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Brussels Office

Cornerline, Level 1 Dun Karm Street Birkirkara BKR 9039 Malta

La Valette Business Centre 289, Avenue d’Auderghem Brussels B-1040 Belgium

Tel: +356 2125 1719 info@mbb.org.mt www.mbb.org.mt

Tel: +32 485 981 124 infobrussels@mbb.org.mt www.mbb.org.mt

MBB annual report 2013


contents 01.foreword from the president page 02 02.introduction by the CEO page 04 03.EU Policy Overview page 06 04.MBB publications in summary page 08 05.MBB Events & Participation in International Conferences page 12 06.Board members & executive team page 34


01. foreword from the president It is that time of the year whereby the Malta Business Bureau (MBB) takes stock of the projects and initiatives it has undergone throughout the year and presents them in the Annual Report publication. This serves as a reflection on the organisation’ s achievements and also helps us reflect on what we can do more, or even better in the upcoming year.

2013 has been an eventful year for Malta; not only because it went through a general election, but also because this year brought with it the end of the first programming period of EU Funds. As this report outlines, the MBB played a particularly active role on both fronts on behalf of the local business community. During the frenzy of the electoral campaign, we were pleased to note consensus among the political parties on the need to bring Malta to the forefront of the European Union. In reaction to this, the MBB highlighted the challenging obligations arising from the EU’s long-term competitiveness agenda, as set out in the Europe 2020 Strategy. This was done in a report that was presented to the political parties. The organisation believes that the future of our business economy can only be secured if these challenging targets are given centre stage on our political agenda. Our message therefore particularly focused on the importance of enhancing European market access to facilitate cross-border trade in goods and services. The MBB views this as the most effective means to achieve a balance between business competitiveness and environmentally sustainable operations, whilst nurturing a dynamic, skilled and flexible labour market. We are also committed to support the Maltese authorities in implementing the recommendations as outlined in the report to improve Malta’s performance within the EU. From a policy perspective, the MBB was also very active with the publication of two major reports focusing on identifying the local market gaps in access to finance, and the more efficient allocation of EU Funds in aid of private enterprise in the next programming period, between 2014 and 2020. A detailed overview of the key messages and recommendations emanating from these reports are provided in this publication. These two reports served as a strong base for our lobbying efforts with Government and stakeholders on the serious repercussions that limited access to finance in Malta is having on SMEs and economic growth. We argued for more varied financial instruments, given that currently the only realistic ones available for businesses are bank loans and overdrafts. These may not necessarily be the most appropriate for enterprises particularly in their start-up phase. We also argued for a larger allocation of EU Funds to be exclusively invested in the private sector, compared to the previous programming period 2007-2013. We provided detailed economic arguments, explaining the proven positive impact this would have on the economy. Furthermore, on the subject of access to finance, the MBB is committed to move on from words to action. Over the past weeks we have been developing an exciting project that will be launched in 2014, which will see the introduction of the first crowd funding platform in Malta. Crowdfunding is the collective effort of many persons who network and pool their resources to support projects initiated by other people or organisations.

MBB ANNUAL REPORT 2013

This is a non-profit initiative that will offer an alternative means of raising finance to young entrepreneurs, particularly start-ups. The project will be spearheaded by the Malta Business Bureau and the UOM. We are all excited to see this project take-off and to start reaping its benefits, as has been seen in many other EU member states. In conclusion, the coming May will mark the end of my two year Presidency at the Malta Business Bureau. This has been an exciting journey of which I am very proud of the organisation’s achievements. We have seen the MBB grow further and become a more relevant business stakeholder in civil society. For this, I would like to thank the Board of Directors, which I had the pleasure to chair for the past two years. Also, special thanks goes to CEO Joe Tanti and the Executive Team for their support and dedicated commitment to constantly improve the organisation. I also take this opportunity to augur my successor to continue building on the MBB’s strengths and positive reputation on a local and European level.

George Vella PRESIDENT Malta Business Bureau

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02. introduction by the CEO 2013 has been an exciting year for the MBB, with a calendar full of activities as is documented in this Annual Report. A year that was active both on the policy front as well as in the implementation of EU Funded projects for the benefit of the Maltese business community. The year under review saw the successful conclusion of the SHIFT project, aimed to promote flexible work arrangements and family-friendly measures in the private sector, and also entered the final stages in the implementation of the EU LIFE+ Investing in Water project. Furthermore, we have consulted industry in order to help us identify what issues should be tackled via new project proposals, which we look forward to submit in 2014.

From a policy perspective, the landmark lobbying action was the meeting held with European Commission Vice-President Michel Barnier in Strasbourg, whereby a delegation led by President George Vella presented him with a policy document with MBB recommendations in view of the European Single Market. Two key points discussed in this respect where the facilitation of access to finance and accessibility to cross-border public procurement for SMEs. On access to finance, this year the MBB published a report depicting a snapshot of the situation of the Maltese credit market. This included a survey with 100 enterprises in Malta covering all sizes ranging from start-ups to export-oriented companies, emanating from all economic sectors. On cross-border public procurement, the MBB is collaborating with Malta Enterprise to identify measures on how we can be of assistance to SMEs in submitting for international tenders. To date, we have raised awareness on the processes and resources required to participate in international tenders through a highprofile business seminar during this year’s SME Week activities. Follow-up actions are expected in 2014. Throughout this year, the MBB has continued performing its core role of informing the Maltese business community on any policy development taking place at EU-level. We assisted enterprises that approached us with specific queries relating to legislations affecting particular sectors and EU-funding opportunities, while remaining very active in the media through various communications. Our quarterly newspaper Business Agenda, which is entering its fifth year of publication, is consistently becoming more popular, with a distribution list increasing from one edition to the next.

We are also privileged to have a Board of Directors that sets a vision for the MBB and consolidate its strategy through strong and priceless advice. Their dedicated support throughout the year is much appreciated. We now have a clear mandate to participate in further strategic EU Funded Projects and play an active role in the upcoming Malta’s EU Presidency in 2017.

There is no doubt that 2013 was an extraordinary year for Malta, particularly due to the general election that saw a smooth transition in the country’s administration. We have enjoyed a very productive relationship with the previous administration who supported the MBB’s work throughout the past years.

Finally, a special thanks goes to the Executive Team both at the Malta and Brussels Offices, for their strong work ethic, commitment and determination to implement our work programme. The achievements listed in this Annual Report publication would not have been possible without them.

I am also very pleased of the developing working relationship with the new administration. We are engaged in talks with various Ministries on the potential collaboration to implement EU-funded projects for the benefit of local enterprises. We look forward to continue with this positive energy and take this opportunity to thank the various Ministers and Parliamentary Secretaries for their commitment to work closely with the MBB.

2014 promises to be yet another interesting and busy year for us at the MBB. We shall look forward to the challenges it brings and to continue being of service to the Maltese business community. I extend my wishes to all our readers to have a positively productive year.

In conclusion, our work could not have been accomplished without the effort and support of many individuals. Firstly, I would like to personally thank President George Vella, who has steered the MBB for the past two years. George has built strongly on the successes of his predecessors. Through his energy and commitment he managed to achieve important results and set strong milestones for the organisation.

MBB ANNUAL REPORT 2013

I wish to also thank the respective Presidents and Director General/CEO of Malta Chamber and MHRA, for their input and collaboration throughout the year.

Joe Tanti Chief Executive Officer Malta Business Bureau

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03. eu Policy Overview Main policy developments in 2013 January

February

european Commission adopts a European Retail Action Plan

Product Safety and Market Surveillance Package

Suppliers to retails would receive fair prices for their products fairer and more sustainable trading relationships along the supply chain.

Simplified and more uniform safety rules applying to non-food products, better coordination and monitoring of market surveillance activities in the EU.

Entrepreneurship 2020 Action Plan moved to European Parliament Enhanced entrepreneurship in Europe will make the economies more competitive and innovative. Includes initiatives to boost mentoring in entrepreneurship.

March Revision of the Directive relating to trade marks Improved conditions for businesses to innovate and to benefit from more effective trade mark protection against counterfeits, including fake goods in transit through the EU’s territory. Council of the eu adopts a new venture capital framework The creation of an internal market for venture capital with more accessible crossborder fundraising and no double taxation.

Policy Overview & Eu Funded Projects

April Proposal for a Directive on NonFinancial Disclosure Large companies with over 500 employees obliged to include a non-financial statement in their annual report. This includes information relating to environmental, social and employee, respect for human rights and anti-corruption and bribery matters.

may Proposal for a Regulation on Food Inspections Increased efficiency of national competent authorities and simplification of the legislative framework and more transparent controls. Microenterprises exempted from control fees, but not controls. Council of the eu approves conclusions on Smart Regulation Businesses will benefit from reduced compliance and administrative burden, reduced regulatory costs, introduces impact assessments and consultation, strengthened application of the SME test and ongoing screening of the acquis to identify legislation with significant impact on SMEs.

July

September

October

Proposal for the Revision of the Package Travel Directive

european Commission Communication for Telecommunications Single Market

LIBE Parliamentary Committee backs data protection reform proposal

Businesses will benefit from reduced red tape and compliance costs, from a level playing field between different operators. (Awaiting decision in plenary in 2014.)

Simplified red tape faced by companies and more opportunities for businesses & entrepreneurs to create sustainable digital jobs. By removing national barriers to cross-border competition, operators are able to competitively offer services throughout the EU.

One single data protection law and authority apply to businesses operating in the EU. Companies will be able to offer their customers assurances, backed up by a regulatory framework, that valuable personal data will be treated with the necessary care and diligence.

Green light for single supervisor for banks MEPs strengthened the system’s transparency and accountability and tasked the European Banking Authority to develop supervisory practices which national bank supervisors should follow. Starting September 2014, the largest banks within the EU will be brought under ECB supervision.

November

December Consultation on Green Action Plan for SMEs The aim of the consultation is to help shape the actions aimed at promoting resource efficiency for and by SMEs to be included in the forthcoming Green Action Plan for SMEs. Resource efficiency should be understood in a wide sense that encompasses the efficient use of energy, water and other natural resources, materials, the minimisation of waste, the selling of scrap material to another company and recycling.

Proposal on a Single Resolution Mechanism Will help struggling credit institutions to recover from any shocks in an orderly manner and minimizing the possibility of losses to the taxpayers, and will bring stability in the EU´s financial sector.

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04. MBB publications in summary Market Gaps in Access to Finance Maltese SMEs often complain of a lack of financing options. Malta can be described as essentially a small business economy and needs continuous access to finance for SMEs to expand their operations and continue generating jobs. However, a proven financing gap due to lack of providers of risk capital tends to slow down this growth path. This gap seems to be magnified further due to the size of the local market and its unique characteristics. A study undertaken by the Malta Business Bureau, launched in April 2013, provides further evidence that bank financing remains the main (and in some cases the only) source of finance for SMEs in Malta. This emerged from a survey carried out among 100 local SMEs and complemented by consultation with various public and private stakeholders. The report outlines that amongst the surveyed companies own financing (90% of respondents), bank overdrafts (70%) and bank loans (50%) emerged as the main sources of SME financing, with only 4% using third party equity. However, since commercial banks are lenders and not investors, they are unable to cover all sectors and lifecycle stages; and as a result other sources of finance are still required by SMEs in certain critical lifecycle stages. The study shows that the smaller the business and the “younger” it is within its lifecycle, the more problematic it is to obtain the required financing.

MBB publications in summary

Member States are being invited by the European Commission to consider complementing existing grant funding with innovative financial instruments. The MicroCredit JEREMIE loan guarantee product (administered by Bank of Valletta) in Malta is an example of this type of instrument. Launched in April 2011 it was fully allocated way before its deadline, and extended with an additional =C 2mln in late 2013. With the EIF covering 75% of credit losses at facility level, and payments by the EIF being capped at 23% of total fund, this loan guarantee allowed participating SMEs to benefit from lower collateral requirements and lower pricing. On the other hand, the benefits of this type of instrument compared to grants are clear – apart from a direct multiplier effect, the loan amount is likely to be complemented by additional investment from the applicants. Moreover, interest paid and loan re-payments can be re-injected back into the fund for them to be eventually reallocated to additional SME beneficiaries. The EIF loan guarantee also allows the bank to classify as “bankable” applicants who would generally find it difficult to access bank financing under normal commercial conditions– this is particularly the case, for instance, with a number of start-ups. As a result, about 40% of the SME applicants (exceeding 500 firms) in the Malta JEREMIE product were start-ups.

Apart from this type of loan guarantee product, other options could include equity guarantees, seed capital type of loans, or risk-sharing / co-investment through equity. While the framework to blend these financing instruments with grants and to tackle any State Aid implications needs to be analysed in further detail, the positive experience with the Malta JEREMIE product is a clear sign that this is the way forward in the next EU programming period, especially when taking into consideration the implications on SME co-financing rates of Malta’s shift to a Regional Competitiveness and Employment status region. The MBB report recommends for the re-introduction of a loan guarantee financial instrument (both by size and eligible sectors), a further consideration of other types of financial instruments, as well as the possibility of blending these instruments with grants (e.g. 25% own financing, 25% grant pre-financed through a bridge loan, and the remaining 50% through a bank loan, preferably under a loan guarantee scheme), and the potential adoption of a multiple instrument approach. The results of this study show that although a range of assistance programmes and initiatives already exist for Maltese SMEs, a number of local SMEs still require access to a broader range of support than what they already have access to. Innovative financial instruments could complement grant funding and would allow the business community and authorities to tap the benefits of both sources of finance.

This study was conducted in collaboration with Bank of Valletta. The full and abridged versions can be downloaded from www.mbb.org.mt

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The Allocation of EU Funds in Aid of Private Enterprise 2014-2020 The EU’s Cohesion Policy aims to reduce regional disparities in terms of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per head by promoting growth, job creation and competitiveness, through investment supported by the allocation of EU funds. Cohesion Policy is implemented through programmes which run for the duration of the EU seven-year budget cycle. The current programming period ends in 2013 while the new one starts in 2014 and stretches to 2020. The most significant idea put forward by the European Commission for the new programming period is that of linking the allocation of funds to the Europe 2020 objectives. Malta received a total financial package of =C 776million from the EU Budget for Cohesion Policy. Within this context, the MBB conducted a report to identify whether the private sector is a better alternative to the public sector to make use of EU Structural Funds to meet the country’s thematic objectives. During the 2007-2013 programming period the largest financial instruments benefiting the private sector were the ERDF funds managed by Malta Enterprise. Private enterprises could also benefit from the JEREMIE initiative in the form of a loan guarantee scheme. At the same time, ESF aid schemes offered private enterprise the opportunity to tap funds for the training of staff. Together, the schemes allocated for direct use by private enterprise amounted to around =C 70 million, accounting for around 8% of the total EU Cohesion Policy funds allocated for Malta for the current programming period.

MBB publications in summary

The transition from Convergence to Regional Competitiveness and Employment Status adds to pressure on the Maltese Government to revise its strategy to concentrate future EU spending on priority areas to maximise the positive impact of such spending on the country’s economic development. It is widely accepted that public investment can create favourable conditions for private investment. In fact, some studies show that the impact of business incentives would be weak in the absence of pre-conditions for exploiting the entire potential of such support. Therefore, investment in infrastructure, the upgrading of industrial parks and the expansion of educational institutions are all welcomed by the private sector as these may improve the productivity of private investment and ultimately result in economic growth. However, at the same time, there are a number of reasons that lead us to believe that there are aspects related to the allocation of funds that could and should be improved such that funds are most beneficial to the private sector. For instance the small market constraint of the Maltese economy necessitates that economic growth is mostly export-led. Such export-led growth can only be the result of further investment in/by the private sector. Another reason is that investment in the private sector yields high rates of economic growth.

The way forward therefore is to enable the private sector to drive Malta’s growth, job creation and competitiveness. In this respect, the MBB report presents a number of recommendations. One recommendation stresses that Government needs to ensure a sufficient allocation of Structural Funds that target areas private sector’s investment needs. Estimates suggested in the report indicate that in the 2014-2020 programming period around = C 180-200 million should be allocated for direct use by the private sector. This figure is estimated on the assumption that the level of Maltese private sector investment as a percentage of GDP should converge with that of the EU-27. Such an allocation would also avoid having to turn down eligible project proposals by private enterprise because they are out-competed by other applicants. We also urge for the use of EU funds to ensure adequate access to finance. Preliminary estimates suggest that as much as =C 20-25 million of ERDF funds would be necessary to meet the demand over the next programming period over and above the =C 10 million allocated to JEREMIE. Other recommendations call for Government to entrust private sector non-profit intermediaries with the implementation and management of part of the Structural Funds allocated to Malta, also referred to as ‘global grants’. The MBB report was presented to Government as part of the public consultation that was launched with stakeholders in view of the 2014-2020 programming period.

This report was conducted in collaboration with Bank of Valletta. The full version of the MBB report can be downloaded from www.mbb.org.mt

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05. MBB Events & Participation in International Conferences

MBB Events 13th January Presentation of Single Market Report to European Commission Vice-President Michel Barnier An MBB delegation composed of President George Vella, CEO Joe Tanti and Permanent Delegate in Brussels Omar Cutajar paid a courtesy visit to European Commissioner Michel Barnier in Strasbourg. The purpose of the meeting was for the MBB to communicate to the Commissioner the results emanating from a study the Bureau conducted on the experience of Maltese businesses in the European Single Market.

2nd January Move to new premises Due to new developments at Casa Leone in Floriana, the Malta Business Bureau took the opportunity to move to new premises that are better equipped to accommodate its ever-growing number of EU-business related projects and services.

Mr Vella informed Commission Barnier that the general conclusions of the study indicated that Maltese businesses remain predominantly satisfied of forming part of the European Single Market. However, there were problems derived from Malta’s natural peripheral

geographical location and its inherent insularity. During the meeting some of the key topics emanating from the study were discussed, including the urgency in improving access to finance and improving the accessibility to cross-border public procurement for EU-wide SMEs. Commissioner Barnier expressed his satisfaction at the study undertaken by the MBB. He stated that such exercises provide the European Commission with important feedback from the ground, allowing it to develop policy and legislation with full knowledge of SME perspectives from different EU member states on the Single Market.

The move took place in the first week of January and the new offices are now located on the Birkirkara by-pass at the following address: Head Office, Cornerline, Level 1, Dun Karm Street, Birkirkara BKR9039. The other contacts remain unchanged.

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MBB events – cont.

4th – 5th February Training programme on ‘Tapping Direct EU Funding for businesses’

MBB Presents report to MEPs In a separate visit that took place in Brussels in February, an MBB delegation composed of CEO Joe Tanti, Permanent Delegate in Brussels Omar Cutajar, Senior Executive Daniel Debono (Coordinator of the Competitiveness Pillar) presented the Single Market recommendations report to a number of Members of the European Parliament. These included the Internal Market Committee’s (IMCO) Chair MEP Malcolm Harbour, and the European People Party’s IMCO Coordinator MEP Andreas Schwab. The report can be downloaded from the MBB website www.mbb.org.mt

25th January Participation in a debate organised by the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) MBB CEO Joe Tanti participated in a panel debate during a seminar organised by the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) at Europe House, Valletta. The theme of the discussion was on mobilising European SME’s policy for Malta: focusing on lessons learnt, current challenges and future opportunities. The purpose of the event was to disseminate among Maltese stakeholders the conclusions and recommendations found in the recently-adopted opinion by the EESC on an ‘Action plan to improve access to finance for SMEs’.

Mr Tanti made particular reference to the study conducted by the MBB with local businesses on their experience of operating in the Single Market, and also on the assessment study that is currently being conducted on gaps in access to finance on the Maltese credit market. Other distinguished guests at the event included EESC rapporteurs Ms Anna Maria Darmanin and Mr Ronny Lannoo. The event was chaired by Mr Bryan Cassidy, President of the Section for Single Market, Production and Consumption.

The MBB held a two-day specialised training programme on accessing direct EU funding programmes for businesses. It provided executives and entrepreneurs with the necessary knowledge, skills and practical understanding for how best to submit an EU-project proposal and subsequently manage the funded project. MBB CEO Joe Tanti said that “The potential for Maltese business to tap direct EU funding programmes remains relatively unexplored. The MBB undertook this training initiative to inform on the developments related to direct funds managed by the European Commission.” “The new financial framework 2014-2020, should provide new funding opportunities for SMEs in different areas including research & innovation, tourism, education and training, amongst others,” elaborated Mr Tanti. For this occasion, the MBB invited an EU project management expert Francesco Vallebona, Director of the Brusselsbased consultancy Medin Europe,

who explained to the participants how to identify EU grants and calls for proposals. Mr Vallebona also gave detailed information on the management and financial administration required for the successful implementation of an EU funded project. The participants benefitted from an innovative mock session whereby a simulation exercise on how to develop an idea into a concrete project proposal including the full drafting of a project application was organized under the direct mentoring of the expert trainer. Mr Vallebona commented that “EU direct funds can help Maltese SMEs to participate in transnational networks and to enhance their competitiveness. Such programmes present a platform for SMEs to innovate their production processes, increase their resilience, and help them become more active on the global market.” This training programme was organized with the support of APS Bank and Corinthia Hotels International.

21st February Seminar on developing the Maltese creative industries A seminar entitled ‘The Way Forward towards the development of the Maltese creative industries’ was co-organised by the European Commission Representation in Malta and Bank of Valletta, in collaboration with the MBB and the Creative Economy Working Group. This was held in view of V.18 European Capital of Culture, which will inspire economic growth and innovation on the Maltese economic arena. The workshop provided a discussion among stakeholders on the economic viability of the creative sector in Malta and within the EU. The potential of the creative industries in encouraging innovation and industrial change in Malta, any market failure faced by the creative sector, and the new forms of financing for creative industries were discussed. Particular importance was also given to culture and media strands.

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MBB events – cont.

Presentation of policy document to political parties in view of 2013 General Election The MBB recommendations, presented in a policy paper entitled ‘Delivering the Europe 2020 Strategy in Malta’, focus on facilitating the attainment of the national targets set within the ambit of the Europe 2020 Strategy, for growth and jobs. The successful implementation of the Europe 2020 Strategy in Malta would contribute to a significant improvement in the competitiveness of the local economy. To ensure the best possible results, it is important that Government commits to step up its efforts towards the achievement of these targets. The ‘Delivering the Europe 2020 Strategy in Malta’ paper can be downloaded from the MBB website www.mbb.org.mt

20th February MBB delegation meets Labour Party An MBB delegation led by President George Vella discussed a number of proposals with Labour Party Deputy Leader Louis Grech, President Stefan Zrinzo Azzopardi, and Executive Secretary Lydia Abela. During the meeting, the MBB delegation discussed key issues including the strengthening of SME tests prior to the adoption of legislation affecting business, the sustainability of Malta’s water resources, and political reform.

1st March MBB delegation meets Nationalist Party President George Vella led an MBB delegation to discuss a number of proposals with then PN Deputy Leader Simon Busuttil, Minister Tonio Fenech, and PN Secretary-General Dr Paul Borg Olivier. During the meeting, the MBB delegation held an exchange of views on a number of issues; particularly on employment and entrepreneurship policy, the creation of a national clusters policy, and increasing the usage of renewable energy.

8th – 12th April MBB hosts a European Commission official as part of the Enterprise Experience Programme (EEP) The MBB hosted Antonella Correra, a European Commission Policy Officer in the Tourism and Cultural Instruments Unit, for a week in Malta, as part of the Enterprise Experience Programme (EEP). This was the third European Commission official hosted by MBB following two successful experiences in 2012. The coordination of the visit was also supported by the Malta Hotels and Restaurants Association. In commenting on her visit to Malta, Ms Correra described the overall experience as highly positive, defining it a privilege to having the opportunity to speak with professionals who face every day the challenges of this complex, yet vital sector for Malta. Mr Correra said that the Maltese tourism industry is an important model for the whole sector in Europe; therefore the lessons learnt from this visit will be very useful for implementing the EU Strategy for Tourism.

23rd April Assessment study on ‘Market Gaps in Access to Finance’ presented to Government An MBB delegation led by President George Vella, presented the report on ‘Market Gaps in Access to Finance’ to the Minister for the Economy, Investment and Small Business Chris Cardona, and the Minister for Tourism Karmenu Vella. Different funding solutions need to be found for enterprises which cannot put up tangible assets as collateral but who have a good business proposal. Mr Vella explained that “Lack of diversified financial products is limiting the development of SMEs. It was in light of this obstacle that the MBB embarked upon this study”. He continued that “Malta needs to diversify the financing options for SMEs to generate further economic development through the growth of SMEs. Increasing the range of existing financing options is also important to support the development of new sectors such as those that are heavily reliant on research and development, creativity and innovation.”

Increasing the range of existing financing options would better address the credit needs of local enterprises. To this end, exploring the potential for venture capital instruments can also serve as another financing option for local businesses. “For a small economy like Malta, venture capital can provide a means of strengthening and complementing current efforts at attracting foreign direct investment,” commented Mr Vella. 100 SMEs, ranging in size and development stage from seed phase to internationalisation took part in this survey, carried out by Ernst & Young. This was the second in a series of joint assessment studies undertaken by the MBB and BOV following last year’s impact assessment on a Common Consolidated Corporate Tax Base (CCCTB).

MBB presents Access to Finance report to MCESD On a separate occasion, the MBB was invited by the Malta Council for Economic and Social Development (MCESD) to deliver a presentation on the findings and recommendations of the Market Gaps in Access to finance report to the social partners. This meeting generated a healthy discussion between the stakeholders. MCESD Chairman John Bencini acknowledged the importance of the subject matter for the business community and coordinated a followup meeting to extend the discussion. This took place later in the presence of the Minister of Finance Prof. Edward Scicluna, the Governor of the Central Bank Prof. Josef Bonnici, and the Chairman of the Malta Financial Services Authority Prof. Joe Bannister. For a detailed analysis on the Market Gaps in Access to Finance report, see pages 8-9.

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MBB events – cont.

25th April Business seminar on Understanding the EU decision-making process Newly elected MEPs address the business seminar Three newly elected MEPs, Marlene Mizzi, Roberta Metsola and Claudette Abela Baldacchino, pledged to work closely with the business community during the time they serve as Members of the European Parliament. The new MEPs, who were elected only the day before the seminar through a casual election, participated in a panel debate during the concluding session of a business seminar entitled ‘Understanding the EU decision-making process: Tips and traps of EU Lobbying’. This event was organised by the MBB and the European Parliament Information Office (EPIO) for the Council and Business Section Members of Malta Chamber and MHRA. The MEPs replied to questions by MBB CEO Joe Tanti. Ms Mizzi said, “I will be a business person in a political context, so I will always be ready to support and work in favour of the business community.” She also declared that she intends replacing former MEP

Edward Scicluna in the European Parliament’s Economic and Monetary Affairs. Dr Metsola said she would like to join the Civil Liberties Committee, which works in the fields of migration and asylum, among others, and added that she would also like to follow a number of dossiers in the Legal Affairs Committee such as the data protection regulation and the common European sales law. Ms Abela Baldacchino spoke about her intention to focus particularly on the European Social Agenda. The event was addressed by MBB President George Vella, who outlined MBB’s vision to play a stronger role in EU lobbying. Dr Peter Agius, Head of the European Parliament Information Office in Malta, gave an insight into the practical workings of the European Institutions, and Ben Butters, EU Affairs Director of Eurochambres, spoke about the lobbying efforts in Brussels by business representation groups.

21st May Business seminar on Access to Finance The MBB and BOV organised a business seminar on ‘Improving Access to Finance for SMEs’, to discuss the findings of this study with the Maltese business community, and also for an exchange of views between public officials, stakeholders and entrepreneurs, on how EU Funds in the new programming period 2014-2020 can be utilized better to address this issue. EY, authors of the report, gave a detailed presentation of the study. A presentation was also delivered by Jonathan Vassallo, Director General of the Planning & Priorities Coordination Department (PPCD), on the challenges and opportunities ahead for access to finance in the new EU Funding programming period for 2014-2020. A panel debate followed with the participation of George Vella, President Malta Business Bureau; Albert Frendo, Chief Officer Credit Bank of Valletta; and Entrepreneurs Ivan Bartolo, 6PM, and Sandra Zammit, Smoochies. This was moderated by Journalist Vanessa MacDonald.

23rd May New Director appointed on MBF Board Charles A Zahra was appointed as a Director on the Board of the Malta Business Foundation. He replaced John A Huber, who served on the Board for the past three years, two of which as President. George Vella welcomed Mr Zahra’s appointment to the Board, who will now join the other Directors, including Anton Borg, Charles Brincat, George Micallef, and Mario Spiteri. Mr Vella, on behalf of the MBB also thanked Mr Huber for his invaluable contribution to the organisation during his tenure as President, and afterwards, where he actively kept committed to supporting the Bureau as a Director.

27th May Environmental sustainability on top of agenda in meeting with Minister Leo Brincat The MBB highlighted its willingness to support local businesses to increase their environmental sustainability, in a meeting with Minister Leo Brincat. The MBB delegation consisted of MBB President George Vella, MBB CEO Joe Tanti, and the MBB’s EU LIFE+ Investing in Water Project Manager Geoffrey Saliba. The MBB explained that it is willing to implement programmes where awareness raising is coupled with hands-on consultation for enterprises. The aim of such programmes would be helping enterprises to adopt environmental best practice.

Such a programme is already being implemented through the MBB’s ongoing EU LIFE+ Investing in Water Project. This has already resulted in a considerable decrease in water consumption by enterprise and it is expected to increase considerably by the project’s end in March 2014. During the meeting MBB President George Vella drew attention to the importance of complimenting awareness and consultation with increased availability of funding for environmental sustainability projects.

In the end, the seminar was also addressed by the Parliamentary Secretary for EU Funds Dr Ian Borg. He reaffirmed that it is Government’s commitment to consult and work together with various stakeholders. In fact, he invited the Malta Business Bureau to explore ways and means and make suggestions on how it can serve as a partner to the administration in the planning and actual implementation of the initiatives and projects that will be identified in the next operational programmes.

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MBB events – cont.

28th June Business seminar on start-up finance opportunities

14th June Business seminar on the Single Accounting Directive The Single Accounting Directive that the European Parliament approved on Wednesday 12th June was the subject of a debate between MEPs and members of the business community and the accounting profession. The Accounting Directive is set to reduce business costs by simplifying accounting obligations for small and medium businesses. The event, entitled ‘The Single Accounting Directive: Simplification, Striking the Right Balance’, was coorganised by the European Parliament Information Office (EPIO) in Malta, the Malta Business Bureau and the Malta Institute of Accountants (MIA). During the seminar, MEP Roberta Metsola participated via a video-call from Brussels. A detailed presentation was then given by Mr Mark Abela,

Technical Director MIA on the Directive itself. This was followed by an interesting panel debate that was moderated by the EPIO Head, Dr Peter Agius. For this debate Paul Bugeja of Corinthia Hotels, represented the MHRA, and Claudine Cassar of Alert Group, represented the Malta Chamber. The accounting professionals were represented by Paul Giglio and Bernard G. Scicluna respectively. In his welcoming address, MBB President George Vella, stated that “The Single Accounting Directive is no doubt a step forward for our SME community, as it simplifies their accounting and reporting requirements. This certainly is an encouraging step, and one can hope that the Directive’s objective – to reduce administrative burdens – is remembered in future legislative proposals.”

MBB Events & Participation in International Conferences

The MBB partnered with the European Commission Representation in Malta and Bank of Valletta to organise a business seminar discussing finance for businesses, particularly start-ups, through the assistance of EU initiatives. The seminar gave an overview of the availability of finance and types of finance products including debt, grants, banking products and alternative sources of finance for the present and opportunities for the next programming period 2014–2020. A number of distinguished guests with a vast experience addressed the audience. The key note speaker was Joanna Drake, who is Director of Promotion of SMEs Competitiveness at DG Enterprise and Industry, European Commission. Other speakers included Bruno Robino, Head of Region Southern Countries, European Investment Fund (EIF); Albert Frendo, BOV Chief Officer Credit; Helga Ellul, former President Malta Chamber; and Steven Galea, a certified public accountant. The seminar was also addressed by the Head of the European Commission Representation in Malta Martin Bugelli and MBB President George Vella.

2nd July ‘Allocation of EU Funds in Aid of Private Enterprise’ report presented to Parliamentary Secretary Ian Borg An MBB delegation presented a report entitled ‘The Allocation of EU Structural Funds in Aid of Private Enterprise’ to the Parliamentary Secretary for EU Funds, Dr Ian Borg. The MBB study shows that during the 2007-2013 programming period C 70 million of the = C 855 million only = EU cohesion policy funds committed to Malta was directly made available to private enterprise. During the new 2014-2020 programming period, Cohesion Policy funds are being reduced C 855 million to = C 776 million. from = “It is crucial that the amount of funds allocated to private enterprise is not cut to reflect this decrease,” stated MBB President George Vella; “if anything, this should be increased to reflect the multiplier benefits of added investment into the private sector”.

An increase in the allocation of structural funds to businesses would offset a downward trend in local private investment that was experienced in recent years. The MBB report makes reference to other studies proving that investment in the private sector yields higher rates of economic growth. Regions that have experienced the best performance in terms of economic growth are the ones that allocated funds more efficiently across productive factors. The MBB study estimates that during C 180-200 million the 2014-2020 period, = of structural funds should be allocated for direct use by the private sector. This would reduce the need to having to turn down eligible project proposals of private enterprise. Also, this estimated amount would be able to meet the

demand for both grants and financial engineering instruments. ‘The Allocation of EU Structural Funds in Aid of Private Enterprise’ is the third in a series of joint-assessment reports undertaken by the MBB and Bank of Valletta, following the recent study on ‘Market Gaps in Access to Finance’, and last year’s assessment on the potential impact of a ‘Common Consolidated Corporate Tax Base’ on Malta. This report was also presented to various Cabinet Ministers, Opposition spokespersons, public officials and relevant stakeholders. For a detailed analysis on ‘The Allocation of EU Structural Funds in Aid of Private Enterprise’, see pages 10-11

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MBB events – cont.

31st July MBB meets Nationalist Party officials on ‘Allocation of EU Funds in Aid of Private Enterprise’ report An MBB delegation paid a courtesy visit to the Nationalist Party, whereby a meeting was held with the Opposition spokesperson for European Affairs Hon Marthese Portelli and then spokesperson for EU Funds Hon Ryan Callus. MBB President George Vella reiterated the MBB’s call that an increase in the allocation of structural funds to businesses would offset a downward trend in local private investment that was experienced in recent years. The MBB report makes reference to other studies proving that investment in the private sector yields higher rates of economic growth. “This confirms that the private sector is a better alternative than the public sector to bring higher returns from EU structural funds to meet the country’s needs,” explained Mr Vella, “Malta’s economy necessitates economic growth that is mostly export-led. This can only be brought about through further investment in the private sector”.

2nd August MEP Cuschieri pays visit to the MBB MEP Joseph Cuschieri paid a visit to the MBB as part of his initiative to keep in touch with various organisations and stakeholders in Malta. The MBB Executive team exchanged views with the MEP on how the collaboration between the two offices can be strengthened. Furthermore MEP Cuschieri gave an overview on the work he accomplished at the European Parliament over this past year, particularly with his role in the Tourism and Transport Committee. The recent Tourism Task Force initiative was on the MBB agenda of this meeting as well as an update on other policy issue relating to the revision of the Package Travel Directive, the draft Copyright Management Directive and the draft Regulation on Food Inspections were discussed.

MBB Events & Participation in International Conferences

10th September MBB appoints new Vice President at Annual Board Meeting The MBB held its Annual Board Meeting in the presence of the Board of Directors and the Presidents of the respective parent organisations of the MBB, Mr David G. Curmi for the Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry, and Mr Tony Zahra for the Malta Hotels and Restaurants Association. During this meeting the Board of Directors approved a new statute for the MBB, which among others, introduced the post of Vice-President. Mr Mario Spiteri, who has served on the Board for a number of years, was nominated for this position. The Directors also endorsed a strategy that was presented by President George Vella and CEO Joe Tanti, to serve as a guideline for the organisation in the coming years. This will include the MBB’s active role in EU funding and Malta’s EU Presidency in 2017.

13th September Participation in a public dialogue on ‘Women on Board’ The MBB was invited to participate in a public dialogue on ‘Women on Boards’ organised by the European Parliament Office in Malta with the National Council of Women. Improving gender balance in management positions has been put on the political and legislative agenda of the European Union, most notably through the proposed Directive on improving the gender balance among non-executive directors of companies listed on stock exchanges and related measures. This public dialogue therefore intended to elaborate the different facets of the topic and most importantly discuss the means that society should employ to reach the mentioned objective without necessarily polarising the discussion into a yes or no for women quotas. Mariella Scicluna held a presentation during the public dialogue on the results of the MBB study on Flexible Work and Family Friendly Measures in Maltese Business. During her presentation she revealed that the MBB study analysed the current take-up, to discern what obstacles companies are facing to implement these measures, and what

is required to increase their activity in this regard. The study found that 91.1 per cent of respondents agreed that implementing such measures leads to increased loyalty to the organisation while it is also very encouraging to note that generally respondents disagreed with the perception that flexible work and family measures can only be implemented in the lower hierarchical levels within the organisation. During a panel debate, CEO Joe Tanti noted that the reality of the current economic climate dictates the need for a more structured approach towards reconciling a work and family life. He highlighted the need to promote better-structured support services through which the private sector can truly offer the necessary flexibility to maintain a competitive and dynamic Maltese labour market. In the same event, Malta Chamber President David G. Curmi stressed on the fact that business should focus more on skills rather than qualifications. He acknowledged that a diversity of skills bring added benefit in the board room.

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MBB events – cont.

15th – 17th September MBB coordinates a delegation visit to Brussels on EU Tourism policy and funding related issues A delegation of ten people made up of senior officials of the MBB, MHRA and other local firms, visited Brussels on a two day programme that focused on EU tourism policy and funding related issues.

by EU Commissioner Tonio Borg and conducted an exchange of views on issues driven by the DG SANCO, of which he is responsible for. These included, food inspection regulation; the implementation of the food labelling directive; and The Alcohol Forum.

The group had the opportunity to visit the European Parliament and was also hosted by MEP Joseph Cuschieri to a meeting which in particular discussed his work in the Tourism and Transport Committee (TRAN). Various issues were discussed including: The European Parliament initiative for a Tourism Task Force; the challenges derived by the fragmentation in the EU Tourism Policy development process; and promoting the accessibility of tourism destinations.

At the European Commission, further meetings were held with Giancarlo Granero, who is Deputy Head of Unit for Enterprise Policy and Support Programmes at DG Enterprise, on EU funding opportunities for SMEs through the COSME Programme. Also, the group held a meeting with Eric Philippart, Deputy Head of Unit, and Antonella Correra, Policy Officer, at the Tourism and Cultural Instruments Unit at DG Enterprise.

The delegation also visited the European Commission whereby it was welcomed

Two important workshops were held at the European Association for Hotels,

20th September Business seminar on Online Gambling Restaurants and Cafes (HOTREC), led by CEO Anna Torres; and at the Maltese Permanent Representation to the EU, led by Ambassador Marlene Bonnici. These workshops focused on a number of developing tourism policy issues such as copyright management; the revision of the Package Travel Directive; and the EU Accessibility Act. Finally, the group were also given presentations by Medin Europe Director and EU funding expert Francesco Vallebona; Lecturer Marita de Neve from a Belgian based tourism academy; and Cristina Núñez from NECSTouR – the Network of European Regions for a Sustainable and Competitive Tourism. These meetings were held at the MBB Brussels office, the La Valette Business Centre.

The European Parliament Information Office (EPIO) and the Malta Business Bureau organised a stakeholders’ seminar on Online Gambling. The two organizers collaborated on this event because the online gambling market is growing very rapidly, with betting being the biggest sector. Gambling is regulated by the Member states. Frameworks vary with some member states having no specific regulation, some employing licensing systems and others imposing complete bans. Also, the seminar followed a resolution that was adopted by the European Parliament on 20th September. The welcoming address was delivered by EPIO Head Dr Peter Agius and MBB President George Vella. They made reference to the Online Gambling resolution that was adopted by the European Parliament and about the growing importance of this sector for the Maltese economy.

MEP Creutzmann gave his reaction to the said resolution via a video-conference from Brussels. A key note speech then followed and was delivered by Ewout Keuleers from the European Gaming and Betting Association. A panel discussion took place afterwards with the participation of Reuben Portanier, CEO Lotteries and Gaming Authority; Stefano Mallia, Vice President of the Employers Groups within the European Economic and Social Committee; George Debrincat, Chairman of the Malta Chamber Remote Gaming Business Section; and Alan Alden from the Malta Remote Gaming Council. Closing remarks were delivered by the Parliamentary Secretary for Competitiveness and Economic Growth, Hon Edward Zammit Lewis.

2nd October Conference on the Implementation and Enforcement of EU Environment Legislation MBB CEO Joe Tanti participated in a round-table conference entitled “Working together to improve and innovate”. This was aimed at providing information on the implementation and enforcement of EU environment legislation. The International Conference took place in Malta between 1st and the 4th October. The Conference was organised by the European Commission, the European Network for the Implementation and Enforcement of Environmental Law (IMPEL) and MEPA. Mr.Tanti was invited to speak on the issue of “overcoming obstacles to the full implementation of EU environmental legislation”. The panel was moderated by John Seager, who is Chair of IMPEL. Other speakers included Karl Falkenberg– Director General DG-Environment European Commission; Jeremy Wates–Secretary General European Environmental Bureau; Ed Mitchell– Director of Environment and Business, Environment Agency of England; and Giuseppe Montesano, BUSINESSEUROPE.

MBB Events & Participation in International Conferences

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MBB events – cont. 24th – 26th October MBB coordinates Portuguese business delegation visit to Malta 10th October Participation in a panel debate during a MEUSAC Business Breakfast on Industrial Competitiveness MBB President George Vella was invited to participate in a panel debate discussing Malta’s progress in industrial competitiveness. The Business Breakfast, entitled “Europe: From Crisis to Recovery”, targeted the business sector in Malta where participants were briefed about the European Commission’s Competitiveness Report for 2013. This seminar sought to identify opportunities to make European industries, particularly manufacturing, more competitive. Other panellists included; Mr Gérald Petit, Policy Analyst –DG Enterprise & Industry European Commission; Mr Andre Fenech, Head – Policy Development of Malta Chamber; and Dr Mario Vella, Chairman of Malta Enterprise.

18th October MBB participates in a public event in Gozo organised by the European Parliament’s Information Office MBB CEO Joe Tanti participated in an event organised by the European Parliament Information Office in Malta. This event focused on the needs of Gozo and what is expected from the European Parliament in view of its particular status. The event discussed the areas of business and investment, fisheries and agriculture, and employment. Mr Tanti moderated the business and investment workshop. A number of prospective MEP candidates were present for a debate that focused on Gozitans’ expectations and perspectives of the EU and the European Parliament. This was moderated by Vanessa Macdonald, business editor for the Times of Malta.

An employers’ delegation from CEVAL, a business confederation based in the Alto Minho region in Portugal visited Malta to explore means of collaboration with various Maltese stakeholders. The delegation that was led by the President of CEVAL, Luis Ceia, had the opportunity to meet and network with various Government Authorities as well as business associations; among others, the Malta Tourism Authority, Malta Enterprise, Malta Chamber, MHRA and the recently setup Portuguese-Maltese Business Council within the Malta Chamber. A number of project initiatives were discussed for potential collaboration between Malta and the Alto Minho region. The possibility of offering technical assistance in the development of industries where the respective parties are considered to be best practices was agreed upon. For instance Alto Minho can learn from the Maltese tourism industry, while Malta can benefit from the region’s expertise in the renewable energy industry. The delegation had the opportunity to meet the Minister for Tourism Karmenu Vella and Parliamentary Secretary for Competitiveness and Economic Growth Edward Zammit Lewis.

21st November MBB co-organises a business seminar as part of SME Week 2013 Activities For this year’s SME Week activities, a full day event was organised on “Tendering Opportunities for SMEs” with the support of the Ministry for the Economy, Investment and Small Business.

and submit for international tenders. Nadia Costacurta, an official from DG Markt European Commission followed with a presentation on the legislative framework of EU Procurement Rules.

The morning session, which was chaired by MBB CEO Joe Tanti, was coordinated by the MBB and Malta Enterprise. This focused on ‘Participating in International Tenders’ and was aimed at those companies who would like to direct their business development strategies towards international procurement.

A joint presentation was then given by Brigitte Tanti from the European Enterprise Network (EEN) and Klaus Pedersen from Malta Chamber’s Internationalisation Desk, on the potential of developing a business support service to support the access of procurement in the Euro-Med region.

The participants were first addressed by the Minister for the Economy Chris Cardona and Malta Enterprise Chairman Dr Mario Vella. The key note presentation was then delivered by Toni Saraiva from the European Information Services Centre (EISC Ltd), who discussed the latest procurement trends and the processes companies should undergo to identify

A panel debate then followed, showcasing the experience of a number of Maltese firms that successfully competed for international tenders. This included the likes of Ivan Bartolo, 6Pm; Mark Attard, Orion; Anthony Diacono, Medserv; and Mark Zahra, from James Catering Services. The discussion was moderated by Joe Schembri, who is Chief Officer for Trade, Investment and Enterprise Support at Malta Enterprise. The morning session was concluded with an address by MBB’s Vice-President Mario Spiteri.

This was addressed by Malta Chamber’s SME and Family Business Committee Chairman, Frank V Farrugia and followed by the Department of Contracts Director, Anthony J. Cachia. The latter presented a brief outline of the recent measures launched by the Department to facilitate and simplify public procurement procedures. In the final part of the event, three operators coming from the ICT, Health Care and general supplies and services sectors, gave a hands-on perspective of the public procurement procedures in their own sectors. In conclusion, a panel discussion gave its reactions and comments to the seminar proceedings and how these procedures could be further fine-tuned. The closing remarks were delivered by the Permanent Secretary for the Ministry for the Economy Paulanne Mamo.

Following a networking lunch, an afternoon session, coordinated by Malta Chamber, and moderated by Head of Sectors Lino Mintoff, focused on “Facilitating Public Procurement Procedures for SMEs”.

MBB Events & Participation in International Conferences

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MBB participation in International Conferences 6th – 7th June MBB President addresses a BUSINESSEUROPE workshop

18th April ‘Active Ageing through Lifelong Learning’ Conference in Brussels 19th February Special Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee Hearing at the European Parliament in Brussels MBB CEO Joe Tanti, as editor of Business Agenda, was invited by the European Parliament Information Office in Malta to participate in a special hearing of the Economic and Monetary Affairs (ECON) Committee in Brussels. The ECON Committee was addressed by the President of the European Central Bank, Mario Draghi, who is also the Chairman of the European Systemic Risk Board. Further discussions took place on a number of important subjects, including MEP Gáll-Pelcz report on a Common system of Value Added Tax, as regards to the treatment of vouchers; MEP Langen’s report on a European Banking Authority as well as a European Securities and Markets Authority; and MEP Mann’s report on An Agenda for Adequate, Safe and Sustainable Pensions; among others. Mr Tanti’s visit was sponsored by the European Parliament Information Office in Malta. During this visit, Mr Tanti also held meetings with MEP Malcolm Harbour and MEP Andreas Schwab.

MBB CEO participated in an Active Ageing conference in Brussels, which showcased that the business case for active age management is clear and evidence shows that many employers are already taking or developing positive approaches to active age management. Mr Tanti made an intervention showcasing a best-practice from Malta. He made reference to SimondsFarsonsCisk, which has a workforce with an average age of over 40, and a great number of employees who have been with the company for over 30 years. In this respect, the company has a policy of organising multi-skilling programmes to make employees more competent, and to eventually also benefit in financial

terms. These programmes enable the company to have a more flexible workforce in the operation of its machinery and equipment. Importantly, it also helps reduce the incident of ‘Repetitive Strain Injury’, which may be more common in mass manufacturing. Mr Tanti maintained that “the company encourages senior and the most experienced employees to mentor newer and younger employees. A number of retired employees are also invited to act as guides at various company sites to accompany tours and visits. This elicits much pride and also keeps former valuable employees engaged with the company.” Mr Tanti’s visit was sponsored by BUSINESSEUROPE.

23rd – 24th May European Social Partners’ Seminar on Youth Employability in Berlin MBB Executive Mark Seychell represented the MBB and BUSINESSEUROPE in a seminar organised by the European Social Partners. The seminar revolved around youth employability and the transition between education and the labour market. The seminar used an interactive approach by incentivizing dialogue between employers’ and employees’ representatives throughout Europe, allowing discussion to take place in the form of plenary sessions.

MBB Events & Participation in International Conferences

4th June Conference on Apprenticeships and Traineeship schemes with ESF support in Brussels MBB CEO Joe Tanti participated in a European conference, whose aim was to provide information and to conduct working sessions on apprenticeship and traineeship schemes throughout the EU. This also was meant to explore how European funding can be used to develop new schemes or improve existing ones, and to provide an opportunity to refine commitments of actions and pledges from stakeholders.

A tour of Siemens’ headquarters in Berlin was also organised, with participants being brought up to speed on Siemens’ successful training and scholarship schemes. This successful model has allowed them to become famous throughout the world for developing their own human resources. An explanatory tour of the Siemens factory then followed.

The conference was hosted by LászlóAndor, Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion; and was part of the European Social Fund’s Technical Assistance to Member States on apprenticeship and traineeship schemes. It also marked an important milestone in the roadmap towards establishing the European Alliance for Apprenticeships.

Mr Seychell’s visit was sponsored by the European Commission.

Mr Tanti’s visit was sponsored by the European Commission.

Following the publication of a Green Paper on the long-term financing of the European economy, BUSINESSEUROPE organised a workshop to discuss how to cope with factors of negative impact on banks’ ability to lend, and how to develop alternatives to traditional bank finance, in particular for SMEs. MBB President George Vella was invited to participate in a panel debate during this workshop, presenting the case of Malta emanating from the findings of the Market Gaps in Access to Finance report, which put forward recommendations that can be implemented locally, but which can also potentially be reproduced in other EU member states. Mr Vella elaborated on the findings of the MBB report, calling on the European

Commission to structure new innovative financing products in conjunction with the European Investment Bank. “The incoming EU programming period for the period 2014-2020 should be characterized by greater focus on impact intensiveness of cohesion-funded projects with significant attention devoted to SME development and support throughout their lifecycle. In this regard, financial engineering instruments will become more important instruments in the delivery of the EU cohesion policy which is also undergoing a transformation in being increasingly aligned as a practical support tool for enabling the attainment of the Europe2020 Strategy targets,” Mr Vella said.

Other high profile meetings During the same visit, the MBB Brussels office coordinated a number of meetings to follow-up on recent past visits and to further spur on the business development of the MBB on the Brussels front. In this regard, a meeting was held with the secretariat of the European Business Network whereby the MBB’s prospective associate membership of this panEuropean business incubation support service was discussed. The timing of the MBB visit also coincided very closely with the succession of three of Malta’s MEPs

following the casual election of Ms Marlene Mizzi, Dr Roberta Metsola and Ms Claudette Abela Baldacchino. Mr Vella, who was accompanied by CEO Joe Tanti and Permanent Delegate Omar Cutajar, took the opportunity to meet with both MEPs Metsola and Mizzi. During these meetings, the MBB officials held exchange of views on a number of EU policy priority items such as the draft directive on gender representation at board level (the Gender Quotas Directive) and the recent legislative initiative on non-financial disclosure of information, mainly affecting listed companies.

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MBB participation in International Conferences – Cont.

10th July MBB’s Market Gaps in Access to Finance report presented to Eurochambres in Brussels

9th July Conference on Product Safety in Brussels MBB Senior Executive Daniel Debono participated in a conference whose aim was to discuss the European Commission’s plans on Product safety and market surveillance. The scope of the debate was to assess whether this would weaken Europe’s global competitiveness. The European Commission looks to increase consumer safety. However stakeholders argue that there will be impacts on European enterprises too. For instance the new regulation on consumer product safety aims to introduce a mandatory indication of the country of origin defined by the non-preferential rules of origin for nearly all consumer products. The perception of the consumer as well as the impact on the economy is debated controversially. The event was organised by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Bavaria (BIHK) and the EU-Office of the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber (WKO), in view of a new Product Safety and Market Surveillance Package that is being planned for implementation by the European Commission.

The MBB was invited by Eurochambres’ Finance Committee to present the findings emanating from its report on ‘Market Gaps in Access to Finance’ in a workshop dealing with the subject of alternative financing. MBB’s Permanent Delegate Omar Cutajar and Senior Executive Daniel Debono showcased the realities of the Maltese credit market, which is predominantly characterized by

traditional bank lending and overdraft facilities. They reiterated with European Commission officials from DG Enterprise and Industry, the successful implementation of the loan-guarantee JEREMIE scheme; and the expectation to see more innovative financial engineering instruments introduced in Malta. These would benefit different SMEs operating in different sectors and at different stages of their development lifecycle.

2nd – 5th October MBB Executive participates in One Young World Summit in Johannesburg, South Africa

10th – 11th October MBB CEO participates in a Conference on “Skills needs in greening economies” in Brussels MBB CEO Joe Tanti participated in a conference organised by BUSINESSEUROPE, the European Trades Union Council (ETUC), the European Association of Craft and SMEs (EURAPME), and the European Centre of Employers and Enterprises providing Public Services (CEEP). This aimed at providing information on skills in greening economies. The conference sought to enhance the exchange of experience between trade unions, public and private employers (including SMEs), and to foster discussions both at national and European levels between social partners on lifelong learning development of competencies and qualifications in Europe, in the context of greening economies.

MBB Executive Mark Seychell was invited to participate in the annual summit organised by ‘One Young World’. This summit brought together 1,300 delegates from all over the world to debate and formulate solutions to the pressing issues that the world is facing.

Leading speakers included founder of Virgin Group Sir Richard Branson, CEO of Barclays Bank Anthony Jenkins, Editor of The Huffington Post Arianna Huffington, and Economist and Social Business exponent Professor Muhammad Yunus.

Among the topics discussed this year revolved around Global Business, Sustainable Development, as well as Youth Unemployment. The discussions took place in plenary sessions, as well as several workshops, in such a way that provoked innovative thought and discussion.

One Young World is a UK-based charity that gathers together the brightest young people from around the world, empowering them to make lasting connections to create positive change.

The “Skills needs in greening economies” project takes place within the context of the Integrated Programme of the EU Social Dialogue 2013-14. It serves to underline the important role played by trade unions, employers’ organisations and individual employers in supporting the Europe 2020 strategy’s goal of turning the EU into a smart, sustainable and inclusive economy capable of delivering high levels of employment, productivity and social cohesion.

Mr Seychell’s visit was sponsored by One Young World.

Mr Tanti’s visit was sponsored by BUSINESSEUROPE.

MBB Events & Participation in International Conferences

17th October Eurochambres Plenary Assembly Meeting held in Istanbul, Turkey MBB’s Permanent Delegate in Brussels Omar Cutajar was accompanied by the Head of Policy Development at the Malta Chamber Mr Andre Fenech, at the Eurochambres’ Plenary Assembly meeting. During this plenary Mr Richard Weber was elected as the successor to Alessandro Barberis as President of Eurochambres. Mr Barberis had served in this position since 2010. The Eurochambres Plenary Assembly mandated Mr Weber to focus his work

programme on three priorities: (i) Fostering Eurochambres as an inclusive and thriving European Chamber network by reinforcing the contacts between its members and facilitating best practice know how amongst each other; (ii) Positioning Chambers as competent partners in core business areas such as SME representation, innovation, education and training; (iii) intensifying cooperation with other relevant European stakeholders.

19th October Second International Crowdcon in Berlin, Germany MBB Senior Executive Daniel Debono participated at the 2nd International Crowdcon in Berlin that was organised by the European Crowdfunding Network (ECN). Crowdfunding is an alternative financial model of raising finance that is growing rapidly throughout Europe. This is done through the collective effort of individuals who network and pool their resources to support efforts initiated by other people or organisations. This is usually done via or with the help of the internet. The conference brought together many exponents of crowdfunding platforms operating across Europe who shared their

experience in using innovative means to support entrepreneurs (particularly startups) via donation, reward, lending and equity models. The European Crowdfunding Network (ECN) promotes crowdfunding as a viable offering of job creation, social innovation and boost to entrepreneurship to the European public, policy makers and stakeholders. It also creates and influences the political discourse regarding crowdfunding within the European Union. The MBB is exploring the possibilities of launching the first Crowdfunding platform in Malta to serve as an alternative financial instrument for start-ups and SMEs.

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MBB participation in International Conferences – Cont.

19th November MBB participates in a CEDEFOP workshop in Thessaloniki, Greece

14th – 15th November MBB and mbn workshop on “Financial Instruments key to the future of SMEs” held in Brussels MBB President George Vella was invited to address a workshop event on the “Financial Instruments key to the future of SMEs” that was held in Brussels. The workshop event was organised by Mediterranean Bank Network in collaboration with the Malta Business Bureau. The workshop sought to help raise awareness about the opportunities and considerations involved in creating and utilising of financial instruments to be launched for the EU Financial Perspective (2014 -2020). The workshop also highlighted (EBRD) priorities in the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean (SEMED) region. The discussions brought about during the event shared the best practices amongst financial services players and EU institutional players on financial engineering Instruments, Risk Sharing Instruments and Guarantee Instruments.

MBB CEO Joe Tanti was invited to participate in a workshop on “The political and institutional landscape of work-based learning in CVET Europe” in Thessaloniki Greece. The event was organised by CEDEFOP. The workshop was targeted at European and national policy-makers, stakeholders, researchers and experts, who show a professional interest in work-based learning in continuing vocational education and training (CVET).

The issues that were discussed during the workshop were the results of the first interim phase of the European study that CEDEFOP is currently carrying out on work-based learning approaches in CVET in Europe: policies and practices. The key questions and challenges arising from these initial results were addressed during the workshop as well as suggestions to improve and adjust for the next phases of the study. Mr Tanti’s visit was sponsored by CEDEFOP.

25th – 26th November MBB participates at the 2013 SME Assembly For the second consecutive year, the Malta Business Bureau was invited by DG Enterprise to participate in the annual SME Assembly, which this year took place in Vilnius, under the auspices of the Lithuanian Presidency of the Council. The SME Assembly is an annual conference bringing together stakeholder representative organisations from the European business community, business research associations and EU SME policy-makers. The Maltese representation at the SME Assembly included Omar Cutajar, the MBB’s Permanent Delegate in Brussels, Mr. Frank Farrugia, Chair of the Malta Chamber’s SME and Family Business Committee and Mr. Lino Mintoff, Head of Sectors at the Malta Chamber. The themes of this year’s edition was “Encouraging a Europe of Enterprise” and discussions focused on a wide-ranging array of EU business-related issues such as

MBB Events & Participation in International Conferences

access to finance for SMEs, opportunities in the green economy, the improvement of the general business environment, internationalisation as well as the promotion of CSR practices within businesses. The 2013 SME Assembly served also as an opportunity for Eurochambres to present their new report on the European Commission’s use of the SME Test. The report demonstrates with practical examples how the “SME Test” first promulgated by the adoption of the Small Business Act, remains disparate and often insufficiently-applied by the Commission services whenever new legislation is submitted to the mandatory impact assessment procedure. The European Enterprise Awards ceremony was also held on the fringes of the SME Assembly meeting, with the Grand Jury Prize awarded to the Latvian Chamber’s flagship project, “Think Small First”.

12th - 13th December Conference on the promotion of the EU Social Dialogue instruments and capacity building MBB CEO Joe Tanti participated in a conference organised by the European social partners on the implementation of European social dialogue instruments. Gathering more than one hundred participants, it addressed issues such as the implementation of autonomous framework agreements, strengthening the link between the EU and national social dialogues, capacity building, and the role of social partners in renewed economic governance. The European social partner organisations endorsed conclusions in which they

agree to continue their endeavours to ensure appropriate implementation and follow-up of EU social dialogue instruments. The European Commission must respect the autonomy of social partners in doing so. In a concluding panel, Renate HornungDraus, Chair of BUSINESSEUROPE’s Social Affairs Committee, suggested that it was important in the future to think about the importance of representative, autonomous and responsible social dialogue in rapidly changing economies and societies.

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06. Board of directors & executive team directors george vella

Mario Spiteri

President

Vice President

George micallef

Anton Borg

Charles brincat

Charles zahra

executive team Joe Tanti

Omar Cutajar

Geoffrey Saliba

CEO

Permanent Delegate in Brussels

EU LIFE+ Investing in Water Project Manager

MBB ANNUAL REPORT 2013

*John A. Huber served on the Board till March 2013

Daniel debono

Mark Seychell

Justine Cuschieri

Solange Vella

Senior Executive

Executive

Projects Assistant

Projects Assistant

*Mariella Scicluna formed part of the team till September 2013

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representing


Head Office

Brussels Office

Cornerline, Level 1 Dun Karm Street Birkirkara BKR 9039 Malta

La Valette Business Centre 289, Avenue d’Auderghem Brussels B-1040 Belgium

Tel: +356 2125 1719 info@mbb.org.mt www.mbb.org.mt

Tel: +32 485 981 124 infobrussels@mbb.org.mt www.mbb.org.mt

MBB annual report 2013


Mbb annual report 2013