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Innovating in business is hardly an innovative idea. It’s human nature to strive to be better, replacing mules with tractors and horses with cars. Improving how we do things, whether it’s interacting with our customers or reaching further than we ever dreamt of, is not only possible, it’s necessary.

Take a minute to observe the world around you in 2024.

Commerce and trade have evolved at such breakneck speed that they would look almost unrecognisable to a person living only 30 years ago in the 1990s. Enterprises that have survived and grown during this transformation did so by innovating and adapting.

The eurozone economy has in recent years been bolstered by EU recovery funds, which made available billions of euros in low-cost grants and loans to be invested in economic digitalisation and renewable energy.

According to economists, however, ensuring those gains are lasting, requires countries and businesses to build on this momentum and further increase competitiveness and productivity.

Digitalising your business is essential to keeping up with the modern world, and if you have any doubts about that, just ask Blockbuster!

Why Digitalise Your Business?

We’ve covered the main benefits of having a functional website in a separate post, so we won’t be repeating ourselves.

What we will do is outline the top three reasons why you should digitalise your business:

  • Free up time: Let computers do what they do best, that is, automate routine tasks, such as updating inventory or sending reminders. This will allow you to become more efficient and reduce your operational costs.
  • Listen to your customers: Being accessible to your customers is a critical cog in the overall customer experience, and success in this area leads to more sales. The right technology can make reaching and interacting with existing and new clients easier.
  • Transform efficiently: New tech is continually being developed, and having the right platform, be it a website or otherwise, can make it easier for you to integrate the apps of the future.

What is the business digitalization scheme in Malta?

Where There’s a Sound Investment, There’s a Grant, or even Two!

The Maltese Government and the EU are encouraging you to digitalise your business by offering two grants.

Systemato is a registered service provider with the Measures and Support division, which means that we can handle your digital transformation, including the design of a modern website or online shop.

Digitalise Your Micro Business Scheme - €10,000 per Investment

This grant is suitable for micro-enterprises engaged in any economic activity, irrespective of their legal form, but subject to certain exclusions. A micro-enterprise is a business that employs fewer than 10 people and has an annual turnover and/or annual balance sheet total not exceeding €2 million.

You can use this grant to digitalise your micro business with an investment in one or more of the following hardware, software, and digital solutions:

  • Commercial Off-The-Shelf (COTS) software
  • Subscription-based software (covering up to 2 years)
  • Necessary hardware (e.g., laptops, tablets, monitors)
  • Cloud computing solutions
  • Cybersecurity systems
  • Training related to the use of acquired digital tools (if included in the purchase price and from the same provider)

The maximum grant that eligible micro-enterprises in Malta can receive is 50% of eligible costs, up to a maximum of €10,000 per investment. Micro-enterprises in Gozo can use this scheme to cover 60% of their costs.

Digitalise Your Business Scheme - €50,000 per Investment

This grant is similar in scope to the Digitalise Your Micro Business scheme but is geared towards larger enterprises, specifically, small and medium-sized businesses. Eligible businesses would need to employ fewer than 250 individuals, have a turnover of €50 million or less and have a balance sheet total of €43 million or less.

With the Digitalise Your Business grant, you can invest in various digital enhancements, including:

  • Development or enhancement of e-commerce websites
  • Advanced digital solutions and custom software applications
  • Necessary hardware upgrades (e.g., servers, high-performance laptops)
  • Implementation of sophisticated analytical tools and associated hardware
  • Comprehensive cybersecurity enhancements
  • Investments in cloud computing infrastructure
  • Networking equipment such as routers and switches
  • Specialised training directly related to the deployed digital tools and technologies

The maximum funding for eligible small and medium-sized enterprises is €50,000 per digitalisation investment, with part-financing of eligible costs up to 50% in Malta and 60% in Gozo.

Eligibility and Application Process

While these grants have a wide scope, certain businesses are excluded, among which are businesses in Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing; processing and marketing of agricultural products; manufacturing, processing, and marketing of tobacco and tobacco products; public entities not engaged in economic activities; sectors such as Energy, Steel and Coal, Shipbuilding, Transport, Synthetic Fibres, Financial and Insurance activities, Real Estate, and Gambling and Betting activities.

Moreover, to be eligible, businesses must be actively engaged in economic activities.

Applications are accepted on a rolling basis, allowing businesses the flexibility to apply as their needs evolve. However, it’s crucial to note that companies that have previously benefited from certain digital grants may not qualify again under these schemes.

Benefiting from Digital Transformation

There are copious amounts of real-world case studies that have proven that digital transformations can be beneficial to businesses, small and large.

However, if you’re finding it hard to connect the dots, let’s inspire you with two of our own examples.

An independent boutique clothes shop which specialises in bespoke clothing invested in an e-commerce platform and digital marketing to attract customers beyond its local area. The grant covered a new online inventory management system, which streamlined the business’ operations and reduced its overhead costs whilst also significantly boosting sales.

Similarly, a local café used the grant to install a digital ordering system which reduced wait times, allowed customers to view the menu beforehand, and improved customer satisfaction. This investment not only enhanced the customer experience but also allowed for better data collection on research and buying patterns, enabling more targeted marketing and promotions.

Taking the Next Step

If you’ve got a goal to create an e-commerce website in Malta or invest in a similarly productive digital tool, one of these grants could help you reduce the costs of this investment.

While the application process is fairly straightforward, you may benefit from having a professional who can assist you in identifying the most suitable grant and to ensure you include all eligible expenses in your funding application.

At Systemato, we’re not big fans of application forms, but we’ve got a network of professionals who could assist you. This network is made up of individuals with backgrounds in various economic sectors, so no matter how niche your enterprise is, we can help you find the right person for the job.

So your next step is simple; get in touch with us today and we’ll help you retire your mule and invest in a tractor, or something like that.

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Mark Debono

Author Mark Debono

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