Become Financially Literate

Become Financially Literate

Published on Sunday 14th January ’18, by Times of Malta.

The Malta Business Bureau recently launched a free training model in financial literacy for young and inexperienced entrepreneurs, as part of the EU-funded Invest project. Here Zaar.com.mt’s Matthew Caruana, who was invited to sit on the panel for the launch, explains why this model could be a truly fantastic tool for start-up businesses – including those considering crowdfunding to get their ideas off the ground.

If you’re thinking of starting a business, then one of the most important things to get right is your finances. Financial literacy – or having the skills, knowledge and resources to manage your finances properly – could mean the difference between achieving success in the long run or not.

It’s with this in mind that I was very pleased to see the Malta Business Bureau launch Invest training model, which provides over 30 hours of training customised to suit entrepreneurs’ skill gaps. The model strongly focuses on accounting, savings and investment for entrepreneurs and was developed from input by experts within the seven partner organisations – and it will help to remove the risk of handling finances by trial and error.

After all, at Zaar.com.mt we sometimes come across entrepreneurs who are very focused on their idea or their product, but who lack the business acumen or know-how to manage their finances properly.

As a result, they can even overlook the very basic elements of cash flow forecasting and budgeting, which can make achieving success that much harder. So this is where financial literacy comes in, by giving you the ability to structure your resources and make the most of the finances you do have.

Speaking about the launch, Malta Business Bureau’s CEO Joe Tanti said: “Financial literacy among small business operators not only reduces the risk of failure and helps keep the business going, but also means that entrepreneurs will be in a better position to take advantage of opportunities that may arise.”

The model was created based on research which showed that young and inexperienced entrepreneurs in particular wanted to improve their basic financial knowledge, preferably through an e-learning platform. Addressing this, the Invest partners developed an online training model, allowing participants to learn at their own pace and in their preferred time.

“With that in mind, the goal of this training model is not to turn entrepreneurs into accountants or financial experts – but instead to improve their standards on simple, foundational skills that have a huge impact on their company’s bottom line,” Mr Tanti said.

Meanwhile, however, at the other end of the spectrum, these tools are also potentially valuable for investors, as they can help them to ensure they are investing the money they can afford to lose without affecting their daily life. If they are choosing to invest in start-ups, they have the potential of a high return but it can also be risky. Thus, it’s important to invest in different things so as to diversify your portfolio and minimise your risk as much as possible

At Zaar, and as part of our plan to introduce equity crowdfunding to Malta, we also plan to create educational programmes tailored directly to the needs of investors, as well as start-ups. We hope that these initiatives will enable both start-ups and investors to put their finances first, and to help ensure the long-term success of their endeavours.

For more information on the Invest training model, visit http://www.investproject.eu/. The Invest project, co-funded by the Erasmus+ Programme of the EU, is run by the following European organisations:  Malta Business Bureau and the Mediterranean Bank Network (Malta), Association EFFEBI and Eurocrea Merchant (Italy), IDEC (Greece), Inqubator Leeuwarden (The Netherlands) and Bridging the Future (UK).

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