Malta’s Sheroes: Women Entrepreneurs Shaping Tomorrow


#LeadingLadiesMalta #SheMeansBusiness #MaltaInnovators

Nestled in the heart of the Mediterranean, the picturesque archipelago of Malta is growing into a hotspot for women entrepreneurs. While known for its rich history, stunning landscapes and vibrant culture, this island nation is prominently gaining recognition for a different kind of treasure – its women-led businesses.

In recent years, Malta has solidified its position as an attractive destination for businesses, seeking to set up in a thriving and encouraging ecosystem. With its robust economy, Malta provides businesses with an entry point to the prosperous European Union market, supported by a well-regulated and dependable banking system. The advantageous tax structure & substantial government backing add to Malta’s allure for entrepreneurs and investors. Malta, like its European counterparts, recognizes that gender diversity in the workforce and entrepreneurial landscape is essential for sustainable growth and economic development.

In this Maltese resurgence, women entrepreneurs have emerged as the ‘unsung heroes’. Their stories of innovation, perseverance, and determination are carving a unique space in the business world. Supported by government initiatives and a growing ecosystem that champions diversity, women entrepreneurs in Malta are rewriting the entrepreneurial narrative, inspiring future generations, and driving the nation towards an inclusive and prosperous future.

#MaltaEntrepreneurs #EmpowerHERMalta #MediterraneanBusinessWomen

Here are some schemes, policies and initiatives that are directed at women entrepreneurs in Malta.

> Business Development Scheme

This scheme provides vital support to businesses during their growth and expansion phases, covering a range of activities – from the establishment of an operational base in Malta to expansion projects, consolidation of activities, and other initiatives that contribute to the regional development of Malta. The Business Development scheme provides aid in the form of tax credits or a cash grant of up to €200,000; and this aid supports various costs, including relocation costs of key personnel and tangible assets, payroll costs, lease and rental of real estate, advisory and support services, acquisition of rights, licenses and certifications, procurement of tangible assets and services and materials required for the construction and development of manufacturing facilities.

This scheme is available to eligible businesses until 31 st  December 2023, making it a timely opportunity for those looking to grow and succeed in Malta.

> Invest – Support for Initial Investment Projects

The process of obtaining initial funding when starting a business can be quite challenging. In this regard, Malta Enterprise has launched the ‘Support for Initial Investment Projects’ scheme that provides initial investment support to eligible enterprises engaged in an array of activities, including, among others, manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, R&D, industrial services, computer programming and audio-visual productions.

Such a support is aimed at facilitating access to funding and accelerating the return on investment may be granted through loan guarantees, interest rate subsidies, cash grants and tax credits. To take advantage of this scheme, eligible investment projects must be completed by 31st December 2026.

> Micro Invest

The Micro Invest scheme provides a powerful incentive for self-employed individuals, micro-enterprises, and SMEs with up to 50 employees and audited turnover not exceeding €10M, to invest in their businesses.

By doing so, a portion of their investment will be transformed into valuable tax credits. Depending on the location, businesses in Malta could receive 45% of eligible expenses as tax credits, while businesses in Gozo could receive up to 65% (or even 80% for start- ups).

These tax credits can then be applied towards the taxes owed from their business activities for the relevant financial year, subject to certain limits. With a maximum eligible tax credit of €50,000 (or €70,000 for businesses in Gozo, family businesses, and female-owned undertakings) over any period of three consecutive fiscal years, this scheme is a valuable opportunity for SMEs to grow and thrive.


> Malta SME Week

According to Malta’s 2018 National Reform Programme it was stated that “The Government is committed to continue increasing labour market participation rates for all groups including females, young people, older workers and long-term unemployed”. And as part of the 2020 Strategy, Malta aimed at reaching an employment rate of 70% of people aged 20 to 64 by 2020.

As far as entrepreneurial culture and social capital goes, there are a large number of initiatives and organizations that promote an entrepreneurial culture. For example, the Malta SME Week organized by the Ministry for the Economy, Investment and Small Businesses promotes entrepreneurship to potential entrepreneurs and offers workshops for those who are already in business. An event entitled Women Mean Business is held every year as part of the SME Week.
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> The National Enterprise Support Awards

The National Enterprise Support Awards, which are organized by the Ministry for the Economy, Investment and Small Businesses, aim to foster awareness of the importance of entrepreneurship. One of the award categories is “Responsible and Inclusive Entrepreneurship” – to recognise initiatives to promote entrepreneurship among under-represented or disadvantaged groups including people with disabilities, theunemployed, migrants & people from ethnic minorities.

In addition to these activities that target the entire population, there are some organizations that promote entrepreneurship within the social target groups and help them build networks.

The non-government sector is very active in Malta in promoting entrepreneurship and working to build social capital and entrepreneurial networks, along with several higher education institutions. This can be effective because many actors in the non-government sector have close ties to the business community, which are needed to build social capital for entrepreneurship.

> Academy for Women Entrepreneurs

Funded by U.S. Embassy Malta, the Academy for Women Entrepreneurs was a training programme – aimed at a cohort of early-stage business owners or non-business owners who aspired to becoming entrepreneurs.

Participants were women aged around 25 or over, having a post-secondary level of education and higher, aspiring to start a business, or having recently started a business. Apart from a training programme led by The Malta Chamber, the participants were also granted the opportunity to pitch their business idea in front of three expert judges, resulting in two winners who received $7,000 and $3,000 respectively in seed money to launch their business idea.

The aim is – to provide women entrepreneurs with the skills and resources needed to start and scale successful businesses through U.S-style online training with local guided facilitation.

To foster networks that support the participants’ access to peer-to-peer mentorship, business partners, and scaling opportunities with businesses in the region.

> The Foundation for Women Entrepreneurs (FWE)

The Foundation for Women Entrepreneurs (FWE) is an independent non-profit organization that aims to promote opportunities in Women Entrepreneurship. The Foundation for Women Entrepreneurs, Malta has been set up for the promotion of opportunities, awareness building, training and research in the field of Women Entrepreneurs and other gender issues.

The foundation aims at establishing entrepreneurship as a culture and way of life for women – not only business owners, but workers, mothers and citizens on a national, European and Mediterranean level. It believes in promoting initiatives that foster the creation of women entrepreneurial networks that are accessible by the majority of women this is seen an over-arching structure for creating awareness of impact that women entrepreneurs can have on the national and regional economy, and helping prospective entrepreneurs to develop themselves.

They believe that it is of great importance – to create an awareness of the issues, challenges and social relevance of creating an entrepreneurial culture in women including all ethnic, social, geographical, religious and other minority groups.

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