Driving private sector development through EU-funded projects

Last Updated on Tuesday, 10 October, 2023 at 10:31 am by Andre Camilleri

Timothy Alden is Senior Projects Executive (Sustainability) at the Malta Business Bureau

In today’s rapidly evolving economic landscape, making full use of the benefits of EU membership is crucial for a member state’s growth and sustainability. The advantages of being integrated into the Single Market have yet to be fully tapped, and EU-funded projects present an opportunity for Malta’s business community to develop further through various initiatives. EU-funded projects play a key role in bolstering private sector growth, producing innovative digital tools and resources, carrying out research and creating cross-border synergies.

Another benefit of EU-funded projects is the facilitation of knowledge transfer. These projects provide a platform for the exchange of expertise, ideas, and best practices from other Member States. EnergyEfficiency4SME (EE4SME), a LIFE funded project currently being led by Eurochambres, is a case in point. The consortium is carrying out energy audits across Europe, as well as identifying best practices and benchmarks for energy efficiency in manufacturing companies and the HORECA segment. Malta Business Bureau (MBB) and the Energy & Water Agency (EWA) are participating, allowing Malta to tap into the wealth of knowledge available. Through the project, Maltese partners are able to identify energy efficiency solutions relevant to Malta’s unique circumstances. EU-funded projects such as EE4SME also offer the opportunity for economic and thematic data collection, enabling a deeper understanding of market trends and challenges.

Another significant aspect of EU-funded projects is the development or importation of digital infrastructure. These investments provide the necessary framework for businesses to thrive in the digital age. By embracing cutting-edge technologies and digital advancements, Maltese entities can gain a competitive edge in the global market. By participating in the EE4SME consortium composed of over 20 institutions and businesses from across Europe, MBB and EWA are working together to develop a digital tool that will help businesses to identify financing opportunities to become more sustainable.

EU-funded projects can be instrumental in driving the various transformations required for Malta’s ongoing sustainable development. This can also include the importation of technology or operational practices, shifting to a higher value economic model, transitioning to green and sustainable practices, and adopting circular economy principles. Moreover, projects can explore emerging economic models such as Doughnut Economics, combining and further developing existing economic frameworks.

Collaboration is the linchpin of successful private sector development, and EU-funded projects facilitate this internationalisation. By leveraging networks of public and private stakeholders, Malta can tap into their collective knowledge, infrastructure, analysis, and solutions. Collaborative projects provide a platform for sharing resources, expertise, and experiences, fostering innovation and growth. Projects also facilitate the drafting and submission of further initiatives in turn.

The ultimate vision of sustainability-focused consortia is to empower the public and private sectors with state-of-the-art knowledge, research findings, innovative technologies, and robust digital and AI infrastructure. Such advancements will bring tangible benefits to Maltese and European businesses, enhancing their competitiveness on a global scale. Achieving this vision requires ongoing commitment and active participation from all stakeholders.

Timothy Alden may be contacted at talden@mbb.org.mt.

The Malta Business Bureau is the EU business advisory organisation of The Malta Chamber and The Malta Hotels and Restaurants Association. It is also a partner of the Enterprise Europe Network.

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In 1994, the Malta Business Weekly became the first newspaper fully dedicated to business. Today this newspaper is a leader in business and financial news. Together with the launch of the MBW newspaper, the company started organising various business breakfasts to discuss various current issues that were targeting the business community in Malta.