors, investors and visitors by offering cost-effective modern 1st class economic zone with arrangements and tax benefits to foreign investors offered and carried forward by the Ministry for Gozo.

Customisable packages and services as well as state-of-the-art facilities and offices are being also offered for the very first time to companies willing to do business in Gozo for the very first time. This has never been done in the past, or even offered, and we are proud to be catalysts to such incentives. Blessed with a strategic location, Gozo connects investors to growing markets and the fact that a tunnel between Malta and Gozo will be built by 2024 is another step in the right direction, and also an opportunity for foreign companies to get involved in such a project by offering their technologically advanced products, systems and services, especially in the building, construction, green economy and alternative energy resources industry.

This business development event should attract a cross-section of all businesses, CEOs, business leaders, influencers, investors, business owners, entrepreneurs, students, marketing managers, business developers, the general public, constituted bodies and private organisations, technology and alternative energy corporates and other like-minded enthusiasts, and we will be offering free stands/booths to business start-ups, as an added incentive.We have carefully designed this interactive medium to provide a user-friendly platform by which companies can connect with each other and learn more about the wide-ranging opportunities and solutions that are offered by global investors. In Gozo, investors are welcome as businesses and we aim to enhance our supportive environment. Whether you are a start-up or a large enterprise, we can cater to the specific needs of your company. We have filled our event brochure, a copy of which is attached,  with a wealth of information to guide potential exhibitors and investors with everything they may need and the Gozo Ministry will be giving a helping hand to any foreign investors, from guiding them through the steps required to establish their business to obtaining the licences, facilities and services the Ministry will have on offer, as well as the list of company formation requirements. We have a team of business development experts who are ready to assist on every step of the way.I encourage Maltese businesses to participate and attend this EXPO and interact with other local or foreign companies who wish to exhibit or do business in Gozo, as well as in Malta, since there will also be Maltese companies taking part. I ask them to be part of our journey and discover why multi-national companies may choose Gozo as their launch pad to success. Moreover, foreign companies will have an opportunity to become involved in major projects of technology, energy and other industrial nature in peripheral Islands.The Gozo B2B/B2C Expo celebrates and accelerates human progress, since Gozo is a peripheral island with an ECO agenda. Gozo will become an eco-island by 2020, supported by a keen and committed sustainable community. This vision is rooted in the island's potential and the capabilities of its people. EcoGozo is a vision for an island to become even more beautiful, inspiring, welcoming, thriving, inclusive and successful and a healthy and successful place in which to live, in balance with the environment. This is essentially what this eco-island will strive to achieve. Working for the Gozo B2B/B2C Expo gives exhibitors the chance to introduce new ideas and innovations to people from all over Gozo and all types of business or educational backgrounds. www.ecogozo.com 
Partnerships remain vital, both domestically and internationally. For Malta, the European Union is a major partnership. Many current foreign efforts, such as those being carried out by The Netherlands, to enhance sustainability reflect common European policies. And this can be also achieved here with the Gozo EXPO 2019! The potential that Gozo has to offer, with five million tourists visiting the island each year, may be beneficial to various potential investors. It offers the perfect environment for business, since it is already a business centre and can also offer shared workstations and offices in a modern business centre. And we can also invite other companies from the energy sector and creative industries to set up business here.


Gozo prides itself on its proven record of safety and stability, as backed by renowned credit rating agencies such as Fitch Ratings and S&P. With no proper logistical hubs, seaport or airport, Gozo  offers a  round-the-clock ferry service so companies can easily access the trade flows between Malta and its sister island and, in fact, the lack of such hubs may also present an opportunity for Dutch multi-nationals to put forward projects to develop them.But is business all that it has to offer? Beyond its business-friendly façade is a perfect place for you and your family to enjoy a relaxed holiday - or even take up residence - in a green ambience with some of the Mediterranean's best beaches and restaurants. Tourists will experience a rich local culture, scenic views of majestic hills, a relaxed seaside ambiance and year-round sunny weather at a cost way beyond that of the average major cities. Companies wishing to set up business will also have access to high-quality yet affordable housing, shopping malls, premier educational institutions and advanced medical facilities.

With the help of our Business Development aides at the Ministry for Gozo, exhibitors/investors will be able to select the suitable legal entity, licence type and facility. Business Development professionals will guide companies from filling out their application all throughout submission, ensuring that all requirements are met. Discover the opportunities we will be launching on our platform during this EXPO. Broad and inclusive partnerships, both national and international, are the key to success. As another example, the Dutch Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have taught us to keep in step and advance together towards the same finishing line. It is with this in mind that I invite all business from across all business sectors and clusters to participate in this trade exhibition and we are willing to also arrange your welcome and organize 1-2-1 meetings, or through business matchmaking. Leading Gozitan investors, who specializes in luxury market and also mid-level tourist accommodation, operating also in hospitality and real estate, can meet up with potential foreign investors who can help them out with the building, refurbishment, modernization and also installing energy efficient products, resources and other materials in real estate projects. And likewise there are other entrepreneurs and companies that wish to develop their business and take a bold step beyond!


To close, I wish to thank the Minister for Gozo, Dr Justyne Caruana, expressing my gratitude for her unstinting support, and also Esther Bajda from the Ministry of Gozo, together with Joseph Dingli and all their team. I can only congratulate you on the remarkable progress you have made to strengthen the bilateral relations between Gozo and the rest of the world and I pledge to do my best to assist any company wishing to exhibit in the Gozo EXPO.
For further information please contact Margaret Brincat on 99406743/email: [email protected] or call 9926 0164/[email protected]

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