Enterprise Europe Network (EEN) is the largest support network for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) which helps them innovate and grow on an international scale. The network is active in more than 60 countries worldwide. In Malta, 4 local organisations – Malta Enterprise, the Malta Business Bureau, the Malta Chamber of Commerce and the Malta Council for Science and Technology – have come together and pooled their resources to offer a more consolidated and value-added service to the local business community.
The Malta EEN Network is also supported by the MELIITA project (funded through Horizon 2020 and COSME) and aims to support the smart growth of the Maltese SMEs by increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of investments in research, development and innovation.
The virtualisation of EEN brokerage activities and events, due to the COVID-19 pandemic; brought increased participation of SMEs, with MCST contributing to over 25 B2B meetings representing different clients. The consortium also introduced tailored support services on COVID-19 measures and general assistance to SMEs. The consortium successfully organised the EUO4Business online which saw the participation of over 100 local SME experts, business owners and entrepreneurs. The digital event format provided a prime opportunity to address how Maltese SMEs can access finance, find new business partners, and adapt for the future. Over 30 national and EU experts and SME owners presented information and shared business success stories about the many services and funding opportunities the EU offers to SMEs.
Malta Council for Science and Technology, on behalf of the Ministry for Equality, Research and Innovation has joined the project GO-SME which is funded by the EU programme Horizon 2020, aiming to share the experience with the support of start-ups and small and medium enterprises and level differences in the form and quality of support across individual EU members. The GO-SME project brings together national and regional agencies supporting research and innovation from 12 European countries. The common interest of agencies lies in exchanging experiences and developing common quality standards for the preparation of national and regional support schemes for innovative start-ups. In this call, international evaluators will select the best start-ups that will receive tailor-made professional coaching and financial contribution for the further development of their product or service with global potential. The project has started in May 2021 and in the next 2 years will focus on the following activities:
- learning from best practices already applied in support schemes for innovative SMEs and startups,
- increasing the motivation of agencies from widening countries to design innovation support schemes for SMEs and start-ups,
- cooperation in designing comparable support schemes with the sets of similar criteria,
- sharing best practices in the work with (international) projects’ evaluators and sharing their pools,
- learning from best practices in providing coaching and mentoring services to innovative SMEs and start-ups,
- setting up and sharing mutual pools of coaches and mentors,
- offering special services to running projects which will be selected as the most promising by an independent international panel.
After completing the pilot call and finalizing the recommendations, the GO-SME project has the ambition to become part of the European support scheme for innovative SMEs, EIC Accelerator, in the form of the so-called plug-in mechanism. At the same time, it can serve as a pilot project for a possible partnership co-funded from innovation ecosystems in the Horizon Europe programme. www.go-sme.com
The BLUEMED project is a Coordination and Support Action funded by the Horizon 2020 Programme aimed at supporting the implementation of the BLUEMED initiative as a key policy reference for all actors of the Blue Growth in the Mediterranean. The project aims also to promote and implement the BLUEMED Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda (SRIA) by converting its outputs into actions. The project aims also to promote and implement the BLUEMED Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda (SRIA) by converting its outputs into actions. The project is coordinated by the National Research Council (CNR) and is composed of 11 beneficiaries from 9 different countries. Malta is represented in the project by the Malta Council for Science and Technology and is responsible for a number of tasks including the coordination of Work Package dealing with the Start-up Actions. MCST also represents Malta at the meetings of the Group of Senior Officials Working Group, an overarching body tasked with the promotion and extension of the BLUEMED Initiative to non-EU countries.
MCST, as Work Package 4 Leader, worked in close collaboration with the BLUEMED Coordinator as well as with all BLUEMED CSA partners and continued administering the implementation of the Start-Up Actions (SUAs) on Blue Growth in the Mediterranean, funded by the project.
SuAs are understood as networking meetings and seminars leading up to the drafting of a feasibility study on an issue of particular relevance to blue growth in the Mediterranean in general and to the BLUEMED SRIA in particular.
The four Start-up Actions are:
- BlueBoatsMed: Foresight on cruise and recreational boating, their potential for transition towards a blue economy in the Mediterranean and associated environmental challenges, Coordinated by Plan Bleu, France with partners from Italy, Croatia, Spain, Tunisia, and France.
- SEALINES: Mediterranean Safety Network, Coordinated by the Ministry of Economic Development and Bicocca University of Milan, Italy with other partners from Italy, Egypt, Greece, Tunisia, Italy, Croatia, and Cyprus.
- ECOMEDPORT: Feasibility study of an ecosystem-oriented plant for sediments management in Mediterranean ports and marinas, Coordinated by the University of Bologna, Italy, with other partners from Italy, Tunisia, Lebanon, and Greece.
- LabMAF: Developing a Labelling Scheme for Mediterranean Small-scale and Artisanal Fish Products, Coordinated by the Euro-Mediterranean University EMUNI, in Slovenia, with partners from Malta, UK, Spain, Italy, Portugal, Lebanon and France.
This article was last updated on: October 26, 2021