For the around 25,000 foreigners working and living in Malta, the combination of an efficient business climate, excellent infrastructure and a driven workforce are solid indicators as to why Malta was voted the third best country for expatriates and foreign investors in a survey published in The Wall Street Journal earlier this year.
Moreover, according to EY’s Malta Attractiveness Survey 2015, the number of foreign companies that intend to be present in Malta in 10 years’ time has risen from 59 per cent in 2014 to 74 per cent in 2015. This points towards a perceived positive outlook on Malta’s future political, social and economic stability
For expats, Malta’s citizenship programme has undoubtedly enhanced the island’s position as an attractive location to invest in for entrepreneurs, especially as the EU is the most significant region of citizenship application. Global citizenship is becoming an increasingly popular tool for the world’s ultra wealthy. Malta’s citizenship programme enables foreign nationals to purchase one property anywhere across the island, although more than one property situated within special designated areas can be bought.
As an EU jurisdiction with favourable tax rates, Malta has established itself as the place of choice for foreigners who want an ideal platform for their innovations. The main features attracting investors to Malta include stability of social climate and transparency of the political, legal and regulatory environment. Areas that might hinder investment are mainly related to transport and logistics infrastructure, research and development, innovation, and the domestic and regional market.
Among the various foreign investors, Malta is now home to 35 ultra-high-net-worth individuals and two billionaires. According to findings by Wealth-X and Malta Sotheby’s International Realty, each ultra-high-net-worth individual is worth some $160m. The report further reveals that 77 per cent of foreigners who have acquired a residency permit in Malta and who are ultra-high-net-worth individuals, are self-made.
Among the various foreign investors, Malta is now home to 35 ultra-high-net-worth individuals and two billionaires
One of the billionaires residing in Malta is Irish-born Denis O’Brien. He was listed among the World’s Top 200 Billionaires in 2015. The identity of the other billionaire remains a mystery. O’Brien owns Communicorp, a media holding company which operates across Europe, but particularly in Ireland. The attraction of the successful entrepreneur to Malta has been seen as a positive step for others wanting to pave their way in this sector.
Presently, we are seeing several foreigners looking at Malta as a potential start-up platform. The island is attracting various entrepreneurs who are willing to invest and take advantage of the island’s positioning, which gives the required value to start-ups that are focused on high growth businesses. Presently, young entrepreneurs are coming from all over Europe to take advantage of what Malta has to offer.
To give a few examples of some of the start-ups already based here, we have Pirate Roaming looking to remove roaming charges when abroad, Hotjar, which has developed an interesting analytics platform for conversion rate optimisation, and Reaqta, a software security start-up.
Kris Jes Petersen
Shortly after his move to Malta in 2012, Danish born Kris Jes Petersen decided he wanted to invest in a local project focusing on the online scene to help small businesses get better exposure to potential clients. He set up Good Morning Malta Limited, which owns and operates DealToday, ProductToday, TravelToday, EatToday, WinToday and TimetoEat.
Petersen has also developed SOHO Office, which is a 1000m2 serviced office facility and nursing ground for small businesses when they first relocate to Malta, helping them set up business and guiding them. SOHO Office is located in Paceville, St Julian’s but another space is soon to open in Sliema.
Petersen is also focusing on his latest project, called Royal Marine. This is a clothing line which was inspired by living in Malta, focusing on the beauty of the Grand Harbour and the sea. From his very first day in Malta, Petersen has viewed the island as an ideal platform for businesses and has been noted as an entrepreneur who is making a mark in Europe.
Ezgi Harmanci moved from Turkey to Malta in 2010. Currently the island’s only Turkish lawyer, Harmanci sees the huge potential for investment and trade in Malta. In view of the prosperous trade relations between Malta and Turkey she is currently an external consultant at Malta Enterprise.
Earlier this year Harmanci became managing director of Condico Consulting Group, a multidisciplinary consultancy firm based in Malta which acts as a go between for foreign companies who want to invest here. With years of experience in business and legal environments, she can see the potential that Malta can offer individuals wanting to build a reputable business framework.