Malta’s English heritage, EU membership, and reputation as a hotspot for business connections make it an attractive one for small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs), according to the person responsible for promoting the country as part of a German business network.
The local chapter of the German SME business network BVMW, BVMW Auslandsbüro Malta, set up last month and led by Alfons Schwarte, is working to attract German and other businesses hoping to open up a new location in Malta.
The organisation, which boasts over 300 branches and 900,000 affiliated companies, and is active in 68 countries, will promote Malta in various ways.
“We will offer delegation trips for German entrepreneurs, sure, but it goes beyond that,” explains Mr Schwarte.
“Our organisation, across all our chapters, organises business days, where Malta will be presented as a possible business location.”
“We also regularly work with foreign chambers of commerce in Germany,” he continues. “Through this collaboration, we can host delegations coming from outside Germany.
“Finally, we will use the international network of the association to present Malta outside of the EU.”
BVMW therefore does more than act as a bridge between Malta and German businesses, with its reach extending far outside Germany’s borders.
The organisation is very clear on the type of businesses they will promote Malta to. These include financial consultancies, digitalisation companies, trade companies and consulting companies, with turnover between €300,000 and €10 million, that want to start their business in Malta with two to five employees.
Asked what led the BVMW to open a local chapter in Malta, Mr Schwarte pointed out that Malta is an important trading partner for Germany.
“Many German companies have settled here and operate from Malta,” he says. “There’s Lufthansa, Seifert, Playmobile, to mention a few.”
“The association would like to promote Malta as a location. It is a European location impressive in its proximity to Africa.”
He continues: “Malta also has the advantage of the English language and competitive labour costs.”
Mr Schwarte explains that Malta is seen as a hotspot for business connections, and German entrepreneurs appreciate the English influence.
“German entrepreneurs know the importance of diversification,” he says. “The name of the company becomes better known and another market is opened up.”
He also brings up the support shown by Malta Enterprise, with which BVMW Malta envisages close collaboration.
Malta’s membership in the EU is also important, not only because of the internal market, but also because German entrepreneurs have access to EU funding here.
Malta’s value-added as a jurisdiction for German SMEs further increases when considering the much shorter distances when compared to Germany, while the country’s tax incentives, under certain conditions, act as the cherry on top.
“The sum of all these advantages makes Malta so interesting,” says Mr Schwarte.
“And last but not least,” he says with a wry smile, “the weather is simply better in Malta.”
Asked on the other hand the value German companies can bring to the Maltese economy, he notes that German companies setting up in Malta are first and foremost employers and pay into the social security system on behalf of their employees, while German entrepreneurs also pay taxes in Malta.
He also points out that the presence of German companies has a knock-on effect on other sectors, noting that the Maltese domestic market is boosted by consumption.
“But the most important thing,” he concludes, “is the new links that will be created between the two countries.”
Alfons Schwarte (centre) during the launch of BVMW Auslandsbüro Malta
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