“As a government we are aware that the financing of ideas to convert into businesses remains a challenge. As announced in this year’s budget, a fund will be established aimed at attracting venture capitalists to invest in potential new ideas” – Minister Silvio Schembri
Minister for the Economy and Industry Silvio Schembri presided over the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding which is to enhance the collaboration between the ministry and the Foundation for the Promotion of Entrepreneurial Initiatives to further encourage new ideas from prospective entrepreneurs.
“Through the Memorandum of Understanding, the ministry is investing in the Foundation for the Promotion of Entrepreneurial Initiatives to promote new and existing business and social proposals, aimed at increasing added value towards the Maltese economy, to pursue its research to strengthen such platforms through the use of new emergent technology, as well as for the Foundation to continue with its day-to-day management. This means that in a span of few weeks, the Ministry for the Economy and Industry invested €300,000 for innovative ideas to be translated into businesses. ZAAR Crowdfunding, the platform established through the Foundation for the Promotion of Entrepreneurial Initiatives, is an alternative means, amongst others, to access finances as well as attract new entrepreneurs – an approach which we are committed to support”, said Minister Schembri.
The minister also spoke about the success achieved through the ZAAR Crowdfunding platform which managed to achieve an 82% funding success rate across the board in 2020. It was crucial to springboard 26 new projects onto the market. Moreover, over the years 130 projects have been supported with an average success rate of 79% of funding – projects which vary from digital related start-ups to the implementation of innovative solutions.
“As a government we are aware that the financing of ideas to convert into businesses remains a challenge. Adding to that is the concept itself of converting ideas into businesses – an issue which we are wholly committed to address. Therefore, as announced in this year’s budget, a fund will be established aimed at attracting venture capitalists to invest in potential new ideas. And here, I extend my appeal to new investors and companies to invest and bolster the development of new ideas”, said Minister Schembri, while also commenting on the eventuality that this initiative will grow and turn into equity-based crowdfunding.
ZAAR Crowdfunding is the first offering – a donation/reward-based crowdfunding platform, to promote entrepreneurship in Malta and support local start-ups. ZAAR offers an alternative for the financing of their projects and business ideas.
Pro-Rector of the University of Malta Savior Zammit reiterated the commitment of the University of Malta to support such an initiative in order to increase access to funding for the materialisation of ideas. “The collaboration has been successful in generating funding from many donors, so we are constantly collaborating in order to help many people through the resources we offer. Government assistance has allowed us to create new aid for NGOs that have come forward, therefore we look forward to further strengthening this work”, he continued.
Matthew Caruana from ZAAR Crowdfunding said that that the main reason why ZAAR was set up was to provide an alternative source of funding for ideas to become a reality, turn into businesses, grow, and then generate value and employment. We help small businesses or new ideas take that crucial first step of raising the first round of funding that will help them move on to bigger things. Since setting up, we are pleased to say that we have helped small businesses, sustainable ideas and innovators raise funds and validate their ideas, to kick off their project or move on to the next stage of their lifecycle. We have also seen a number of artists, creatives as well as other organisations digitalise their fundraising and selling activities through the platform while becoming more entrepreneurial.
Joe Tanti, MBB CEO and Director of the Foundation for the Promotion of Entrepreneurial Initiatives (FPEI) said that, “The Malta Business Bureau and the University of Malta have developed a strategic partnership to foster University-business collaboration focused on entrepreneurship, ZAAR being our flagship initiative. The success rate of ZAAR projects that reach their funding target is running at 88%. The three start-ups which we saw today are testament to this and encourage us to work harder for better results. Without government’s support throughout these years we would not be here. For this I thank Minister Schembri and the Ministry for the Economy and Industry for continuously supporting this venture. Thanks to this agreement, we will strive to maximise potential in various areas, particularly social enterprise, but also further engagement with other technology service sectors like IT and digital gaming.”