DE [TECH] TING INNOVATION

With a highly skilled workforce, Malta provides the perfect ecosystem for growth. For those with international ambitions, Tech.mt acts as the link to facilitate connections with international organisations. Maria Debrincat, sits down with Dana Farrugia, CEO of Tech.mt , to discuss Tech.mt's vision and its aim in aiding industry growth locally and internationally

WHO IS TECH.MT? IN WHICH WAYS DOES TECH.MT CONTRIBUTE TO ESTABLISHING MALTA AS A LEADING TECH HUB?

Dyna. Tech.mtTech.mt was established by the government of Malta and the Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry, as a public-private partnership and has proven to be a strategic assistive partner to the tech sector during the past months.

Tech.mt’s mission revolves around the fundamental principles of enhancing Malta’s attractiveness for foreign direct investment, as well as facilitating international business development and innovation to the local industry.

Assisting technology companies to innovate and grow internationally lies at the heart of what we do. Tech.mt’s mandate is to seek sectorial growth and assist the technology ecosystem in establishing itself as a leading contributor to our GDP. As such, Tech.mt shall be instrumental in taking the technology industry to the next level, as it will seek to make the world notice the huge potential the technology sector in Malta has to offer.

HOW DOES MALTA COMPARE, IN YOUR OPINION, TO OTHER HUBS FOR DIGITAL INNOVATION IN EUROPE, IN THE MEDITERRANEAN REGION, AND IN THE WORLD?

Malta has become one of the most successful economies in Europe. It has been classified as one of four European Union countries with the biggest advance in the Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI) over the past five years and was one of the few European countries to experience a positive economic performance during the pandemic. While other countries struggled to cope, Malta continued to use its resilient digital infrastructure to adapt to new unprecedented norms.

Dana Tech.mtMalta has consistently strived to be ahead of the curve where technology and innovation are concerned, with tech sector growth approaching 4% in the second quarter of 2020. This demonstrates that the sector is not only a valid economic pillar in its own right, contributing 9% of GDP and employing 10,000 people, but also is an essential enabler for almost all other sectors, including government.

Malta’s foreign policy seeks to be a catalyst in the creation and in the furthering of business opportunities to draw foreign direct investment to Malta and to provide the private sector with more opportunities for business networking and for export of goods and services. Malta already rates above EU average when it comes to SMEs choosing a country to internationalise, thus reflecting that the island is already depicted as an attractive place for startups.

Malta will not simply follow other countries but actually be leading the way and becoming a key player in the technology sector.

INNOVATION IS OF FUNDAMENTAL IMPORTANCE FOR EUROPE’S ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL SYSTEM. HOW CAN MALTA SCALE ITS GAME AND CAPITALISE ON THESE KEY TRENDS?

While there are no clear guidelines to address our structural scale disadvantages, Malta has the possibility to scale innovation policies and may orient itself on examples that are already working in Europe. I believe that in order to change the rules of the game, we need to take a longer-term view on how innovation initiatives need to change into a more digital context. This would require a mind-set shift towards an open innovation–focused approach.

A diverse set of incentives are aimed to attract the smartest entrepreneurs, provide innovation funding to startups - yet heavily bureaucratic methods send precisely the opposite message. Startups need a clear pathway from early-stage innovation funding to growth stage investment.

“ Tech.mt’s mandate is to seek sectorial growth and assist the technology ecosystem in establishing itself as a leading contributor to our GDP ”

 

As competition between countries mounts and global growth slows due to COVID-19, the need to prioritise in the investment of research and development has never been stronger. Malta possesses many ingredients for successful innovation. Rather than trying to catch up with the strengths of other countries, we need to develop our own innovation models focusing on industry ecosystems and public sector digitisation.

WHAT CAN BE DONE IN ORDER TO HELP CULTIVATE A LEADERSHIP MINDSET FROM THIS CRISIS?

The future of leadership will be challenging but critical to navigating this new digital word. Leaders should be asking themselves what it entails to lead in a digital ecosystem and stay ahead of the curve.

As CEO of Tech.mt, I believe that this unprecedented new era calls for visionary leaders who despite their differences, can maintain a strong equilibrium between competition and collaboration and push for new frameworks to co-exist. Seeking new and innovative areas for collaboration, despite the divergences, is the novel art of leadership. I believe that the appetite for investment should not diminish in these trying times to secure execution of strategy in the medium-long term.“

About SiGMA's revamped website:

SiGMA Group is excited to announce the launch of its newly revamped website. The website is currently available in 5 languages, English, Russian, Mandarin, Portuguese, and Spanish with plans to add another 5 languages over the coming months - namely French, Thai, Korean, Japanese, and Hindi.

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