During 2020, Business First made contact with 158,193 clients, with 3,042 client contacts per week. When compared to 2019 and 2018, there was a 367% and 427% increase respectively in client contact.
This was communicated with Minister for Energy, Enterprise and Sustainable Development Miriam Dalli during a visit at Malta Enterprise and Business First’s offices, where she thanked all employees for their crucial role, especially in times of a global pandemic, to safeguard jobs and support businesses.
“Thanks to Malta Enterprise, in recent months we have been able to issue incentives that have aided enterprises, businesses and self-employed workers. The wage supplement has helped to save 100,000 jobs and a revised scheme has been launched for this year. It is important that we continue to support businesses, even to help their regeneration. Through Malta Enterprise, we want to look at incentives that can help the business community continue to grow in our country, for the good of Maltese and Gozitan citizens,” said Minister Dalli.
Business First is a joint venture between Malta Enterprise and the Malta Chamber for SMEs which addresses the specific needs of micro and small enterprises. Business First brings together all the services that businesses need to operate, and houses representatives from departments such as the Malta Tourism Authority and the Environmental Health Department. Malta Enterprise is supporting the setup with resources, expertise and technical backup.
Minister Dalli added that Business First has been at the forefront of providing the necessary support to businesses particularly during this time. In recent months, the workload and the amount of contact made with Business First have increased substantially. “We are committed to continue offering this type of assistance, whereby businesses can seek help in a one-stop-shop manner,” said the Minister.
Business First had a considerable increase in the amount of client contact in 2020. The number of walk-ins reached 13,831, the number of e-mails received was 63,421, calls made by Business First staff to clients reached 12,415 and incoming calls on the customer care number 144 reached 68,526, of which 52,002 were related to COVID-19.
The Minister said that, under these extraordinary circumstances, Malta Enterprise is helping businesses through incentives to make key changes in the way they operate, such as subsidising professional assistance to put together new business plans or exploring new technological solutions.
Malta Enterprise CEO Kurt Farrugia stated that, as a government agency, Malta Enterprise is committed to continue supporting all enterprises. “We are committed to making the country’s recovery as effective as possible for the entire business community in Malta and Gozo,” Mr Farrugia reiterated.
Business First CEO Marika Tonna said that, now that Business First has reopened its doors to the public for physical meetings, the operations are running normally. “We invite anyone interested in opening a business to come here, and we will guide them through not only on what is needed to operate their business, but also on the schemes that they could benefit from,” she said.