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EACEA National Policies Platform: Youthwiki


3. Employment & Entrepreneurship

3.9 Start-up funding for young entrepreneurs

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  1. Access to information
  2. Access to capital

Access to information

MCAST Entrepreneurship Centre was set up in collaboration with Kordin Business Incubation Centre (KBIC) and Malta Enterprise. The Centre offers a framework for ideas to thrive and encompasses a series of activities that address the needs of MCAST students and alumni. Through this close collaboration, MCAST students and alumni who demonstrate an entrepreneurial flair are provided with space within KBIC where they can nurture, grow and launch their business ideas.  The possibility of developing further ideas is also made available to alumni of the College.


MITA Innovation Hub forms part of the Malta Information Technology Agency, which is responsible for the implementation of the Government’s ICT policy, programmes and initiatives in Malta. The Hub supports students, start-ups and innovators and creates the environment to transform their ideas into products or services through digital technologies. It supports start-ups by presenting them with a problem that requires solutions and financing the start-up which comes up with the best proposition.


The Takeoff program, based at the University of Malta, delivers a tailored package of benefits and guidance to entrepreneurs, most of whom are young people, from inside and outside of the University of Malta. The programme aims to help entrepreneurs transform their ideas into market and investor-ready ventures. The programme is specifically designed to help innovators and aspiring entrepreneurs create successful science, technology, engineering, creative media and knowledge-based start-up business. Takeoff brings together innovators, entrepreneurs, mentors and investors and aims to close the skills and resources gap experienced by entrepreneurs as they embark on their start-up ventures.


Microsoft Innovation Centre supports students and start-ups through its facilities and offers training courses ranging from development to gaming. The MIC start-up programme is targeted towards start-ups in the early stages of business and offers incentives such as office space, hardware and technology skills. Students are encouraged to explore and develop their interest in technology and build technology-related skills.


The Junior Chamber International Malta organises an annual ‘Hack-it-on bootcamp’, where keynote speakers and trainers help young people to generate their business ideas and validate them.  They organise competitions for the best business idea/plan and incentivise them with support and cash grants. The winning idea receives 1,000€ together with consultancy hours with a European funding consultancy agency and branded stationery.


Junior Achievement-Young Enterprise (JA-YE) complements classroom learning by offering learning-by-doing programmes at primary, secondary, post-secondary and tertiary levels. The most popular are the Company Programme (post-secondary level) and Start-Up Programme (tertiary level).  JA-YE also offers group coaching and mentoring for youths through these programmes.


The Business First service provides information and assistance regarding administrative procedures. The service also offers information for those seeking to improve their business or even close their business. Young people can have access to this information, which is made available via the ‘Business First’ website, telephone number, email, and one to one meetings.


The Business Advisory Scheme, which includes one-to-one coaching and mentoring is designed to provide businesses operating in Malta with advisory services that suit their specific circumstances. Business advisory services are provided to support undertakings, identify strengths and overcome weaknesses in specific areas. A range of business advisors services are available and every effort is made to match the right advisor to the specific needs of the applicant. This is available to the general public including all the social target groups.


The Dun Manwel Attard Resource Centre offers the ‘Hands-On’ project for people with disabilities. The project helps develop entrepreneurial skills. It involves an initial tailor-made training programme in entrepreneurship skills for the Resource Centre’s educators, followed by the transfer of the acquired entrepreneurship skills from the educators to their students through a process of coaching, mentoring and hands-on workshops where the students produce and later sell hand-made items.


Access to capital

There are no funding programmes that are offered specifically to young entrepreneurs. However, young people can benefit from schemes that are open to the general public including: 

The Ministry for Economy, Investment and Small Business (MEIB), and the Centre for Entrepreneurship and Business Incubation (CEBI) of the University of Malta, together offer the TAKEOFF Seed Fund Award (TOSFA) at the TAKEOFF Business Incubator, situated at the University of Malta. The award distributes up to 100,000€ in seed funding to groups of innovators and entrepreneurs.


Innovative start-ups in specific sectors may benefit from the B.Start scheme offered by Malta Enterprise, which offers a seed fund of up to 10,000€ and an additional fund of up to 15,000€ calculated upon the full time employment with the start-up.


Malta Enterprise offers a Micro Invest Scheme which mainly supports self-employed individuals registered with the Employment and Training Corporation and small enterprises that employ less than 30 employees who either undertake new investments in their own operations and/or increase their workforce.


Malta Enterprise also offers the Micro Guarantee Scheme which provides eligible undertakings with a guarantee of up to 80 per cent on loans of up to 100,000€ which may be used to finance projects leading to business enhancement, growth and development.

The ZAAR Crowdfunding Platform is a crowdfunding platform, aimed as an alternative access to finance for start-ups, business projects and ideas. Aspiring entrepreneurs in Malta can crowdfund their business ideas through ZAAR.  ZAAR is a project spearheaded by Promotion of Entrepreneurial Initiatives (PEI) Limited, which was set up jointly by the Malta Business Bureau (MBB) and the University of Malta (UoM). This initiative is also supported by the Ministry for Economy, Investment & Small Business and the Arts Council Malta.


Go Beyond offers early stage business angel investment to start ups in five industry categories, including technology, internet and cellular phones.


Bank of Valletta offers two financing packages for entrepreneurs in Malta:

The BOV Start Plus package is a business loan aimed at start-ups and micro-en­terprises that require funding of up to 25,000€ for investment purpos­es and initial related working capital requirements. This package offers ad­vantageous interest rates, involves no advance related fees and, most importantly, requires no collateral as it is secured by a guarantee issued under the European Commission’s Competi­tiveness and Innovation Framework Programme.


The BOV JAIME (Joint Assistance Initiative for Maltese Enterprises) Financing Package provides SME with up to 50,000€ for capital investment and related working capital at advantageous interest rates and reduced collateral obligations.


The annual National Enterprise Support Awards (NESA), which offer cash prizes of up to 48,000€ in recognition of initiatives which support entrepreneurship and enterprise growth in six categories, including in ‘Responsible and Inclusive Entrepreneurship’. Although these prizes are awarded to entities supporting entrepreneurship and not directly to entrepreneurs, the latter still benefit indirectly from the projects and initiatives being recognised.


In addition, a small number of initiatives are targeted at specific groups. There are two funding schemes that are a targeted at female entrepreneurs:

Malta Enterprise offers a Micro Invest Scheme, which was recently amended so that self-employed women (including young women) and businesses owned in their majority by females are granted a maximum tax credit of up to 50,000€ instead of 30,000€.


Malta Microfinance Ltd., which is a non-profit financial institution, offers loans to people struggling financially. Three main types of loans are offered, one of which is a Business Loan to provide funding and support to start or expand one’s business.