When small size matters

Innovation summit hears of Malta’s potential to become a global prototype for innovative technologies

Parliamentary Secretary Silvio Schembri addressing the Malta Innovation Summit
Parliamentary Secretary Silvio Schembri addressing the Malta Innovation Summit

Malta’s size can be a major competitive advantage in the digital age, techies at the Malta Innovation Summit heard today.

Joseph Woods from Creolabs said Malta could be a test bed for technology companies trying out innovative products and services.

“Often portrayed as a problem, Malta’s small size can become an advantage since the island could be a global prototype,” Woods said, positing the island as a regional hub.

He was addressing participants at the summit organised by Netrefer that brought together players from the technology world, including gaming company executives and fintech specialists.

Participants were regaled with various insights into the world of innovation. However, in one of the panel discussions, the education system came under the spotlight for not encouraging entrepreneurship and innovation.

  According to businessman Andreas Gerdes, the education system had to change so as to “create leaders not followers”.

He said Malta had many more advantages than just its workforce, mentioning its rich heritage and use of the English language.

But for Patrick Young, a North Irish entrepreneur, change had to start from the bottom up. “Don’t wait for governments, have confidence in yourself and start the change from the bottom,” Young told the audience that appreciated his drawing parallels between Malta and Northern Ireland, both nations on the periphery of the European continent.

Opening the summit, parliamentary secretary Silvio Schembri said next year thr government is budgeting €2.2million for research and innovation.

He said the funds will be dedicated towards assisting researchers, startups and consortiums in research and innovation projects.

“We have been innovative by being the first country in the world to use blockchain technology to issue digital certificates for our students,” Schembri said, adding the government wanted to embrace tomorrow’s technology by investing in a national blockchain lab.

Netrefer CEO Raphael Arnold said that the Malta Innovation Summit provided the ideal set-up to accelerate the innovation movement in Malta, and globally, by gathering all stakeholders and sharing real-world experiences, ideas, trends, processes and best practices under one roof. He said the summit was born out of the NetRefer team’s eagerness to learn and share innovation best practices and to identify new ways to be creative in expressing their passion for innovation.

The Malta Innovation Summit was the first conference targeted towards nurturing innovation and was addressed by a number of keynote speakers, including lateral thinker Edward de Bono.

MaltaToday was a media partner.