29 Nov | Malta: Silicon Valletta
Malta has been chosen as the European Capital of Culture 2018 and the preparations are in full swing, starting from the entrance to the city designed by the Italian Renzo Piano, architect of the nearby Parliament, to the various architectural recovery projects, such as the is-Suq l-Antik tal-Bel covered market and the Valletta Design Cluster, a space dedicated to international design initiatives.
The goal is that of becoming a European “Silicon Valley” and, as the Global Startup Ecosystem reports, the process is already well underway: Malta has been considered one of the most promising locations for start-ups in the continent, alongside Barcelona, Frankfurt, Helsinki and Lisbon. In recent years, the island has also built an e-government system among the most advanced and efficient in Europe, and boasts a very good Information Communication Technology infrastructure.
In Malta, there is considerable availability of highly qualified and specialized labour that is not as expensive as in the rest of Europe. In addition, the quality of life is very high, when compared to the rest of the world, and its economy is healthy.
There are numerous opportunities for those who work in the following sectors: IT, finance, gaming and online gambling. At the end of 2016, a group of entrepreneurs gave birth to the “Silicon Valletta” project, with the objective of putting emerging start-ups in contact with the government and the investment sector, thanks also to the active support of KPMG and the Malta Communication Authority. The goal is to find resources and skills to support the growth of the digital ecosystem of the island.
The “Malta Information Technology Agency” (MITA) is a government agency that, in addition to implementing IT programmes for the government, is equipped with an Innovation Hub that manages the “YouStartIT” programme, dedicated to young digital companies. Start-ups that offer up a business idea could receive an investment of 22,000 euros and have the opportunity of being supported by experts.
Not surprisingly, the headquarter is in “SmartCity Malta“, a technological park that is under construction in Kalkara, not far from La Valletta. This location will host a citadel dedicated to IT and Media, based on the model of the Dubai Internet City and Dubai Media City “twins”. This is an important project, presented in 2007 by then Prime Minister of Malta Lawrence Gozi, which will be completed in 2021, although the first office opened in 2010. It will occupy an area of 360,000 square metres, will cost at least 275 million euros and will employ up to 11,000 people.