‘Disrupt. Startup. Malta.’ was the title of a conference held last Friday 17th July, at the Intercontinental Hotel St. Julian’s. The conference was organised by the Malta Communications Authority (MCA) in collaboration with the TAKEOFF Business Incubator and StartUp Weekend Malta and forms part of a series of initiatives undertaken by the MCA, aimed at promoting and facilitating ICT innovation.
The conference addressed the central role start-ups are playing in an ever more globalised digital economy, the early stages of business start-ups and how Malta can serve as home for startup activity, capitalising on disruptive innovation. The event served to explore the start-up phenomenon through business, policy and investor perspectives. Representatives from well known organisations, such as Seedcamp, Amazon AWS and Citrix gave a personal insight into their experience in international start-ups and early investment. CEO testimonials from companies such as Oulala, Mighty Box, Trackerbird, Discountif, Altaro, Pirate Roaming and HotJar, all success stories in their own right, served to further fuel healthy discussion on the subject. Various other local and international speakers with investment, coaching and entrepreneurial backgrounds contributed to the ensuing debate.
In his opening address, the Hon. Dr José Herrera, Parliamentary Secretary for Competitiveness and Economic Growth welcomed the mix of local and foreign participation and interest in the topic. He argued that “Malta’s economy needs to appeal to those wanting to innovate within European markets and beyond, at a time when digital markets are opening new doors.” “Malta needs to be nimble enough to transform disruption into an opportunity by locating and developing a unique proposition”.
On his part, in this closing address Dr Edward Woods, Chairman at the MCA stressed that, as the national authority tasked to advance communications technologies, the MCA has a responsibility to ensure that ICT advancements translate into net benefits for the economy and society in general. He said that “beyond access to technology, we need to look into increasing the startup eco system by attracting talent, startups, and entrepreneurs and turning Malta into a fertile ground for idea generation and startup execution”. He added that “The MCA is duty bound to work with all the relevant public and private stakeholders to take this agenda forward whilst remaining committed in its efforts in this regard.”
The conference served as a backdrop to the Startup Weekend Malta 2015, an event which took place between the 17-19th July at the University Campus and which brought together people from different walks of life looking to kick start a business idea in Malta.