‘A positive personal scorecard and a negative business one’
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“Late in 2010 we relocated to Gozo from South Africa. Now at the beginning of a new year and after more than 12 months in Malta we have concluded our choice of a new country was good. We have received friendship and help from many people, so necessary to settling in a different environment and to starting a life far from family and lifetime friends. We now feel that Gozo is truly home.
When we moved here we were determined to continue working in our own businesses. We identified a number of business opportunities that we felt could be relocated to the islands. An analysis of the local economy demonstrates the overwhelming importance of small and medium enterprises to the economic well being of Malta.
We negotiated three exclusivity agreements with companies in South Africa. Our requirements were that the businesses should increase employment, add value to the economy and have growth potential into Europe with Malta as the headquarters. Management would be by local entrepreneurs. Our function would be to act as links with the South African organisations and offer advice locally.
These businesses are a restaurant franchise, the establishment of a knitwear factory for export and the import of South African wine.
Marketing our ideas has taken us from Ministers to financial institutions to businessmen and chambers of commerce. Interest at all levels has appeared to be extremely positive. Agreement with our rationale for the ventures has been quickly forthcoming. We have been most encouraged on a number of occasions.
We appear to have reached an impasse. People indicate interest in our business ideas and then all contact ceases. It seems to us that the entrepreneurial spirit is not alive and well in Malta. The business community is tightly held by local business people who do not wish to entertain entry by others, especially foreign parties. It would be gratifying to find that we are wrong in this assessment.
We are not philanthropists but are not driven solely by profit. We wish to make a useful contribution to our new home, hopefully imparting some of what we have learned over many years of work. So at the end of a year we have a positive personal scorecard and a negative business scorecard. Optimism rules, however and we still hope to meet Maltese business people who can prove that there is a place for businesses introduced by foreigners.”
Bob Adey & Barbara Day
(Partners – BBP Consulting)