At a launch event for the Innovation Leaders Training Programme, held at the Exchange Buildings in Valletta, the Malta Business Bureau (MBB) announced its plans to boost SME take-up of three key EU funding streams.
The Innovation Leaders Training Programme runs until June 2015, with the aim to train 150 applicants from within the private sector, resulting in at least 15 project proposals presented for funding under the Horizon 2020, Erasmus+ and Creative Europe streams. Additionally, following the closure of the project, it is anticipated that the 15 individuals who submitted their project proposals, will train and mentor an additional 30 individuals by 2017.
As the take up of Direct EU funds by the local private sector was still largely unexploited, this was a notably significant proposed outcome particularly when the funding streams involved could provide funding opportunities in areas such as creativity, training, research and development.
Opening the event, MBB President Mario Spiteri commented that experience had shown that the take-up of Direct EU funds from Maltese businesses was very low. There were many reasons behind this, with the most evident being a lack of knowledge and resources and therefore, he continued it was a priority for the MBB to address this issue. The Innovation Leaders Programme was a key measure through which we will build and strengthen the capacity within enterprises to tap into Direct EU funding themselves.
Addressing attendees, Parliamentary Secretary for EU Funds Hon. Dr Ian Borg stated that the public sector had considerable expertise in applying for EU funds through ministerial funding stream coordinators. However, they could only assist enterprises to apply for funds – being awarded these funds depends upon the quality of the initiative and the proposal. Hence, the MBB’s initiative provided the industry with a much needed and welcome bridge, through which industry’s capacity to develop relevant and strong initiatives could be boosted and therefore could be funneled towards the appropriate public contact points.
The event was also addressed by MBB CEO Mr. Joe Tanti and EPA Secretary General Ms. Katarina Sipic, who highlighted expected benefits from the programme for Maltese enterprises.