Virtual incubator to assist start-ups & SME’s to develop digital products of international quality that ensure user protection

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Minister Silvio Schembri says that Malta is once again at the forefront of European technology policy

Start-ups and small and medium-sized technology businesses now have the support of a virtual platform to test their products, before entering the market with a finalised quality product in line with international standards which protect the consumer.

This was announced by the Minister for the Economy and Industry, Silvio Schembri, during a press conference held at the offices of the Malta Digital Innovation Authority (MDIA). Named the ‘Technology Assurance Sandbox’, technology developers now have the possibility to be assisted by the MDIA to develop and build technologies in a virtual incubator, in line with internationally recognized standards and practices.

Minister Schembri explained how start-ups and small and medium-sized businesses which are developing digital products or services that work with innovative technologies such as DLT, AI and even technologies used in essential services such as those in the IT sector, health, safety and transport amongst others, can now participate in this virtual incubator.

He pointed out that through the ‘Technology Assurance Sandbox’, enterprises participating in the MDIA program will be assisted to improve their product, so that within a maximum of two years they will be eligible to reach the highest level of certification from the same Authority.

Schembri added that the main intention of the Government is to continue to improve and strengthen the digital local product of our country. On the one hand, there is the supplier who will be able to sell a product that is fully functional. On the other hand, the confidence of the investor / user who will invest or buy a product that has passed rigorous tests of the highest standards, recognized at European and International level which reflect the high quality of the same product.

He mentioned how once again, as a country, Malta was at the forefront of European technology policy. Digital related issues  which the Government spoke about two or three years ago, are now being discussed in the European Union;  the certification of products that use Artificial Intelligence is, for example, a case in point.

He noted how even when it comes to this ‘technology sandbox’ platform, this was a recommendation  presented by the EU a few days ago. Therefore, as Hon Schembri said, this shows Malta’s level of innovation. With such an initiative, Malta will be in a position to offer a test bed for both international companies as well as Maltese companies which are developing technologies built on AI, so that they can be guided and are gradually able to comply with the certification when it comes into force through EU regulation.

Schembri referred to the Ministry of Economy’s achieved objectives in terms of successful trade across the globe in traditional sectors such as manufacturing. He said that he looks forward to see such a model replicated and grow with the same level of optimism in the sector of digital product development.

In his concluding remarks, he said how investor and user confidence in the developed technological product  will remain a crucial tool. Thus, the MDIA will continue to work on the robust certification program for Innovative Technology that has been developed, where the necessary scrutiny by a professional and independent team of auditors would have been conducted.

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