Opportunities and Challenges in the Malta SME Landscape

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The Maltese business environment has become increasingly attractive in recent years, with the economy moving from a largely agricultural one to a more diversified one. To add to this, the European Investment Bank (EIB) signed an agreement with the European Commission and the government of Malta in December 2020 to increase financing for SMEs up to €28 million.

The government has significantly invested in supporting the growth of sectors like pharmaceuticals, technology, IT&C, engineering, tourism, aviation, financial and maritime, offering multiple investment opportunities for entrepreneurs. There are several other reasons why Malta is viewed as an attractive business destination.

Why SMEs Love Malta

One of the key attractions of starting a business in Malta is the legal and taxation regime of the country. The Maltese corporate tax system has been designed specifically to attract entrepreneurs and investors. For instance, Malta has signed more than 70 double taxation treaties with nations across the world, protecting businesses from taxation from two different countries on the same income and safeguarding against high foreign tax.

The strategic location of Malta in the Mediterranean means that it is ideally positioned for access to Europe, Africa and the Middle East. The nation is also known for its highly qualified, yet lower cost, workforce, as compared to other European nations.

Despite all these advantages, there still are some challenges that SMEs face while doing business in the nation.

Challenges of Doing Business in Malta

A survey, conducted by the Malta Chamber of SMEs in January 2021, revealed that the biggest concerns for small and medium-sized businesses in the nation were the pandemic-led decline in sales, along with cashflow worries and difficulty in collecting payments. If these challenges were to persist, many SMEs believed that they would not survive another 12 months.

Image Source: Times of Malta, 2021

While the government is working on providing relief from the pandemic-induced slowdown, one of the largest challenges for SMEs continues to be access to banking and financial services. Most SMEs are unable to provide collateral for working capital loans and even when they do get approved, they might not receive the entire requested amount. Adding to the woes are the hugely bureaucratic processes, tedious paperwork and lengthy waiting times for access to funding.

Other areas of concern include access to business credit cards, invoicing financing and discounting, multi-currency accounts and payroll processing. Add to this the need for businesses to interact with multiple financial services for their business banking needs and the entire prospects becomes extremely cumbersome and expensive.

Technology to the Rescue

The unfortunate reality is that all these challenges come in the way of SMEs missing out on business opportunities and, therefore, failing to reach their full. Achieving financing is possibly the most effective way for SMEs to overcome most of the other challenges that usually face small and medium-sized businesses.

Some key pain points that our clients face include slow reconciliation processes, slow customer account openings, difficulty in managing multiple customer bank login credentials for payment execution, multiple banking relationships to support various business and customer needs and the lack of a means to execute bulk payments via a single unified portal.

So, we thought, what if SMEs could access numerous financial products, customised to their business needs, all in one place? This would not only ease multiple business processes, it would also save time that could then be used for core business activities.

Our technology platform, Fyorin, functions as a one-stop solution, enabling easy card payments, invoice financing or discounting, payroll and smooth flow of working capital.

With our user-friendly banking solution, you can open a multi-currency account within minutes, with support for more than 41 different currencies. You can then create as many virtual IBANs as they need under your business’ name for seamless reconciliation. No need for multiple accounts or banking partners.

Plus, with a virtual business credit card, all online purchases would garner rebates, regardless of whether you choose a one-time or multi-spend card. Most importantly, the nightmare of conducting month-end reconciliations with numerous financial suppliers can be done away with. Through Fyorin, you gain access to real-time, easy-to-use reconciliation tools for all financial services.

The best part is that you don’t need to be a tech whiz to benefit from the powerful Fyorin platform. Transferring funds across borders is easy, with transparent forex fees. In addition, with your multi-currency account, you can create many more accounts, completely free of cost, in case you need separate wallets for different clients or cost centres.

Another key advantage is that payments approval processes can be automated by simply setting up different permissions and roles within your organization. This helps speed up the payments process while eliminating operational overheads.

That’s not all. Fyorin’s machine learning capabilities can guide you in real-time to identify ways to improve cost savings and profitability with your banking operations, such that you get the most out of every transaction. It’s almost like having your personal account manager who supports you with all your banking needs.

We’ve created Fyorin out of our own experiences with the hurdles that SMEs and start-ups face in Malta. This is why we know that the end-to-end tailored banking solutions we offer help our clients improve operational efficiency, ease customer onboarding, identify new revenue streams, schedule bulk payments and drive growth for their core business.

Are you ready to make the most of the business opportunities that Malta has to offer? Contact us to discuss how we can ease the process for you.

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