The Malta Independent 22 January 2022, Saturday

Backing up enterprises: 12 months on

Sunday, 28 November 2021, 09:12 Last update: about 3 months ago

Miriam Dalli

A few days ago I was invited to address a conference by one of the leading business social partners in Malta, the Malta Chamber of SMEs. It had been a while since a similar event was organised, primarily due to the COVID-19 restrictions. This event was attended by entrepreneurs, government entities and other stakeholders to discuss the way forward for Malta’s economic growth. The pinnacle of the discussion was conversation and consultation: the attitude which we, as a government, adopted and practised throughout the most difficult of times.

Undoubtedly, enterprises will have the potential to be critical enablers in this unprecedented economic transition. This conviction of ours is being clearly reflected in wider government policy which is now tangibly directed towards ensuring a holistic and firm transition towards a greener economic model.

Undeniably this commitment comes with its challenges. But I am encouraged to see our business community, not just embracing this challenge but really and truly eager to be at the forefront of this transformation.

Today, a year since being entrusted with the ministerial responsibility for both Maltese enterprises and sustainable development, I can see the real change in corporate mindset. A mindset that is now being directed towards prioritising more efficient business models supported by green investments and an eco-system which allows capital to enable the twin transition of our economy.

What is even more encouraging is the fact that the challenges brought about by the pandemic did not disrupt the overall aspiration and commitment of our entrepreneurs to invest in a stronger, digital and more sustainable business model.

These are the investments that will make our businesses truly competitive and future-proof in a post-pandemic global economy. I am always pleased to meet Maltese entrepreneurs who are leading this transition by actively pursuing green corporate projects. Indeed sustainable investment projects are rapidly becoming priority areas in board discussions.

Above all we are committed to keep on supporting, incentivising and enabling Maltese SMEs to invest in greener business models that can - and that will - enhance the profitability of Maltese companies. By investing in sustainable projects, Maltese enterprises will do well for themselves whilst they do well for the benefit or the wider society they operate in.

We are serious in driving forward a consistent transition towards a carbon-neutral Maltese economy. We know where we want to go and we know how to get there. My objective as Minister for enterprise is to help and lead our enterprises towards a stronger and sustainable future. We will soon be launching an online project to help companies showcase their ESG credentials to investors.

Throughout these past months, we have launched various schemes – such as the Change to Grow, the Restart scheme and the Smart & Sustainable scheme – to assist companies who want to transition towards innovation or more sustainable operations. Not to mention the €650 million that have been disbursed in wage supplement aid to assist companies – a measure that safeguarded over 100,000 jobs. Helping over 17,000 companies and self-employed.

Our companies kept going because they are resilient. They know that they have a partner in the government – one they can converse and discuss with. One that consults. The work we have been doing through Malta Enterprise is bearing fruit: we are attracting investments, both by start-ups and established companies. Up until October, Malta Enterprise approved no less than 76 projects, including expansions and new investments by both domestic and foreign investors.

76 projects that translate into €61 million in terms of investment, set to create 1,340 quality careers. Just a look at start-ups, Malta Enterprise has so far this year approved 24 projects, set to create 430 new places of work.

These positive results are the outcome of a collaborative attitude and the unhindered commitment towards a more resilient Maltese enterprise. I, together with my government colleagues, am committed to continue working in this direction.

 

Dr Miriam Dalli is Minister for Energy, Enterprise and Sustainable Development

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