Fabian Demicoli

GRTU Annual Conference: Growth through innovation for SMEs

(conference1Presentations in the left column)

Driving innovation to Maltese SMEs was the aim of this year’s GRTU Annual Conference. The event was held as part of Malta’s SME Week celebrations and saw the attendance of over 200 enterprise owners.

The title of this year’s event was ‘Let’s Evolve – Growth through Innovation’. During the opening speech Mr. Paul Abela mentioned the need for business to embrace innovation. Although a lot of businesses are acknowledging that Innovation is important for their business growth, many still have not managed to embrace it.

Parliamentary Secretary for Financial Services, Digital Economy and Innovation, Hon Silvio Schembri stated that ‘as mentioned in the budget speech, the Maltese Government will be investing in a blockchain hub to help startups that use this technology, it will also be investing in MITA’s blockchain lab and in the coming months training programs will be launched to train workers within the public service to familiarize with this new technology. All this to strengthen Malta’s ecosystem and boost innovation’.

 

Through a survey conducted by GRTU in recent months it was noted that businesses still find it difficult to apply for funding directed at innovation. Although the majority of local businesses are interested in such funding mechanisms, there is still a considerable amount of persons who have not heard of such funding opportunities.

Participants were motivated to open their doors to innovation and use it as an answer to conquer challenges. With the ever changing economy, consumer demands, increasing competition and technology advancements, innovation in business is inevitable for businesses to continue succeeding and maintain their relevance on the market.

The conference explored innovation through four main themes to complement the needs of businesses. The conference explored online opportunities and eCommerce, developing ideas and doing it with the proper preparation, access to finance from the traditional to the alternative means and also private sector innovative solutions.

Ms. Nancy Caruana Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Economy, Investment and Small Businesses closed this event saying that the Ministry is keen on helping local talent and reward those who are determined to make it work. There are specialized Malta Enterprise schemes and government is also working on increasing the number of start-up facilities through the development of a specialized campus.

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