Recent figures released by the National Statistics Office in relation to data collected through the Community Innovation Survey for the three-year period 2016 to 2018 show that between 2016 and 2018, 865 enterprises employing at least 10 persons, (or 37.6 per cent of the surveyed enterprises), undertook innovation activity in that period.
Results show that 448 enterprises were engaged in both product and business process innovation, 313 enterprises were engaged in business process innovation only, 85 enterprises were solely engaged in product innovation, and 19 enterprises performed Research and Development only or had ongoing/abandoned their innovation activities.
Innovation expenditure for 2018 was estimated at €175 million, with enterprises with the highest total expenditure forming part of information and communication sectors, financial and insurance activities and manufacturing, amounting to to 35.7, 25.6 and 16.3 per cent respectively of the total expenditure.
Meanwhile, the survey also showed that only 9.9 per cent (228 enterprises) of the surveyed enterprises applied for an intellectual property right or licence. Most enterprises (105 enterprises) applied for a trademark only.
Most common identified constraints to innovate included excessive competition in the market (118 enterprises), lack of skilled employees within the enterprise (100 enterprises) and exorbitant innovation costs (86 enterprises).
Only 17.9 per cent of the total innovative enterprises successfully obtained either equity or debt finance, and only one in every five of these enterprises used (partly or fully) these funds for R&D or other innovation activities.
The number of innovative enterprises which had acquired technical services during the three years was 436, which amounts to 50.4 per cent of the total innovative enterprises. Most enterprises (93.3 per cent) acquired such services from private business enterprises only. Conferences, trade fairs or exhibitions and information from professional or industry associations were the main channels used by enterprises to acquire knowledge.
Out of the total enterprises surveyed, 46.4 per cent formed part of an enterprise group, of which 75.7 per cent of these had their head office located in Malta while the remaining companies had their head office located in the European Union (EU), European Free Trade Association (EFTA) and the rest of the world, amounting to 11.1, 1.0 and 12.2 per cent respectively.