Fabian Demicoli

What’s in the EU budget for Maltese SMEs?

 GRTU President
Paul Abela, Deputy President Philip Fenech and EU Desk Coordinator Abigail
Psaila Mamo have this week attended a conference that provided insight on what
is in the EU pipeline in terms of funds for SMEs.

The
conference touched upon various instruments including Horizon 2020, COSME, the
financial instruments provided through the European Investment Fund such as
JEREMIE, the Malta Enterprise Support Schemes and other support provided
through structural funds.

During
the conference it was emphasized that there is a lot for SMEs but very few know
about the opportunities available. GRTU President Paul Abela urged the
institutions and authorities responsible to invest in reaching out to SMEs. He
said that as GRTU we carry out regular information activities and we intend to
continue this also in collaboration with Malta Enterprise. A problem linked to
this is the perception businesses have on funding which is of being overly
bureaucratic and very difficult to acquire.

We have
however seen a level of improvement both in the way funds are administered and
their ‘SME friendliness' so to say. It will however take a lot of work to
change the initial perception of SMEs

It was very
interesting to hear the testimonials of local entrepreneurs that have grown
from start-ups to strong and well established businesses also thanks to the
help of EU facilitated funding. It does give funding a real perspective and
help SMEs relate to funding.

In his
opening address, Hon. Dr Christian Cardona said, "Businesses need finance to
invest and grow. Through innovation, hard work and resilience our companies can
be more competitive in the EU". Dr Cardona recognized that Malta did not score
very high in the last SBA fact sheet but that the data was based mostly on 2012
findings. He however said that Government has analysed where Malta fared worse
and already started acting on these areas.

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