Local businesses attend seminar for SME Week in Gozo
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Grants, Schemes & Incentives for SMEs – is the title of a seminar organised by the Gozo Business Chamber, in collaboration with the Ministry for the Economy, Investment and Small Businesses as part of the SME Week Malta 2017.
Minister for Gozo Justyne Caruana, addressed those present for the event, noting that the main goals of the SME week are to provide information on the kind of support that is being offered to micro – small – and medium-sized businesses on both an EU and a national level.
She added that, “moreover, it showcases the help being offered by regional and local authorities and promotes entrepreneurship.”
“Dialogue leads to further understanding and better planning, and I have ensured to personally discuss business-related issues, both individually and with your constituted representative bodies,” remarked the Minister.
Dr Caruana continued, “it was precisely in our initial meetings, in the very first weeks of my appointment as Minister for Gozo, that we had acknowledged the increasing difficulties in recruiting the required numbers of Gozitan workers.”
“We purposely commissioned professional studies, particularly to analyse the skill gap on the island and the kind of employment Gozitans are looking for in terms of the career they wish to follow,” stated Minister Caruana in her closing speech.
Dr Caruana spoke about the main points of this year’s budget speech in connection to SMEs, particularly in Gozo.
“The Government was going to increase Microinvest assistance to Gozitan SMEs to up to €70,000 and issue a refund of up to 30% or €6,000 for every new job created by the private sector, as long as the employer offers a three-year term contract to the employee,” said the Minister.
She also pledged the Government’s continuous support in the interest of small and medium enterprises, which Dr Caruana described as, “the backbone of the local industry.”
Also mentioned by the Minister was the €10 million investment at the former MDP, for which the Planning Authority has recently approved the permits, as well as the projects at Tal-Hofra and the SME Park, which are both in the Xewkija Industrial Zone.
The Minister for Gozo said that the next step is to attract investment which provides jobs for locals and for those who decide to settle down in Gozo.
She emphasised that the Ministry for Gozo is “fully committed to supporting such initiatives which will improve SMEs’ business operations both locally and internationally, thereby contributing to a healthier economy.”
Photograph: MGOZ/Terry Camilleri