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Digital Business

Malta’s businesses have a greater chance of success if powered by ICT. Local firms will be encouraged and supported to embrace ICT to transform themselves into digital enterprises.  This will strengthen their competitiveness and make them more export-orientated. Digital Malta will promote more start-ups, attract foreign investment, enable strategic alliances, encourage angel investment and nurture niche service providers.

Digital Business Goals        

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12. ICT initiatives for sectors facing stiff competition

Government, working with industry, will organise a series of initiatives for sectors facing stiff competition (e.g. manufacturing, construction and retail) to help them benefit from ICT.

13. Forum for the transformation of industries through ICT

A forum will be established, comprising of executives from leading local firms and industry representative bodies. The forum’s mandate will be to develop programmes to raise awareness about how ICT can help industries transform themselves and become more profitable. The Forum will discuss issues such as internationalisation, eCommerce, the use of social networking as a business tool, the benefits of NGA networks, self-regulation, compliance with web accessibility guidelines, and supply chain management.

14. ICT capability framework for SMEs and co-operatives

A framework will be developed to enable local SMEs and co-operatives to assess their ICT capability, human capital and ICT-enabled processes and technology. This will be supported by 'benchmarking' and roadmaps to enable these organisations to improve performance and derive increased ICT business value from their human, technical and operational assets.

15. ICT training programmes

Government will support enterprises by administering ICT training programmes for their employees. The programmes will focus on unskilled and semi-skilled workers with the objective of improving their productivity, employability and mobility. They will also promote understanding of new business models enabled through technology. In parallel, ICT up-skilling and re-skilling programmes will be re-introduced.

16. Supporting entrepreneurship

Collaborating with stakeholders, government will: Invest resources to cultivate a widespread entrepreneurial mind-set, allowing for the launch of more ICT start-ups and young high-growth ventures exploiting ICTs. Special emphasis will be devoted to Gozo-based entrepreneurial initiatives in view of the island’s difficulties in developing a mature ICT industry ; Facilitate improved ‘access to capital’ programmes for start-ups, micro and small firms. This includes the setting up of a business angels network, incentives for crowd-funding and other investor schemes; Provide firms with incentives to deploy advanced ICT services in unprofitable areas. These could be interest-free credit, subsidies, or preferential tax rates.

17. Attracting FDI in ICT

Measures will be taken to attract foreign ICT companies with the objective of transforming Malta into a regional hub for technological cooperation and trade. These will include: Corporate packages, structures and business models that target FDI in ICT ventures, start-ups, ICT educational collaborations and niche markets such as digital games, mobile apps and other creative content; Actively supporting SmartCity Malta and others involved in incubation or innovation activities.

18. Cloud Computing

The government in partnership with industry will develop a strategy on ‘Cloud Computing’ aimed at establishing Malta as a world-class hub for the provision of cloud computing services, boosting innovation and productivity across the digital economy.

19. Digital Gaming

Execute a Digital Games strategy in an attempt to strengthen what Malta offers operators in the sector, including improving the specialist skills base.

20. Widening horizons

Government, working with industry bodies, will develop policies and incentives to: Enable ICT clusters to flourish. Technology development, innovation and internationalisation should be the main focus of clustering activity. Support may include seed funding, market intelligence services, and internationalisation services; Exploit Malta’s eGovernment expertise to develop training and consultancy services for other countries, especially those with cultural or traditional links in the Mediterranean or the Commonwealth; Promote the concept of ‘Born Global’ products and services.

21. ICT-focused incentive schemes

Incentive schemes and voucher-based credit lines will be developed to enable local SMEs and co-operatives to benefit from free or subsidised consultancy services. This will help them adopt digital technology and innovative business models to both establish themselves online and internationalise their products and services.

22. eCommerce markets

Government and industry stakeholders will: Develop measures to sustain and grow the local eCommerce market on both the supply and demand sides; Implement initiatives to assist and further drive the adoption of eCommerce by business sectors with the potential to capitalise on web technologies and penetrate foreign markets; Identify opportunities for Malta to attract business activities that operate or support global eCommerce markets.

23. Emerging electronic transactions

Government, working with payment providers, will develop an education programme to explain and promote different forms of electronic transactions and emerging monetisation models. The programme will explain business models, technologies, costs and risks.

24. Harnessing international R&I funding

Local ICT companies need to take advantage of pan-European and international R&I funding frameworks and industrial development funding opportunities. To help in this, government will: Provide logistical and brokerage support; Offer incentives to companies to invest time and human resources researching and developing innovative products, processes, and services and new marketing methods.

25. Open innovation

Government will set up a multi-stakeholder Innovation Centre to offer incentives for ICT-themed R&D, idea-generation, incubation and innovation with a view towards co-creation and open innovation. Its purpose will be to: Create an environment to enable open collaboration by enterprises, academic institutions and public bodies wishing to engage in R&I activities, particularly projects requiring testing and validation in real-life settings; Attract multi-national enterprises, contributing different technological platforms and expertise; Provide mentorship, specialised training and an alternative ICT incubation facility for young entrepreneurs, students and start-ups wishing to test and demonstrate their innovations in a live environment; Serve as a networking hub and a show-case of locally developed talent and products.