For the fourth year running, the sum of €100,000 will be allocated to entrepreneurs and researchers through the University of Malta's TAKEOFF Seed Fund Award (TOSFA) to help move their innovative ideas and technologies closer to commercialisation.
The Ministry for the Economy, Investment and Small Business and the University of Malta have launched the 2017 edition of TOSFA, with the support of the University's Knowledge Transfer Office, TAKEOFF Business Incubator, and Centre for Entrepreneurship and Business Incubation (CEBI).
Entrepreneurs and start-ups working on ideas for innovative products and services are encouraged to apply for up to €20,000 in seed funds, intended to take them a step closer to their first customer or investment and ultimately allowing them to successfully do business in Malta. Researchers working on innovations developed through University R&D may apply for proof of concept funds to take their technology closer to commercialisation. Award winners will also receive mentoring and support for their endeavours through TAKEOFF and the Knowledge Transfer Office.
This year's round of funding aims to build on the successes of the previous editions, which have attracted over 100 applicants and have seen over 25 projects getting funded. Teams behind some of the successful projects presented their progress during the TOSFA Launch Event. Researcher Prof. Tonio Sant, who is working on technology for offshore wind energy storage, explained that their award enabled them to collaborate with MedServ Plc and obtain additional funding through the MCST Fusion Programme. They will be deploying a scaled-down version of their technology in the Grand Harbour this summer for testing and demonstration purposes, with the aim of attracting further private investment.
The injection of TOSFA seed funds into the BumALift application allowed Incredible Web to grow their carpooling software into Malta's number one carpooling platform, with thousands of active users and almost a hundred daily carpools. This has enabled the Incredible Web team to grow to six full-time employees to meet the increasing demand for high-quality software development requested by clients all over the world. TOSFA funding has also enabled Freshy to bring a top international design studio on board to work on their mobile and web user interface. They have also successfully participated in a number of international start-up competitions and were ranked one of the top-10 start-ups in the world by CNBC.
Minister Cardona noted that Malta's economy is performing strongly, and a strong and sustainable economic future will depend, to a large extent, on the talent nurtured today. The Ministry for the Economy, Investment and Small Business is committed to creating opportunities for start-ups to thrive so that their research and ideas might be turned into a commercial reality.
The deadline for the submission of written applications for TOSFA is Tuesday 23rd May at noon. TAKEOFF will be organising a workshop for interested applicants on Saturday, 29th April 2017. For further details visit TAKEOFF's website.
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