The Small and Medium Enterprises Committee
The SME Committee aims to assist SMEs, with a focus on micro enterprises. The Committee is dedicated to providing assistance in trade queries and business opportunities, improving Access to Finance conditions for SMEs, reviewing legislation incoming from the EU focused on SMEs (Small Business Act), as well as organizing seminars and information meetings on topical issues such as upcoming regulations as well as issues affecting SMEs.
For further information please contact
Mr Andre Fenech on firstname.lastname@example.org
Mr. Mario Duca - Chairman
Mr. Lorenzo Mule Stagno
Ms. Andrea Cassar
Mr. Peter Sant
Mr. Alex Aquilina
Mr. Doris Sammut
Ing. Frank Galea
Mr Noel Cassar
Mr. Andre Fenech
Practical Succession Planning
This week, the Malta Chamber SME Committee in collaboration with FBS2M Family Business Solutions, a division within 2M Management Consultancy Ltd, held a seminar on practical succession planning. The seminar covered a number of issues which must be addressed when planning family business succession, in order to ensure a smooth transition between the current owners to the next family generation. This seminar also provided practical advice about such decision-making to help a family business accomplish a successful business transfer. The seminar was opened by Director General Ing. Ray Muscat.
SME Committee Chairman Mr Mario Duca gave a presentation on the Build-up to the Succession Process. His presentation covered:
- The different parts of the succession process
- The CEO’s personal challenge – preparing for a new life
- Developing effective successors
- Preparing the family for a successful succession
- The new roles of the leader and successors
- Understanding family tensions
Following Mr Duca was Mr Ken McCracken, Family Business Consultant, FBS2M Family Business Solutions, who discussed Practical succession Planning Processes. Mr McCracken used case studies to share practical tips with the audience, the problems that may surface as well as how to solve them.
In her closing address, Malta Chamber President Mrs Helga Ellul said that emotion is an incredible driver of family businesses. She explained that sometimes, a family business can be like golden handcuffs, being a great opportunity on one hand, but a challenge on the other, as the children are expected to fulfil their parents’ expectations. “Indeed, sometimes we compromise ourselves because we pass our business to someone who is not the right person for the job,” she said. Mrs Ellul concluded that ownership is not the same thing as running the business, and this should be taken into account when passing the family business on to the next generation.
SME Committee meets Dr. Joanna Drake
In recent days, the Malta Chamber SME Committee, led by Chairman Mr Mario Duca met with Dr. Joanna Drake, Director of Promotion of SMEs' competitiveness within DG Enterprise & Industry. The meeting was also attended by Director General, Ing. Ray Muscat, and Executive, Ms Jeanelle Catania.
During the meeting Mr Duca highlighted the aims and initiatives of the SME Committee, as well as the concerns of local small businesses, in particular concerns at an EU level, which are within Dr. Drake’s remit.
Mr Duca noted that companies’ concern was related to the Small Business Act, and what the EU was doing to encourage Government to implement this important and beneficial Act. He also pointed out that the SBA itself and the Think Small First Principle needed further enhancement, especially within the designing of EU Programmes, where over regulation and excessive controls hamper this principle.
The SME Committee pointed out that EU policy documents need to address the challenges of different countries, since statistics do not take into consideration certain issues that hamper competitiveness on a country-by-country basis. Due to its small size, Malta lacks the opportunity for inter-regional trade, which is non-existent. Therefore if an SMES intends to expand, it is bound do so only through internationalisation. In this regard Dr. Drake encouraged the Committee to lobby with Government representatives at EU level on policy.
Further on the challenges SMEs to internationalise, Dr. Drake described a recent survey carried out with European SMES, which among other issues highlighted the barriers to internationalisation for SMES. These included the price of their own product or service and the high cost of internationalisation as internal barriers, and lack of capital, adequate information, adequate public support and the costs of or difficulties with paperwork associated with transport, as external barriers.
European SME Week 2010
The Malta Chamber SME Committee would like to inform members that the Ministry of Finance, the Economy and Investment has launched its programme for the 2010 SME Week.
During this year’s SME Week, an Enterprise Mobile Unit will be at different commercial localities replying to queries related to business expansion, funding schemes, and other business related enquiries.
For a full programme of the events during this week, please click here.
Small Business Act position paper
This document reviews the Small Business Act, as well as including recommendations for implementation in the local scenario. These recommendations include institutional support, with the need for various Government institutions, primarily Malta Enterprise, to be strengthened and allocated additional human and financial resources in order to ensure that further assistance is provided in areas such as entrepreneurship, clustering and internationalisation. The Committee also notes the importance of monitoring the implementation of the SBA, with the development of a score card to monitor the implementation of suggestions presented by the Malta Chamber and other stakeholders. The SME Committee believes that the implementation process must be designed in coherence to the nature of small SMEs, their lack of financial and human resources and their limited timeframes.
European Investment Bank Loans
In reply to a consultation by BUSINESSEUROPE on EIB loans, the Committee stated that Maltese SMEs are not fully aware of EIB loans. The amount of EIB lending in Malta has been mainly attributed to large infrastructural projects such as the financing of large companies' operations and expansion in Malta and the financing of projects for state owned companies. The Committee also stated that up until now, there is no direct EIB funding for SMEs as Maltese banks are funding SMEs. It is very important that the EIB: partners with local banks and is more flexible; assists in the area of offering Risk Capital, Seed capital and Mezzanine finance; and assists by having a venture capital fund available for small countries in the Euro Mediterranean region.
In a reply to another consultation conducted by BUSINESSEUROPE, the Committee explained that in Malta, there is no distinction between family owned businesses and other businesses in legislation. Hence, there exists no dedicated approach towards family businesses in national policies, in spite of the significant number of family businesses and their effect on the Maltese economy. In the previous legislature, a Parliamentary Secretariat was created focusing specifically on Small Businesses and Self-Employed within the Ministry for Competitiveness and Communication, which, in this current legislature, has been removed.
The Malta Chamber through its SME Committee has started giving more importance to the needs of family businesses, through discussions regularly held with representatives of the Ministry of Finance, Economy and Investment so as to develop additional initiatives that will further promote Family Businesses. The SME Committee is in favour of facilitating Family Businesses' operations, focusing on the weaknesses that arise from the family business model, primarily good governance and succession planning.
Launch of Linking Enterprise
Linking Enterprise was launched on the 8th May, by Malta Chamber President Helga Ellul, during a press conference at the Exchange Buildings in Valletta. This initiative will consist of visits that are led by a host company, giving members the unique opportunity to learn from their peers how success has been achieved.
During his speech, Malta Chamber SME Committee Chairman, Mario Duca, described the various problems that are faced by SMEs He said that through initiatives such as Linking Enterprise, the SME Committee is assisting members in gaining knowledge on how to enhance their business performance. The first visit, which was held at Playmobil Malta on the 11th May, was fully subscribed.
Malta Chamber Director-General, Ing. Ray Muscat, explained the benefits of participating in the initiative. Companies joining the programme will get the opportunity to benchmark their performance and learn new ways to enhance their business performance; as well as see the actual link between theory and practical application. Visitors will also learn about the principles of a particular best practice topic. The advantages of taking part in these visits are numerous. By looking outside one's own working environment and industry sector, one will find different processes, technologies and solutions that could make a significant contribution to one's own business performance.
Linking Enterprise First Visit
The first visit to kick off the Linking Enterprise initiative was held at Playmobil Malta on 11th May, with twenty-four participants in attendance. Following a brief introduction by Malta Chamber Policy Development Manager, Mr Andre Fenech, the participants were given an introduction to Playmobil Malta by Chief Operating Officer, Mr Matthias Fauser.
The main presentation, ‘Driving Production at the Speed of Customer Demand' was given by Mr Fauser and Mr Robert Cauchi, Playmobil's Kanban Logistics and Export Manager. Their presentation included an explanation of the previous processes in place, as well as the benefits and results of the new processes set in place.
The high point of the visit was the factory tour, where participants were given the chance to see the processes explained previously. "We at Playmobil were very proud to be given the chance to host the first visit of the Linking Enterprise activity," said Mr Fauser. He said that Playmobil strongly believes in this initiative, as it is vital that different organisations get to know each other better and also use opportunities to learn from each other. "From the response we received, it was clear that there is a demand for this type of "benchmarking"," he added. Mr Fauser also thanked the Malta Chamber team for all the hard work which was put in to get this initiative started.
Linking Enterprise at Forestals
On 17th November, a Linking Enterprise event was organised at Forestals Ltd. The event which was very well attended was opened by the group's Managing Director and Malta Chamber Deputy President, Mr Tancred Tabone. Mr Etienne Borg Cardona, Director, delivered a presentation about the group's history and how Forestals has reinvented itself on several occasions to remain relevant within the local context. Mr Borg Cardona said that the company always tried to look ahead and they have always tried to diversify their operations. Following this presentation, Mr Tancred Tabone accompanied participants around the head office, and the flagship retail outlet, explaining what had been done to make the building energy and environmental efficient
Participants were then given a presentation by Mr Keith Fearne, Managing Director of the newly set up ICT Solutions Limited, which is a joint venture between Forestals and KLF consulting Ltd. Mr John Farrugia Randon also presented the latest technology being launched on the market namely the Promethean Interactive white board and showcased the potential of this new product for enterprises.
Linking Enterprise was also held at ST Microelectronics, in collaboration with the Manufacturing Economic Group. Further information can be found in the Economic Groups Section.