Startup haven

Malta has been ranked as the 4th best destination in Europe for newly established companies or business ventures.

Startup entrepreneurs are singing Malta’s praises. “Thank you for your support and for catalysing the start-up ecosystem in our country,” wrote Vijay Vaswani on his social media platforms. “In particular, for having done this in such a short period of time.”

Vaswani is the CEO and Co-Founder of Omniscope, a start-up based in Malta that focuses on the union between Artificial Intelligence and immunology, and how this can serve human patients.

A startup is defined as a new venture initiated by one or more entrepreneurs to develop distinctive and indispensable products or services.

Malta has been ranked as the fourth best destination in Europe for such startups, according to a survey conducted by the Europe Startup Nations Alliance (ESNA) among 21 EU countries. This recognition has been attributed to several key factors:

  • The successful attraction and retention of new talent in Malta.
  • The adoption of digital tools as the primary means of communication between startups and government entities.
  • Malta’s efficiency in company registration, boasting the shortest time required to do so in the country.
  • Innovative legislative efforts to regulate newly emerging sectors.

Malta achieved a perfect score of 100% in these areas or outperformed much larger countries. The ESNA, specifically established by the European Union to advance the Union’s Entrepreneurship Agenda, encompasses efforts from the European Commission, member state governments, and national entrepreneurship entities.

Malta Enterprise represents the nation in ESNA, showcasing Malta’s active participation in fostering a supportive ecosystem for startups. Recent rankings have highlighted Malta’s significant position in the startup landscape, placing it just behind Spain, France, and Belgium.

In the latest rankings, Malta stood out by being among only 10 countries that surpassed the overall average based on the standards established by ESNA. These standards, known as the Startup Nations Standards, consist of eight criteria designed to measure excellence in the startup sector. Spain and France led the rankings with an 87% compliance rate, followed by Belgium at 74%, and Malta closely behind at 73%.

While Malta has made impressive strides in several areas, there is room for improvement, particularly in diversifying investment acquisition methods for startups and enhancing employee incentives by offering shares in these companies. These areas represent opportunities for Malta to further strengthen its position as a leading destination for innovative startups.

The Maltese government is actively taking steps to fortify the country’s status as an ideal hub for innovative startups. One significant initiative is Malta Enterprise’s development of a Startup Framework aimed at creating a more beneficial legislative environment for both startups and their investors. This framework is part of a broader strategy to provide a supportive ecosystem that encourages the growth and success of startups.

To further reinforce this ecosystem, Malta Enterprise is enhancing its existing incentive programmes, such as Business Start and Startup Finance. These programmes are designed to offer financial assistance, with potential support reaching up to €1.5 million. Additionally, in a move to expand funding opportunities for innovative startups, the government recently announced the establishment of a €10 million Venture Capital fund.

Moreover, under the ‘StartinMalta’ brand, efforts are being made to foster greater collaboration between government and private entities. The goal is to unify efforts and speak with a national voice on matters of innovation, economic progress, and the wealth generation that startups can contribute to. These initiatives collectively aim to strengthen Malta’s position as a leading destination for startups by providing an ecosystem that supports innovation, facilitates growth, and attracts investment.

Photo: Ivan Samkov

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