The TAKEOFF Seed Funds Awards has now – in its fifth year – become a showcase of unique business ideas from students and researchers at the University of Malta participating for grants totaling up to €100,000 from the Ministry for the Economy, Investment and Small Businesses. This year’s edition had thirty-eight submissions with seven start-ups eventually being chosen and going through the mentoring process at TAKEOFF, guaranteeing these are not simply short-term projects but sustainable enterprises.
Making seed money available to budding start-ups at the University is part of the paradigm shift the Ministry supports in its mission statement to expose more people to the transformational power of more entrepreneurship. In his address during the ceremony, Minister Cardona described how the government is implementing this exercise through regulations and taxation, the availability of credit and education, intellectual property rights, and social mobility. An economy can only stagnate without modern economic and social reforms – which expand people’s social freedoms and allow for greater participation in political, economic, and cultural life where entrepreneurs are free to think and thrive.
“It can be disconcerting for members of the old order who want to maintain the status quo but these are the conditions in which, as history books can tell us over and over again, where entrepreneurs have done well. And our entrepreneurs are moving this country forward”, Minister Cardona said.
The winners of the Seed Fund category were: Get Hitched – a web-based matchmaking device for couples looking to get married and wedding supplies vendors. The Huskie Craft Beer Company – who are looking to open up their brewery to clients wishing to have their own, limited edition, unique beer. EarlyParrot – a referral marketing platform enabling online businesses to amplify their lead generation via referral capabilities, and LearnD, an application offering a different form of private tuition, where students teach students.
The teams will be working closely with the TAKEOFF Business Incubator and the University’s Knowledge Transfer Office over the next year in a bid to bring their ventures closer to commercialisation. Also attending the ceremony were University Rector Prof. Alfred Vella, Nancy Caruana, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry for the Economy, Investment and Small Businesses, Prof. Ing. Saviour Zammit, Pro-Rector for Research & Knowledge Transfer, Prof. Russell Smith, Director of the Centre for Entrepreneurship, and Business Incubation and Dr Ing. Anton Bartolo, Director of the Knowledge Transfer Office.
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