For startup founders considering international relocation, there's a new rising star on the map of possibilities – the Mediterranean island of Malta. A member of the European Union, the Commonwealth and the Eurozone, Malta is a strong jurisdiction for business setups, punching well above its weight and size!
With small and medium sized enterprises being the backbone of its economy, Malta is strengthening its fast-growing startup ecosystem, and promoting the country as a sound and competitive entry-point and base, for entrepreneurs to launch their innovative ventures and access the EU market.
As one of the fastest growing economies in the EU, Malta offers entrepreneurs a myriad of opportunities. Entrepreneurs will encounter helpful government entities to aid them in the process of setting up. Moreover, the cost of doing business might be considered relatively cheaper than in other European countries.
With booming industries like medtech, deep tech, AI, life sciences and established traditional sectors like high end manufacturing, aviation and pharma, entrepreneurs will find a skilled workforce and access to corporate service providers.
The cherry on the cake is that, for startups seeking to secure funding, Malta Enterprise, the Government's economic development agency, offers dedicated funding packages for eligible startups considering Malta as their base.
Relocation and lifestyle
Startup relocation is not just about business opportunities and access to markets. A sometimes overlooked and underrated consideration in the process of relocation is the element of lifestyle for the founders and employees. Most will seek countries that are safe. Work-life balance is clearly on many persons' list of top priorities. People also want to reduce their commuting to have more leisure time on their hands or time to spend with their families. For some, warmer climates are a magnet, so that they can enjoy the outdoors.
Here are 5 reasons Malta's lifestyle makes relocation a breeze:
Safety and security
Malta is one of the safest countries in the world with a negligible crime rate. People are friendly and hospitable. The country boasts a stable democratic political system and highly regulated industries. Residents have access to top notch educational institutions as well as world class health services. All these elements in combination make Malta a great location to consider, both to set up shop and to live independently as a startup founder, or with the family.
Malta has two official languages – Maltese and English. English is also the language used to do business. This means that foreigners settle is very quickly and that communication with the locals comes without hiccups. English is also used for legislation, media, government communication and a large number of services rendered, where information offered is always bi-lingual.
Malta has always enjoyed a strategic position since ancient times. Amidst the Mediterranean Sea flanked by Southern Europe, North Africa and the East, the Islands were conquered by several empires, eager to exploit its location. Nowadays the country is well connected to Europe, North Africa and the Middle East via daily air and sea links while its time zone easily coincides with many countries across the world. The Island has nationwide 5G and hundreds of free public wifi hotspots, ensuring excellent connectivity wherever one chooses to work from. Size indeed matters, and with the Islands' small surface area, travelling from one end of the Island to the other is a short affair, making it ultra convenient when it comes to making the most of leisure time.
Malta is a tight-knit community with a society based on family values. The extended family is a thing and most leisure activities and participation in society revolves around families and children. Since the country became a hub for the global gaming industry, the community has become a multi-cultural melting-pot, with expats hailing from all over the world. This fast-growing expat community is also well organised, with numerous groups holding events for like minded professionals, entrepreneurs or digital nomads. Networking is considered important not only for work reasons but also for social interaction by both locals and foreigners alike.
Leisure and culture
Residents enjoy a very pleasant Mediterranean lifestyle in Malta. The all-year-round pleasant weather drives people outdoors, to enjoy life al fresco. Those who give importance to being active are spoilt for choice – on the menu are scuba diving, trekking, outdoor gyms, water sports and sailing and a variety of outdoor classes.
Malta has such a vibrant cultural scene with an array of performances and events all the way from pop music and village feasts to high-brow performances and theatre. Expats will also discover why Malta is called an open-air museum, as they get to feast their eyes on numerous heritage sights and historic architecture that spans neolithic civilisation, the Knights Hospitaller and the British colony in the Second World War. For foodies, Malta is a haven for the tasting of different cuisines, from Mediterranean fare boasting the freshest of local produce, to the best and trendiest of Asian fusion, Indian and Lebanese.
Startup residency for non-EU founders
Non-EU startup founders considering Malta as a base have a straightforward migratory road to medium-term residence in the country. To facilitate the process for third country nationals, the Malta Startup Residence Programme grants a 3+5-year residence permit, during which beneficiaries are able to reside in Malta while launching or scaling their startup venture. This ensures a seamless residency period that gives entrepreneurs peace of mind so that they can put all their energy and focus into their.
The Programme is run by Residency Malta and Malta Enterprise, and is open to founders, co-founders, core employees and immediate family members. The Programme offers beneficiaries long term business and family stability as well as the opportunity to attract and retain international talent and reach business contacts around Europe with visa-free access to countries in Schengen.
The investment requirement for the Malta Startup Residence Programme is a minimum of €25,000 in a tangible investment or paid-up share capital. Beneficiaries would need to have a tangible presence in Malta and pay taxes locally. After completing five years in Malta, beneficiaries will be able to apply for long-term residency.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.