Minister for Gozo Justyne Caruana addressed a seminar entitled ‘Grants, Schemes & Incentives for SME’, organised by the Gozo Business Chamber in collaboration with the Ministry for the Economy, Investment and Small Businesses as part of the SME Week Malta 2017.
Minister Caruana noted that the main goals of the SME week are to provide information on the kind of support that is being offered to micro-, small- and medium-sized businesses on both an EU and a national level. Moreover, it showcases the help being offered by regional and local authorities and promotes entrepreneurship.
“Dialogue leads to further understanding and better planning, and I have ensured to personally discuss business-related issues, both individually and with your constituted representative bodies. It was precisely in our initial meetings, in the very first weeks of my appointment as Minister for Gozo, that we had acknowledged the increasing difficulties in recruiting the required numbers of Gozitan workers, and we had purposely commissioned professional studies, particularly to analyse the skill gap on the island and the kind of employment Gozitans are looking for in terms of the career they wish to follow”, stated Minister Caruana in her closing speech.
Minister Caruana highlighted the main points which were earmarked during this year’s budget speech in connection to SMEs, particularly in Gozo. She noted that the Government was going to increase Microinvest assistance to Gozitan SMEs to up to €70,000 and issue a refund of up to 30% or €6,000 for every new job created by the private sector, as long as the employer offers a three-year term contract to the employee.
The Minister for Gozo pledged the Government’s continuous support in the interest of small and medium enterprises, which she described as the backbone of the local industry. She mentioned the €10 million investment at the former MDP for which the Planning Authority has recently approved the permits. Minister Justyne Caruana also mentioned the projects at Tal-Ħofra and the SME Park, both in the Xewkija Industrial Zone.
Minister Caruana said that the next step is to attract investment which provides jobs for locals and those who decide to settle down in Gozo. She emphasised that the Ministry for Gozo is fully committed to supporting such initiatives which will improve SMEs’ business operations both locally and internationally, thereby contributing to a healthier economy.