Fabian Demicoli

New services offered at Business First


GRTU President
Paul Abela has this week expressed GRTU's wishes to see Business First operate
renewed energy to help SMEs and also expressed GRTU's support and guaranteed
involvement to see it function to our satisfaction.

Mr Abela also ensured that
GRTU and Business First will be collaborating closely to reach out within the
available schemes to members and hold regular information sessions on this
regard. Business First is offering a number of new services aimed at helping
businesses and boosting their potential to succeed. In keeping with the
commitment to deliver a large number of services  for businesses under one roof, the
one-stop-shop facility is being strengthened with the presence of officers from
the Inland Revenue Department at Business First.

Through
their expertise, the officers will better equip Business First – which also
hosts a MEPA officer on a weekly basis – and will ensure that an improved
service is provided to clients. The re-evaluation of the services at Business
First has also led to the setting up of an outreach programme comprising a
number of initiatives.

The
approach in this case is twofold, namely the organisation of information
sessions for enterprises in collaboration with various stakeholders, as well as
the scheduling of company visits to bring the services offered at Business
First and Malta Enterprise closer to businesses. Currently, plans are being
concluded on a structured programme of company visits. 

The
Minister for the Economy, Investment and Small Business, Dr. Chris Cardona said
that this initiative will further widen and strengthen the range of services
that Business First offers, which will continue to enhance its reputation as a
one-stop-shop for start-ups and businesses. Minister Cardona said that Business
First will continue working with constituted bodies and other entities so that
further cooperation is established. "This will lead to more services being
offered by Business First, to the benefit of their clients," said Minister
Cardona.

In
addition to the new services at Business First, Malta Enterprise has also
developed revised versions of the Micro Guarantee and Micro Invest schemes to
assist micro and small enterprises. 

The
Micro Guarantee scheme aims to accelerate business growth by facilitating
access to finance for smaller undertakings, which often have limited availability
of funds and consequently may find it difficult to carry out new investments
and take up business opportunities. 

Through
the Micro Guarantee scheme, eligible undertakings will be given a guarantee of
up to 65% or 80% depending on the activity.  The Guarantee can cover loans
between €2,500 and €100,000 obtained from commercial banks.  The Guarantee
which may be used to finance projects leading to business enhancement, growth
and development.

The
Micro Invest scheme will continue to encourage undertakings to invest in their
business, to innovate, expand, and to develop their operations. Undertakings,
which may include self-employed persons, will be supported through a tax credit
representing a percentage of the eligible expenditure and wages of newly
recruited employees.

Malta Enterprise may approve a tax credit on an annual basis equivalent
to 45% of eligible expenditure, which includes costs incurred between January
1, 2014 and December 31, 2020.  An additional bonus of 20% applies to
undertakings operating from Gozo, which may thus benefit from a tax credit of
65%.

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