At the closing event to the MBB’s Innovation Leaders Project, held on Friday 16th October at The Xara Lodge in Rabat, 98 managers and executives received certificates following the completion of a training programme on EU direct funds.
Parliamentary Secretary for EU Funds Hon. Dr Ian Borg described the project as a “project that will boost sectors that can in turn generate further economic growth.” Dr. Borg said this project had “benefitted from almost €125,000” and praised MBB’s initiative for taking the lead in such an important exercise. He said that similiar projects can enhance capacity building in Malta, primarily within the private sector, which can subsequently improve our country’s competitiveness in the field of EU projects’ leadership and management.
Shadow Minister for EU Affairs, Roberta Metsola stated “EU funds are not out of reach of small businesses and individuals here in Malta, but there is still a lot that needs to be done on a European level. I have often spoken about the need to reduce the bureaucracy involved in accessing the funding – excessive paperwork, staff costs required often deter people from even considering EU funds. We need to continue to work to make it as easy as possible for people to access the funding streams available. It is also true that SMEs and individual researchers do not have the resources available that large multinational firms do – so a one-size-fits-all approach will not work.”
Itself a beneficiary of direct EU funds, MBB CEO Joe Tanti highlighted an important aspect gained through the MBB’s experience, and integrated into the Innovation Leaders Project. He stated that “Through this project we wanted to go the extra mile and provide trainees with the opportunity to build a collaborative network with national and international peers, as well as a working relationship with government and the relevant expert bodies on EU affairs.”
The training was provided through the MBB’s Innovation Leaders Project, and focused on Horizon 2020, Erasmus+ and Creative Europe funding streams. Apart from receiving training on what direct EU funds are and how they work, the participants were trained on how to identify business opportunities, build a project concept, identify the right funding stream, apply for direct EU funds, as well as implement and report a project.
A wide range of project concepts have been developed by participants including; projects focusing on alternative transportation, medical and mental health care development , female entrepreneurship, gastronomy, audio visual development, and artistic expression, amongst others. 15 out of a total of 44 Project Proposals were selected and rendered eligible to participate in a Brussels Study Visit, which took place between the 28th-30th September 2015.
At the closing event, MBB CEO Joe Tanti and EPA representative Marco Paunovic announced that collaboration between the two entities will continue, to provide support to participating enterprises intending to submit their proposals to the European Commission for funding. A Layman’s Guidebook on EU Direct Funds, which will be published in the coming weeks, will explain further this continued collaboration.
The Innovation Leaders Project was co-financed under the European Social Fund, led by the Malta Business Bureau in partnership with the European Projects Association.