Through its initiative, Business START, Malta Enterprise is offering seed funding for start-ups.
This is intended to support Small Start-up Undertakings that have a viable business concept and that are in the early stage of development. Economically viable initiatives shall be supported through a grant of up to €25,000. This scheme has a total budget of €500,000 and is administered by the Malta Enterprise Corporation (the ‘Corporation’). Applications for this grant will be accepted until noon of June 30th, 2016.
The Malta Enterprise Incentive Guidelines (the ‘Guidelines’) define a ‘Small Start-up Undertaking’ as an unlisted Small Undertaking that has been established for less than five years which has not yet distributed profits and has not formed through a merger.
Undertakings that close down and re-open; and undertakings controlled by owners of previously closed down businesses (if the new undertaking is operating in the same/related sectors as the closed down undertaking) are excluded from the definition. These restrictions are applicable for a 12-month period following such closure. Likewise, undertakings controlled by owners of existing businesses that are in the same sector(s) as the new undertaking, are not eligible.
The main factors that determine whether an undertaking is a Small Undertaking are the number of employees which must be less than 50 Full Time Equivalent (FTE) employees; and a turnover or balance sheet total which does not exceed €10 million.
As per the Guidelines, Small Start-up Undertakings must be engaged in one or more of the following activities:
- Information Technology, Digital Media and Communications;
- Research, Development and Technical Innovation;
- Biotechnology, Pharmaceuticals and Life Sciences; or
- Other start-up undertakings proposing products and/or services that can be marketed and distributed internationally and which are typically more advanced than those prevailing in their respective industry, in terms of technology, know-how and skills.
The following are not eligible: Public Entities (such as Ministries and similar organizations that carry out a public or regulatory function, which does not involve the carrying out of an economic activity); Voluntary Organizations; and Undertakings that are engaged in any of the following activities:
- Real Estate;
- Financial Services and/or insurance;
- Wholesale or retail trade of goods or services to which the eligible undertaking has not added value in the carrying out of this economic activity or that opened or are selling the products or services of the eligible undertaking.
Applicants will be subject to monitoring in order to ensure that their project is being or was implemented according to the Guidelines; the terms and conditions set in the Incentive Entitlement Certificate issued by the Corporation; and Commission Regulation (EU) No 651/2014 of June 17th, 2014. Malta Enterprise may carry out, or commission third parties to carry out on-site visits during or after the implementation of the investment project. During the visits, verification of the documentation related to the investment project may be requested, as well as confirmation of the works carried out.
The application form must be submitted to Business First by not later than noon of June 30th, 2016. In addition to the application form, applicants must submit a business plan which includes a clear description of the proposed business venture; a SWOT Analysis; and clear business model describing potential revenue streams and operational costs.
Applications will be evaluated using the following criteria: Commercial Feasibility; Innovation; Technological Feasibility; Knowledge; Target Clients; and Feasibility. The applicants must clearly show that the project has a potential to develop products/services that address a real niche in the market. The innovative nature of the project will be assessed in relation to the products/services.
Successful applicants will be notified in writing of the outcome of their application. An Incentive Entitlement Certificate will be issued once an applicant is approved.