20 Years of Service
2016 marked the MBB’s 20th Year Anniversary. In celebrating this major highlight since the organisation’s establishment, MBB organised a high-profile lunchtime concert and reception held at the Malta Chamber. The event welcomed speeches by MBB President Dr John Vassallo and co-founders Chevalier Anthony Cassar and Joseph R. Darmanin. The concert was performed by the ‘re:Orchestra’ of Rotterdam, considered by specialised media as one of Europe’s best chamber orchestras. The event was sponsored by MBB President Dr John Vassallo and Dr Marianne Noll; the Malta Chamber of Commerce and the Westin Dragonara Resort, member of the Malta Hotels and Restaurants Association
left to right: MBB President Dr John Vassallo – MBB CEO Joe Tanti – Malta Chamber President Anton Borg – MBB co-Founders Joseph R. Darmanin and Chevalier Anthony Cassar
Advocacy and Policy Work
The MBB continued to play an advocacy role whereby it communicates to businesses the developments as we consult them to put forward the Maltese perspective in the political and technical debates that take place in Brussels at various levels.
To further strengthen its message and pro-activeness with the institutions, the MBB is working closely with several practitioners from industry, who voluntarily support our work by sharing their expertise in their respective fields. This has been instrumental to consolidate our positions; participate in EU consultation processes; communicate the Maltese business perspectives within BusinessEurope, Eurochambres, and Hotrec; and conduct direct lobbying with the EU institutions particularly Council and Parliament.
Apart from advocacy work, the MBB’s Brussels operations is also responsible for coor
dinating the participation of delegates in several high-profile events in Brussels. This year the MBB facilitated the participation of Malta Chamber in the ‘Tripartite Social Summit’ and the ‘European Parliament for Enterprises’ events.
Build-up to Malta’s EU Presidency of the Council in 2017
Presiding on the Council of the EU is an extraordinary event that comes around once in a generation. 2017 marks the first opportunity for Malta to take the driving seat and facilitate the debates taking place in Council at different levels, with an opportunity to find compromises and negotiate with Parliament and the Commission to conclude legislative process on various dossiers.
To this effect, together with EESC Vice President of the Employers Group Mr. Stefano Mallia, the Malta Business Bureau coordinated a process involving all employer representative organisations in Malta to come up with one set of priorities of Maltese businesses for the Malta-led EU Presidency. The outcome focused on three main priorities including; (i) a flexible business friendly Union based on a strong Single Market, (ii) promoting an EU entrepreneurial culture, and (iii) an EU that matters in the region. This document was presented and welcomed by Prime Minister Dr. Joseph Muscat. The MBB was pleased to see that a number of its proposals made their way into Government’s own list of priorities for the EU Presidency.
New MBB Office in Brussels
Last year, the MBB moved its Brussels operations to a highly strategic location at the centre of the European quarter. The offices are now situated at the well-known Rond-point Schuman, where the European Commission’s ‘Le Berlaymont’ and the European Council buildings are located.
Registered Address: Malta Business Bureau, Rond-point Schuman 6, Level 5, 1040 Brussels, Belgium. To contact MBB Brussels kindly call +32485469737 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Energy Efficiency – to support the implementation of the Energy Efficiency Directive in Malta
The MBB continued promoting energy efficiency for Non-SMEs in 2016. Building on the 2015 initiative, which saw the MBB and The Malta Chamber draft a voluntary agreement for Non-SMEs to enter with government, more enterprises were approached to join as signatories.
Through the agreement, signatory Non-SMEs have been awarded An Energy Initiative Partner Logo and have been aided with identifying any applicable funding instruments for energy efficiency projects they might be considering. In return, Non-SMEs committed to implementing regular energy efficiency measures and to sharing relevant best practice.
Over 2016 the number of signatories rose to around 40% of Non-SMEs in Malta. Measures which the Non-SMEs identified represent an annual reduction of 8,500 tons of CO2 emissions. These results show that industry is committed to improving its energy performance, and have been warmly welcomed by the Energy and Water Agency.
The success of the Non-SME initiative led the MBB to develop a project to promote energy efficiency within Medium Sized Enterprises – the Investing in Energy Project. Launched in December, the project offers Medium Sized Enterprises within the manufacturing and importer/retailer sectors complimentary energy audits, staff training, and the possibility to participate in a mentoring programme. Through the mentoring programme Medium Sized Enterprise staff will be teamed up with staff from best practice Non-SMEs which have energy efficiency operations transferable to the Medium Sized Enterprise.
The project is also planning to carry out an assessment of the environmental and economic impact of energy efficiency measures adopted by industry. The first study will focus on Non-SMEs and be carried out in early 2017, while the second study will focus on Medium Sized Enterprises and be carried out in late 2018.
The aim of the project is to support Medium Sized Enterprises implement energy efficiency measures. The Investing in Energy Project is a partnership between the MBB, The Malta Chamber and the Energy and Water Agency, with co-financing from the Ministry of Economy, Investment and Small Business, and the Regulator for Energy and Water Services (REWS).
The MBB also presented its water conservation work during an event held at the European Parliament thanks to the Initiative of MEP Therese Comodini Cachia (EPP group) and MEP Miriam Dalli (S&D). During this event, the MBB’s Life+ Investing in Water project targeting businesses, hotels and SMES, and the ‘Catch the Drop Campaign’ – spearheaded by the HSBC Water programme – were put under the spotlights.
Visit www.mbb.org.mt for more information
Enterprise Europe Network (EEN) – helping SMEs make the most of business opportunities in Europe and beyond
In 2016, MBB aligned its work as a local EEN contact point with the scope of providing addi-tional advisory services and guidance to start ups and businesses in various sectors to help them better understand means and ways of tapping EU Funding streams.
MBB supported local SMEs by informing them on how, through EEN, they now have a great-er opportunity to become increasingly connected with businesses from all sectors overseas thanks to the EEN’s extensive partnership database and have greater access to information ranging from EU policy to international tenders, participation in brokerage events, B2Bs, best practice visits and trade missions. Additionally, MBB also informed several businesses on the various existing local support measures and encouraged their uptake for greater impetus and competitiveness at national and European level.
To this effect MBB also organised a successful outgoing company mission to Estonia with 2 local companies in the services sector. A series of Service Design capacity building work-shops were also held 2016, in MBBs capacity as a local EEN Network partner and Ambassador for the European Commission’s Design for Europe initiative. The workshops served as a guide to help companies discover and implement new tools and techniques which have been tried and tested by some of the world‘s leading businesses. Participant companies have since acquired the ability to assess their own business performance from a service design perspective.
By the close of 2016, the local EEN consortia had provided 180 local companies with individual advisory support, organised a total of 41 brokerage events and company missions for companies in the ICT, Tourism, Food and Drink, Design, Healthcare and Manufacturing sec-tors. EEN Malta has also offered local businesses representation on European policy on is-sues pertaining to Improvements to the Double Taxation Mechanisms; new Directives and proposed amendments to Public Procurement legislation; Limiting the Use of Cash in the wake of the Fourth Anti Money Laundering Directive; EC Regulation No 1924/2006 on nutrition and health claims; the Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA); the Impact of the Transatlantic Trade Investment Partnership (TTIP), the European Commission Action Plan for Fair and Efficient Corporate Taxation in the EU, the Single Member Company dossier (SUP) and Geo-Blocking.
Another highlight for EEN Malta in 2016 are the 6 cross border business partnerships that have since been established.
For more information visit www.enterprise-europemalta.com
Design for Europe – An initiative to support design driven innovation in Europe
The success of the MBB’s participation in various European projects and networks over the years led to its engagement with Design for Europe in 2016. As Ambassador for Design for Europe and with the support of EEN, MBB organized a range of knowledge transfer activities for the benefit of the business community. Encouraging business to uptake design thinking methods and utilize design tools was a central component in MBB’s mission to support enterprises in 2016.
Last year, MBB embarked on a new pilot initiative comprised of a series of workshops which targeted 15 local companies from various services sectors.
The workshops built capacity for the companies to perform a design diagnostic using self-assessment tools per their specific requirements. The pilot ran over several months and resulted in a compilation of expert recommendations to guide the businesses on how they can improve their services and how they can use readily available design self-assessment tools.
The pilot brought five international service design experts to explore the specific requirements for each local company and elaborate a set of actions to improve the customer experience of their service. Following the implementation phase, a follow up monitoring visit took place in Autumn, allowing the companies to share their experiences and achievements. The key outcomes of MBB’s pilot over the year were later presented to a group of local stakeholders at a high-level policy workshop held in September.
The workshop comprised of Senior Officials from the Valletta Design Cluster, the Ministry of Economy, the Ministry of Finance, the Malta Tourism Authority, the Arts Council Malta and Malta Enterprise was designed to discuss methods of collaboration and future actions to support design policy and support programmes in Malta.
In facilitating effective dialogue between the different actors, the MBB, together with the stakeholders has since mapped current, national design systems and has identified local strengths and weaknesses for design. Based on this diagnostic, the workshops enabled participants to develop a design policy vision and actions that correspond to the gaps in the design system.
This pilot culminated in the presentation of Malta’s case study at the Design for Europe ‘Powering Innovation’ Summit held in Tallinn, Estonia.
For more information visit www.designforeurope.eu
University – Business Cooperation
Bridging the gap between academia and business is a top priority for Europe. In this regard, the MBB has engaged in two distinct initiatives, the first being a study on the State of University – Business Cooperation in Europe (2016 – 2017).
The project, executed for the DG Education & Culture within the European Commission, was used to investigate the state of collaboration both from academia’s perspective and private businesses across Europe. The survey sought to identify clarity on the mechanisms supporting any existing cooperation as well the barriers and challenges at hand.
Through the project, MBB’s close collaboration with the University of Malta, particularly in terms of entrepreneurial initiatives such as the recent establishment of Malta’s first Crowd-funding Platform ZAAR, has been identified as a local good practice case study. As part of the study, two major quantitative surveys addressed to the business sectors and the higher education institutions were launched in September. Over the subsequent weeks, the MBB played an instrumental role in the dissemination of the surveys among local entrepreneurs and academics. Overall, the number of survey responses received have made this the largest international study ever completed on the topic of University-Business Cooperation.
Go& Learn – Network Enhancement
Last year, MBB also embarked on a second distinct initiative in the aim on bridging the gap between academia and business, through the Go&Learn network. MBB is collaborating with the University of Malta, who are together acting as the Maltese Agency within a multilateral network of 17 European regions. MBB is managing an international catalogue of thematic training seminars and study visits in companies as part of this project.
To date, the Maltese Agency has on-boarded 8 local companies in the ICT, Digital Gaming, Food Manufacturing, Nutrition and labeling industries.
The Agency is still looking out to engage more companies on the platform, particularly those involved in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) sectors. A Multiplier event presenting the Go&Learn outcomes and opportunities will be organised later this year, specifically targeting the local business community and academia.
For more information visit www.goandlearn.eu
INVEST – Financial and Forecasting Models for Entrepreneurs
MBB has formed part of a consortium of partners on the Erasmus+ project INVEST. The partners have pooled in their various areas of expertise to develop a training model to sup-port micro-entrepreneurs, aged 18 to 34 (also known as Generation Y). This will enable entrepreneurs to make responsible economic, financial and investment choices, in function of their business growth plans and development perspectives.
The challenges faced by entrepreneurs in their attempt to gain access to finance accentuate the relevance of this project. Such challenges mainly arise from the entrepreneurs’ lack of confidence and lack of financial
ial literacy, which may go on to hinder their capability to make investments and manage their financial assets.
The project partnership includes the Mediterranean Bank Network (Malta), Association EFFEBI (Italy), Eurocrea Merchant (Italy), IDEC (Greece), Bridging the Future (UK), Inqubator Leeuwarden (the Netherlands) and the Malta Business Bureau.
To date, the project partners have collectively developed and disseminated a survey questionnaire. The outcome of which will establish the current level of financial literacy.
For more information visit www.investproject.eu
ZAAR – Crowdfunding Platform
ZAAR Crowdfunding Platform Manager Matthew Caruana addressing the audience at the Investment-Based Crowdfunding Discussion Workshop event, MFSA
Since its launch in 2016, the MBB – University of Malta crowdfunding platform ZAAR has supported an average of two campaigns each month. This had led to a total of 26 projects so far; five campaigns of which were still active in the first part of this year.
Of those projects, 57% were successful, with 12 of the 21 completed projects securing the desired funding. Top grossing projects included the Mater Dei Pet Cabin, the University of Malta’s Racing Team, and the Simshar DVD campaign. In total, over €65,000 has been channeled through ZAAR into local initiatives.
In 2016, ZAAR raised its lobbying efforts with the MFSA for the release of a discussion paper on Investment Crowdfunding Legislation. A discussion paper was later published in November, followed by a Stakeholders’ Meeting at the MFSA in January 2017. The event was at-tended by over 100 participants whereby those present were predominantly in favour of the introduction of this legislation.
Over the past year, ZAAR has also been active on a number of other fronts to raise the pro-file of crowdfunding in Malta by attending numerous events and conferences locally and abroad. Among its accolades, the platform was announced as the winner of the first prize in its section at the National Enterprise Support Awards 2016. This led to ZAAR being asked to represent Malta at the European Enterprise Promotion Awards in Slovakia.
In the year to come, ZAAR will be focused on further raising its profile among potential backers and investors, while also reaching out to entrepreneurs, project makers and NGOs that could benefit from crowdfunding.
For more information visit www.zaar.com.mt