Malta ranks 4th best EU country for innovative startups

Last Updated on Wednesday, 6 March, 2024 at 12:39 pm by Andre Camilleri

Local startup ecosystem ranks 4th out of 21 countries on the ESNA Startup Nations standards scale.

A survey carried out by the Europe Startup Nations Alliance among 21 EU countries found placed Malta as the 4th best destination for innovative startups.

This emerged from the first technical analysis of its kind by the startup-centric entity created by the European Union. Malta Enterprise represents Malta in ESNA.

Malta was only topped by larger countries such as Spain and France, together with Belgium. Malta was among only 10 countries which exceeded the average percentage ratings of this analysis.

The “Startup Nations standards” are 8 standards of excellence in the field of support to startups. Spain and France obtained the best ranking with 87%, followed by Belgium and Malta scoring 74% and 73% respectively.

Malta garnered a 100% mark or similar, and topped all other countries, in three specific areas:

1. the attraction and ability to retain new talent in Malta.

2. digital tools as main communication tools between startups and government entities.

3. Shortest time to register a new company. Malta also compares well on the creation of innovative laws regulating emerging sectors.

On the other hand, Malta needs to improve further on aspects such as access to finance and employee share options. To this end, Malta Enter-prise is preparing a Startup Framework with the aim of ushering an improved legislative dimension for start-ups and for start-up investors.

Malta Enterprise is also continuing to strengthen its incentives such as BStart and Startup Finance which lead to assistance up to a maximum of €1.5m.

In terms of wider financing, Government has recently announced the creation of a €10M Venture Capital Fund to assist innovative start-ups.

Malta Enterprise has been working since 2021 to create synergies amongst Government and private entities – to provide a unified voice in relation to start-ups. Such efforts are being advanced via the “StartinMalta” brand.

Minister Silvio Schembri, responsible for Economy, Enterprise, and Strategic Projects, welcomed this result saying that this will further drive efforts by Malta Enterprise and other entities in order to attract the best international companies and bolster Malta’s entrepreneurial spirit at home.

“We welcome such a report which on its end instils greater energy in our efforts to make life easier for startups in Malta. These are companies which employ fewer individuals but pay better wages. In fact, we estimate that the average wage of workers with start-ups assisted by Malta Enter-prise vary between €40,000 and €60,000. Malta Enterprise has approved 60 such projects over the last few years – projects that are expected to generate hundreds of jobs of this kind. Through our national startup framework and the first investments from the Government’s own VC fund – we will continue supporting those who are ready to innovate and improve lives globally via Malta, ” Minister Schembri said.

“Through the National Startup Framework we will change several laws following a consultation process with startups themselves. This shall reduce bureaucracy, incentivise investment and further strengthen financing for startups while facilitating employee shareholding opportunities,” Malta Enterprise CEO Kurt Farrugia said.

“We also need to advance our work to our local ecosystem via the Startup Festival and from this year the EU Startups Summit – which will held in Malta for the first time this year after 10 years hosted in another European country,” Farrugia added.

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