At its most fundamental level, the Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry is a networking tool that enables people in business to connect with others in a setting that is geared towards the improvement of the overall business environment. But what may arguably be considered an intimidating forum to young or new members is now being facilitated through the setting up of the Young Chamber Network (YCN).
As the chair of the committee tasked with effecting the network, Marisa Xuereb lists this factor specifically as a main driving force behind the initiative. She acknowledges that “younger entrepreneurs may find it a little daunting to approach the Chamber” but asserts that the purpose of the YCN is to “create an environment that is welcoming to younger entrepreneurs and that can help them establish themselves within the Chamber.”
Dr Gianella Farrugia, Legal Consultant, SMM Group
“Having your ideas heard and considered among businesspeople who have been in the scene for tens of years is not the easiest of things,” acknowledges Dr Gianella Farrugia, YCN member and Legal Consultant at SMM Group acknowledges, whilst thanking the institution for welcoming new blood. Her enthusiasm in reaction to the Chamber’s new direction is evident: “the YCN has the potential to be a powerful forum for sustainable business growth,” she explains, adding that it is likely to affect how Malta is seen as a player in the international scene.
Besides facilitating new members’ easing-in process within an environment filled with seasoned professionals, the YCN can more easily be defined as a networking platform to bring together Malta’s upcoming entrepreneurs under the age of 45.
Marisa Xuereb, Chair of Young Chamber Network Committee & Managing Director, Raesch Quarz (Malta) Ltd
Ms Xuereb explains that this tool is vital to young business-minded individuals as it will not only help them establish themselves within the Chamber, but also assist them in “building bridges between people who can really make the business community more vibrant.” Ms Xuereb does not shy away from acknowledging the strong points of the young generation. “They are full of energy and ideas, and the vibe when we meet is great,” she says.
Sullivan Maritime Business Development Executive Karl Sullivan’s views, like those of many others involved in the YCN, are in alignment with the Chamber’s current course of action. The YCN’s well-thought out structure “provides an opportunity for younger members within the business environment to come together and share similar experiences and issues,” he explains, adding that, in the long term, this will “be beneficial to all involved”.
Amanda Xuereb, Chief Business Officer,
Toly Group & Founder, Beauty Trill
Amanda Xuereb, YCN Committee member, Chief Business Officer at TOLY Malta Sales Ltd and Founder of Beauty Trill, further highlights the importance of attracting the younger generation, as well as female members, to the Chamber.
And the Chair of the committee agrees, pointing out that they “expect YCN to have more active female entrepreneurs than we have traditionally seen at the Chamber,” to reflect the inspirational increase of female professionals taking on leadership roles or starting their own businesses. “In order to help it flourish, we need to think outside of the box,” Committee member Ms Xuereb says, hinting that the Chamber’s plans to ensure the institution’s continuity and relevance involve a heightened dose of passion, fun and energy.
She goes on to explain that the Committee is currently planning a series of exciting events for the upcoming year to attract members to the newly formed YCN. The way forward will involve working together with Junior Achievement Young Enterprise Malta Foundation (JAYE), MCAST and University students to organise seminars with educational and inspirational speakers on a variety of relevant topics such as start-ups, blockchain and artificial intelligence.
And while this strategy has yet to be implemented, Ms Xuereb points to a more immediate and clear-cut plan of action that will preface it. “The YCN shall offer its members access to exclusive networking events, inspirational talks by world-class speakers in a variety of relevant fields, and an opportunity to form part of an exclusive club along with the country’s leading business organisations,” she narrates.
Karl Sullivan, Business Development Executive,
Sullivan Maritime Ltd
Both the Chair and the Committee member carefully tread away from likening the YCN to a formal mentorship programme but Marisa Xuereb concedes that plans to include such a framework are currently being considered. In her words, the current framework promises to introduce members to “some of the many committees at the Chamber, according to their interests and expertise.”
This will not only allow new recruits to become active members, but it will also allow the Chamber to expand its overarching network. Its rewards are mutually beneficial; while YCN members will be able to make use of the Chamber facilities, contribute to discussions relating to policy developments and be given space to generate ways and means to make better use of the latest technologies, the Chamber will be exposed to a wider set of voices and skills, which will consequently allow it to be future-ready.
“The YCN will be a key player in the current process of renewal at the Chamber,” she explains. “The strong legacy of 171 years of business leadership and the valuable experience of the Chamber’s more senior members shall meet the energy and dynamism of the upcoming generations of business leaders.”
Angelique Maggi, Deputy Chairperson, MMH Malta Ltd
Angelique Maggi’s professional ambitions resonate with the Chamber’s latest efforts and her statement echoes Ms Xuereb’s: “in some industries, doing business has remained largely traditional,” she attests, pointing out that business is an ever-evolving practice. Ms Maggi’s words are not rash remarks, rather, they bear a certain weight. Exposed to business at a young age through her father’s company, she admits that witnessing all the challenges, successes and sacrifices fuelled her life’s aspirations, which led her to the role of Deputy Chairperson of MMH Malta Ltd and YCN member.
Rebecca Barbaro Sant is also a firm believer in the power of collaboration over an excessively competitive approach. As the founder of hybrid marketing consultancy The Authentic Brief, Ms Barbaro Sant is a staunch supporter of incorporating creative thinking within any business process. Through her membership with the YCN, she is able to lend her expert views and assist in its brand development while also being able to refer members to clients and potential customers.
Rebecca Barbaro Sant, Founder, The Authentic Brief
Her comments highlight the benefits that come through building strong alliances – while assisting others in achieving their end-goal, she is given the opportunity to connect with other businesses and forge a relationship built on trust and a common purpose.