The notion of internationalisation can be quite daunting, especially for companies attempting to grow beyond Malta’s shores for the first time. Thankfully, TradeMalta has assisted innumerable businesses of all shapes and sizes to venture beyond the local economy, to a great success.
“The most critical impetus for companies to internationalise is typically when they approach the saturation of their home market,” says Klaus Pedersen, Trade Promotion Manager at TradeMalta. “It is therefore little wonder that companies in a microstate such as Malta tend to internationalise earlier than those based in other countries. In fact, Malta arguably has an over-representation of Born Globals – companies that set out to internationalise from their inception,” Klaus illustrates.
Expanding, he points out that it is not exclusively due to the small home market. “It is also in part because Malta has been successful in attracting companies that come here, not to service the local market, but to use Malta as a base for internationalisation.”
Through numerous programmes offered by organizations such as TradeMalta, business have been attending business missions, exhibiting at trade fairs, participating in brokerage events, and carrying out market research in desired countries, laying out priceless preparatory work for their internationalisation efforts.
One very specific programme run by TradeMalta, with the support of HSBC Bank Malta plc, is designed to guide the exporter to think about their internationalisation efforts in the coming year, and to make sure that applicants have a concrete plan for what activities they are going to conduct in the coming year.
“The Global Growth programme does not merely co-finance expenses. Our programmes are designed to ensure that, as much as possible, we support the export development of the companies. The programme is aimed at Malta-based companies who are eyeing new markets or developing existing ones. We are not interested in merely co-financing expenses that would be part of the clients’ overheads,” Klaus continues.
Participants in the Global Growth programme can get support to travel to trade fairs, and participate as visitors, before committing to exhibiting in them. Once a business then decides that it would be beneficial for it to exhibit, TradeMalta then has a complete host of other support mechanisms aimed at helping them.
“This is an excellent example of how TradeMalta’s suite of programmes, all forming part of the ‘International Trade Promotion Incentive’, are complementary to each other,” Klaus notes. TradeMalta’s programme supporting Exhibiting in Trade Fairs is by far the agency’s most popular programme, in terms of financial assistance paid out.
Klaus also makes it a point to explain how internationalisation is not limited to the traditional manufacturing sectors and is open to all businesses including those operating in the services sector.
“TradeMalta supports exporters of both goods and services. Traditionally, the term export is associated with the export of goods and many elements of Export Promotion have therefore been focused on this aspect. Recently however, there has been a shift in this trend, as we have witnessed the services sector taking an ever-larger share of the exports Malta is responsible for.”
In a country that displays considerable limitations in supporting large ‘verticals’, such as those found in the manufacturing industries, services have found fertile ground to flourish.
“The services sector is not affected by such limitations, and it is therefore only natural that we are seeing a higher increase in the tertiary sector’s exports than other countries. This development is also reflected in the profile of TradeMalta’s client base, and indeed the clients making use of the Global Growth programme,” Klaus expounds.
Applications for Global Growth 2024 are open and are being received till 11th December 2023. Successful candidates for the competitive call can receive co-financing of up to 50 per cent of their eligible costs which can include market research, translation of marketing material into the target-market’s language, SEO for a specific geographical area, as well as incoming and outgoing travel costs for business meetings.
“Through Global Growth we want to help ambitious companies that have a clear vision for internationalisation, achieve their goals,” Klaus concludes.