From Young Entrepreneur to President of The Malta Chamber

A lucky few know early on what they want to do in life, but few act upon their ambitions at the tender age of five. That is the age at which Marisa Xuereb, The Malta Chamber’s new president, started showing her entrepreneurial spirit.

“I was not born into a family business, but I was never short of ideas on how to generate value. The first one that I recall was at age five,” Xuereb says. “I wanted to organise a lottery at school to raise some funds and thought that the 8-year-olds (who were the oldest in our corridor) would have the most pocket money, so I went to their classroom to announce this lottery. I was dismissed by their teacher as a little girl with a very fertile imagination.” This early rejection did not dampen Xuereb’s enthusiasm for commerce and, although her family expected her to follow in their footsteps and choose sciences, she chose to pursue business studies. “I kept a side interest in IT, but it was economics that ultimately got me captivated,” she continues. “I completed a Master’s degree in Economics with a dissertation on game theory, which kind of closed the loop with that original lottery idea.”

Xuereb’s drive was evident from a young age. At the age of 16, she put her studies into practice when she joined the JAYE company Twist & Turn. “I joined the team within a couple of weeks of starting Sixth Form at St Aloysius College,” she recalls. “JAYE was regarded as something that you should only pursue if you were able to do it without slacking from your studies, which were given priority at the school. Within days, we were completely absorbed by it, and went on to win the National Finals. The relentless pace set the stage for everything that followed, making me want to work somewhere where challenges were the order of the day. This experience was great preparation for the fast-paced manufacturing environment I now feel so at home in.”

Apart from a penchant for challenges, JAYE provided Xuereb with skills that would give her a head start in her career. “It was one of the most impactful experiences of my formative years,” she explains. “It gave me the opportunity to approach customers, suppliers, banks and service providers with the stature of a company. So when I found myself doing the same for the company I worked for a couple of years later, it was much less daunting.”

It was, in fact, only two years later that Xuereb joined the company where she would eventually become Managing Director. “I started working there while still a first-year University student,” she says. “My first job was to develop a small payroll programme, which I did to keep my programming skills honed. Soon after, I was entrusted with the finances and, by age 25, I was running the company, and was appointed Managing Director a few years later.” While rising through the ranks, Xuereb also lectured at the University of Malta and did research work. “I wanted to strike a balance between being an economist and running a manufacturing business.”

Xuereb feels that exposing youth to real world issues while protecting them from big risks is an important part of preparing them for a successful career. “Starting a business is inherently risky, and those risks are amplified when you lack experience,” she explains. “Initiatives like JAYE provide students with a head start in terms of experience and allows them to learn the key lessons in a guided environment. It also helps them explore cooperation and competition in a very intense way and develop interpersonal skills. These are the qualities we find most lacking in new recruits and in people who have not been adequately exposed to dynamic environments.

“Nowadays, students are too concerned about the amount of money their job will make them instead of focusing on gaining experience that will serve them in the long run,” adds Xuereb. “Who you know might provide you with easy access to opportunities, but ultimately, what you can make of them depends greatly on what you know and on your ability to get people to work together.”

For more information about JAYE, visit

Malta Chamber welcomes favourable Moneyval vote

The Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry is pleased to see that the Council of Europe’s anti-money laundering expert committee has voted in favour of approving a final report on Malta.

Whilst welcoming this news, The Malta Chamber believes it is imperative to ensure continued observance of the anti-money laundering measures whilst ensuring the processes adopted do not impose disproportionate bureaucratic burdens on the financial services industry.

The Malta Chamber stresses that success can only be achieved through a unified approach, and all efforts need to be focused on maintaining the highest of standards through constant proactive action and keeping transparency at the forefront.

A Retail response to the crises: Turning a steep challenge into an unprecedented opportunity

A few days after several Maltese non-essential shop owners re-opened, the retail industry finds itself striving to work towards a value proposition tailored, more than ever, to the online world, seamlessly to the physical one.

Earlier this week, The Malta Chamber launched the second virtual event within a digital platform it published in February, creating an international marketplace for local and international players centred around retail and manufacturing.

This week’s event focused on retail, targeting various operators from the industry, putting them together with technology solution companies, corporate service providers, public bodies, and academia to learn, meet and engage in the current economic recovery phase.

Over 210 business representatives from 27 countries registered in the virtual platform launched by The Malta Chamber, facilitating business interaction amongst 63 local and international operators in retail and manufacturing, 78 service providers, 20 educational and public stakeholders and 17 project partners and EU funding experts.

The learning and engaging platform is focused on realigning retail and manufacturing business activity in the new norm, restructuring business operations, optimising the use of technology and identifying new markets internationally which embrace sustainable practices.

Speaking during a webinar on Wednesday titled Retail – The Future is NOW, sponsored by Western Union Business Solutions; Chris Vassallo Cesareo, Malta Chamber Deputy President and a retail operator himself, explained how fast movers are poised to beat the competition, not just to survive but also to thrive in the New Norm.

“The heightened willingness to purchase online has placed retailers with e-commerce integrated solutions, including online-only retailers, at a clear advantage. More than ever, this requires retail operators to contend with forthcoming changes driven by consumers’ expectations for a seamless omnichannel fulfilment, not resist it,” he said.

A second webinar, sponsored by RSM MT, focused on retail organisational fitness. Change management and business optimisation experts asked how retail operators can keep up with the rapid move towards the online channel and need to ensure eCommerce operations, not in a “crisis mode” but leveraging on potential opportunities.

The Pitching event, sponsored by BOV and, was the second one of its kind following a previous one which took place earlier this month. A combination of technical and organisational solutions was showcased during the pitching presentation, which included direct-to-consumer & Omni-channel solutions, supply chain & operations strategies and business-led IT transformation together with recruitment solutions.

Around 150 meetings were held during one-to-one online sessions which were hosted within the multipurpose platform, with all meetings pre-arranged by the participants themselves.

Sustainability at The Chamber’s core

The Malta Chamber has submitted its feedback on the public consultation for the Sustainable Development Strategy. In doing so, it has taken a holistic approach, addressing sectors ranging from energy, circular economy, sustainable mobility, and building & construction, with the overarching message that increased ambition is not only desirable but is a necessity. The drive towards sustainability, in turn, can only be achieved if it is underpinned by good governance, which truly puts the public interest first.

“The Malta Chamber recognises that economic growth must have increased quality of life, wellbeing and sustainability as its objective. Businesses must plan long-term, in sync with the European Green Deal and an economic transformation in which Malta can either lead or be dragged behind. The Malta Chamber expects leadership.” stated President of The Malta Chamber, Marisa Xuereb.

With high ambitions for sustainability as its core message, The Malta Chamber’s submission delves into concepts such as the need for a smart energy grid, organic waste to be converted into compost, and while promoting new ways of measuring success, such as through a wellbeing index which combines the work by various stakeholders on this front to date. The Malta Chamber will continue steadfastly in its mission to create a smart, sustainable island.

Download the document here.

The future of Retail demands e-commerce capabilities that deliver successful customer offerings and resilient supply chain

“The heightened willingness to purchase online has placed retailers with e-commerce integrated solutions, including online-only retailers, at a clear advantage. More than ever, this requires retail operators to contend with forthcoming changes driven by consumers’ expectations for a seamless omnichannel fulfilment, not resist it.”

Chris Vassallo Cesareo, Malta Chamber Deputy President said this during an Enterprise Europe Network event within an innovative digital learning and networking platform launched by Malta Chamber, focused on aligning retail and manufacturing businesses to the requirements of a New Norm.

The platform is aimed to help operators restructure their operations, optimise the use of technology and business operations by bringing them in contact with service providers and facilitate their preposition to penetrate international markets during one-to-one international business meetings.

Around 215 business representatives from across 27 countries registered in the virtual platform set up by The Malta Chamber since last February, facilitating business interaction amongst 65 local and international operators in retail and manufacturing, 80 service providers, over 20 educational and public stakeholders and 17 project partners and EU funding experts.

During one of 6 sessions organised within the digital platform involving 33 local and international speakers from different technological, environmental, educational, operational, retail and manufacturing industry perspectives, Mr Vassallo Cesareo – a retail operator himself – explained that retail players need to act fast on lessons learned to reinvent themselves.

He remarked how resilient supply chains that can adapt quickly during times of disruption can meet the need for a more omni-channel world, and enable the transformation with the right technology, data, and people.

“As it did last year with its Think Tank, The Malta Chamber will continue to provide foresight backed by in-depth industry knowledge through its strong functional capabilities within its membership. Our digital platform is a practical example of how we are stepping up our efforts to help retailers take a close look at their current and predicted liquidity profile and assess changes in their working capital dynamics or short-term cash forecasts to adapt to the New Norm”, Mr Vassallo Cesareo concluded.

Earlier this week, several shop owners were given the go-ahead to re-open. The Malta Chamber believes that survival and resilience need to work concurrently together since dried-up streams will need to be replaced, with E-Commerce likely to be the primary source going forward within a holistic process which requires alignment of the commercial strategy to operational execution.

The Malta Chamber welcomes Regeneration Economic Support Measures launched by Government

The Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry welcomes the launch of the regeneration incentives that have been announced by Government in addition to top-ups to existing direct support schemes. The regeneration incentives go beyond addressing the immediate liquidity needs, and are aimed at supporting and re-energising businesses and the Maltese economy in the process of recovery.

The Malta Chamber applauds the enhanced Business Re-Engineering and Transformation Scheme – ‘Change to Grow’, which it has championed since its inception back in June 2020. This scheme is now open to a wider cohort of economic operators including micro-enterprises and self-employed entrepreneurs, and the maximum grant has been doubled to €10,000 for implemented projects to further encourage uptake.

The Restart Incentive Scheme, another initiative proposed by The Malta Chamber, is also highly commendable. “In addition to business advisory support, it includes professional psychological support that shows commitment to safeguarding the mental wellbeing of entrepreneurs who are having a particularly tough time as a result of the unprecedented challenges brought about by the pandemic,” said Chamber President Ms Marisa Xuereb.

The extension of the Tax Credit Certificates issued through the Micro-Invest Scheme until 2026 is also a step in the right direction, as it enables businesses to utilise pre-pandemic tax credits that cannot be availed of before businesses become profitable again.

The ‘Smart and Sustainable Investment Scheme’ is well-aligned to The Chamber’s economic vision for 2020-2025, ‘Smart, Sustainable Island’. The Malta Chamber remains committed to supporting the business community and relevant authorities in ensuring a robust recovery through investment in human capital, digital transformation, and the adoption of sustainable technologies.

Malta Chamber Pays Courtesy Call on H.E. The President of Malta

Earlier today the Malta Chamber paid a courtesy call on H.E. Dr George Vella, President of Malta. 

Discussions focused on the initiatives that The Chamber is currently working on as well as the main thematics that have been identified by the newly elected Chamber Board of Management and Council which will lead to better education for all, more opportunities for everyone, sustainable growth and development, as well as policy support to help overcome the new realities and customer behaviour brought about by the pandemic.

The Malta Chamber thanks H.E The President for the fruitful discussion and pledges to remain Malta’s true voice of business through the provision of holistic, collective vision, well-researched approaches and unbiased forecasts.

The delegation was led by President Ms Marisa Xuereb who was accompanied by Deputy President Mr Christopher Vassallo Cesareo, Vice-President Mr Nicholas Xuereb and new CEO Dr Marthese Portelli.

Malta Chamber collaboration with Western Union Business Solutions to enhance provision of retail omnichannel solutions

“We want to delve deep on what is happening in trade supply chains not only to minimise potential impact of disruptions, particularly for retail, but also to better position our businesses for unprecedented opportunities to enter global markets.”

Speaking during the signing of a Collaboration Agreement between Malta Chamber and Western Union Business Solutions (WUBS), Ms Marisa Xuereb, Malta Chamber President explained how over the past months there were accelerated trends in both consumer expectation and business behaviour which brought changes in supply chains and cross border trade which unleashed reinvigorated needs towards instant digital payments.

This said, she explained,The Malta Chamber wants to play a more prominent role in promoting an open, trusted, and secure online business trading by engaging with industry on pertinent matters, amongst them, the cross border payment protection standards and measures enhancing online security and reliability.

Mr Mark Anthony Camilleri, Country Manager and Executive Director of Western Union Business Solutions stated that “As one of the leading providers in the payments industry, WUBS is very pleased to partner with the Malta Chamber to serve and support the preparedness of local businesses to grow internationally.”

WUBS has been paired with Malta Chamber’s Trade & Consumer Goods Committee to raise awareness on matters concerning payment solutions to enhance retail omnichannel opportunities matching consumer preferences, safely.

The Collaboration Agreement was signed in Valletta by Malta Chamber President Ms Marisa Xuereb flanked by Deputy President Mr Chris Vassallo Cesareo, together with Country Manager and Executive Director of Western Union Business Solutions Mr Mark Anthony Camilleri.

Bridging the gap between education and the workplace

During the launch of the MCAST Prospectus for 2021-2022, the President of The Malta Chamber, Marisa Xuereb, weighed in on the important role that this vocational education institution plays in bridging the gap between education and the workplace.

Ms Xuereb, who also forms part of the MCAST Board of Governors, noted that the College holds the key towards an enhanced educational system that prepares students for careers of the future. “Vocational education is at the heart of MCAST’s mission, and its success in fulfilling its role as it celebrates 20 years since its establishment depends on how industry-driven and future-focused its courses are. This requires constant dialogue between MCAST and industry, and the agility to respond to changing needs very quickly,” said The Chamber President.

“As a Chamber, we recognise that our biggest asset is our people: our ability to remain competitive in existing niches and diversify into new ones depends greatly on the quality of our workforce. MCAST and industry need to be partners in developing a workforce that will benefit the country as a whole,” said Xuereb.

The event was also addressed by MCAST Principal and CEO Prof James Calleja, MCAST President Prof Ian Refalo, and Hon. Justyne Caruana, Minister for Education.