Kordin Business Incubation Centre celebrates 20 years of assisting startups

Kordin Business Incubation Centre has been hosting startups for 20 years

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Malta Enterprise provides a plug and play industrial space solution at KBIC   

Malta Enterprise has been managing the Kordin Business Incubation Centre (KBIC) for twenty years from which a number of success stories have persevered. KBIC had hosted a number of companies during the years, which today made a name for themselves, and are operating from much bigger premises, such as Sentech, Inspectra, JTI and Recoop among others.

The Centre, of around 6,000 m₂ hosts various economic activities such as manufacturing, life sciences, digital games, 3D printing, research & development, the creative industries, and digital based activities.

Cain Grech, Head Business Development Malta at Malta Enterprise

Cain Grech, Head of Business Development Malta explains that ‘Apart from providing the companies with a location from which to operate, KBIC also gives them the possibility to collaborate with startups from other markets, as well as benefit from a variety of schemes and grants provided by Malta Enterprise. Our team here is in constant communication with the companies, and therefore is in a very good position to guide them through our schemes according to their needs.’

While some entrepreneurs succeed right off the bat, others might easily become discouraged by the lack of a quick, positive response. Cain Grech, believes that the KBIC hub can help them too. “We encourage entrepreneurs who might think there isn’t a market for their product or service to approach us and tell us how we can help them,” he says, adding that today’s small businesses are the big companies of tomorrow, and that Malta Enterprise is there to support startups beyond the initial stages.

Recently, Malta Enterprise enhanced its services by signing an agreement with the Malta Chamber of Commerce, enabling startups at KBIC to become members of the Chamber covering the fees of the first year of membership. Thanks to this membership, these young companies will get to enjoy many benefits, including industry training and information sharing, exposure to the Maltese entrepreneurial ecosystem, mentorship and a link to various entities that can help accelerate their growth.

This complements Malta Enterprise’s leading efforts within the national startup ecosystem, in the light of the launch of a dedicated portal targeting startups, which has been recently launched; startinmalta.com.

Some of KBIC’s success stories

Nutri biotech Services

A number of local and foreign startups have been using KBIC services. Currently, the KBIC hub hosts 13 companies which offer innovative services and products, one of which isNutri Biotech Services, a company that researches animal nutrition products. “We started at Kordin Business Incubation Centre in 2017 from a small unit on the upper level and are now in the process of moving to a bigger space on the lower level where we can expand our activities,” says Managing Director Ing Charles Saliba. “We don’t sell in Malta and are 100% export-oriented, so we are looking for markets on a global scale. That is why, in recent months, we have felt the need for more space to work from since we have been focussing on expanding into the Asian market.”

Nutribiotech extracts padina which is exported and manufactured into pet nutrition food, for which the company holds a patent.

Although Nutri Biotech does not manufacture products, the move to KBIC was essential to its operations as it needed a base from which to carry out research and development, explains Ing Saliba. “We develop ideas and concepts that we test on international markets, which will then determine whether we can create products for those markets. The ability to have a facility where we can run our product and market testing is essential to our long-term growth. We wouldn’t have been able to do this kind of work without KBIC’s help.”

Raven Learning Experience Platform

Raven Learning Experience Platform is another startup that has been operating from KBIC for the past year, with a mission to create a digital platform where aviation-related training can be collated and made easily accessible to learners and professionals in the industry. Students can train live via Zoom or follow pre-recorded lessons using a microlearning approach, which delivers information in short, easy-to-follow bursts.

Production of aviation-related training at Raven Learning Experience Platform.

The platform also provides a space for social interaction between professionals in the aviation sector, whether they are students who are still learning the ropes or organisations that can mentor them. “The idea stemmed from the lack of accessibility to education and training within the aviation industry,” explains Kristian Farrugia, co-founder and CEO of Raven. “Aviation training is often fragmented and not consolidated in one place. Raven aims to be that single digital area where people can come together and interact.”

Mr Farrugia attributes his personal success and that of Raven to the consistent support from Malta Enterprise and KBIC. “They have been a huge help, not only to the company, but also in my career. I graduated in Engineering in 2007 and worked in aviation for 10 years. I then trained in Management and, later, in Air Traffic Management in the UK, when I was also supported by Malta Enterprise. Once I finished my studies, we started this digital business that is being fully supported by Malta Enterprise, including the setting up of an e-learning development studio for organisations to develop training on the site at KBIC. The help that Malta Enterprise gives to Raven and other startups is fundamental to their success.”

Thought3D

A third tenant, Thought3D was founded by a team of local and foreign entrepreneurs. Thought3D’s mission is to tackle the problems faced by the 3D-printing industry, one at a time. The first product the team created was a water-based adhesive, under the brand Magigoo, which is now used by the 3D-printing industry worldwide. “It solves one of the industry’s biggest problems: that of plastic detaching from the build plate during printing. To fix this, Magigoo is an all-in-one adhesive designed to keep 3D prints in place while being processed and then to allow easy removal once printing is complete,” explains Andrei-Andy Linnas, co-founder of Thought3D.

Magigoo is the main product of Thought3D which provides a solution to the 3D printing industry around the world.

“Our company has received a lot of help from the Maltese government, specifically from Malta Enterprise, from the very beginning. Our first production rooms were set up at KBIC, and we have since tapped into various Research and Development schemes, as well as Feasibility Study and Business Development grants. Without that money, we wouldn’t have reached where we are today.”

Thought3D now sells Magigoo in 30 countries, with a network of 140 partners. The team is currently made up of 10 employees, five of whom joined during the past year, and Mr Linnas and his colleagues hope to keep growing at the same rate. “We wish to become a material pre- and post-processing company. We also aim to launch hardware products to solve another issue in the 3D-printing industry: that of drying plastics before they’re printed,” he adds.

For more information visit startinmalta.com, email info@startinmalta.com or call on 2542 0000.

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