Fostering innovation: The case for Malta’s industry hub

In the ever-evolving landscape of global commerce, nations worldwide are increasingly embracing the concept of innovation hubs to drive economic growth and competitiveness. Malta, with its rich history and strategic location, stands poised to embark on a transformative journey by creating its very own industry hub. American company Cambridge Innovation Centre (CIC) and local based consultancy company PKF Malta are joining hands to make this happen. But why should Malta undertake such an ambitious endeavour?

The concept of an innovation district is not new; forward-thinking cities across the globe have been leveraging economic ecosystems to bolster idea generation and accelerate commercialization. These districts, often referred to as innovation hubs, serve as vital catalysts for economic development, incorporating economic, physical, and networking assets under a singular vision and geography.

Driving innovation and collaboration

At the heart of an innovation district lies the innovation campus – a high-end facility designed to drive innovation and community building. By fostering intense interactions and providing shared resources, innovation hubs act as key concentrators within the ecosystem, attracting entrepreneurs and organisations from diverse sectors. This environment of collaboration and synergy is essential for fostering trust, driving innovation, and attracting investment.

Crucially, innovation hubs must be perceived as neutral and open, free from affiliations with any single corporation. This ‘big tent’ approach ensures that a diverse range of entrepreneurs and organisations feel welcome, fostering an environment conducive to creativity and collaboration. When orchestrated effectively, industry leaders are inclined to lean in as partners, providing funding and global relevance to the hub.

A strategic and activated innovation hub becomes a powerful engine that concentrates activity, laying the foundation for a thriving innovation ecosystem. Proximity and connection are essential for trust and collaboration, and sharing space with other strong entrepreneurs creates an environment that attracts investment, propelling economic growth and prosperity.

CIC and PKF Malta have made a three-step proposition to Malta Enterprise on how the project will evolve.

Vision setting: The first step

The journey towards creating Malta’s industry hub begins with a series of Visioning Workshops, aimed at aligning key stakeholders around a shared vision for the country’s innovation ecosystem. These workshops will scaffold concepts and opportunities based on scale and scope, laying the groundwork for future success.

Next step is identifying key network partners both locally and internationally, to align networks with core ideas. This aims to highlight connection points between Malta’s goals and potential collaborators, including startups, sector funders, and government departments, while proposing an outreach strategy prioritizing impactful individuals and groups. The result is a long list of organizations for future network-creation activities, outlining stakeholders, partners, and programming concepts to leverage for high impact in the ecosystem through in-person and online visits, data analysis, and discussions.

Framework development: Setting the stage

Once a shared vision is established, the focus shifts to developing a playbook for the industry hub. CIC, with their wealth of experience in operating innovation centres, and PKF, with very deep roots in the economic environment of the island, will collaborate with local stakeholders to define the hub’s focus area, operational strategy, and partnership approach. This playbook will serve as a guide for launching and operating the hub, ensuring its long-term success.

Central to the success of Malta’s industry hub is the development of strong partnerships with globally recognised corporations and organisations. CIC will leverage their network and expertise to build partner groups aligned with the hub’s vision and focus areas, ranging from equipment donation to direct capital contribution. These partnerships will be crucial for the hub’s sustainability and growth.

Accelerating stakeholder engagement: Building momentum

To build momentum and energy around Malta’s innovation ecosystem, PKF Malta will host a creative leadership event, bringing together key stakeholders to brainstorm ideas and build consensus. This event will serve as an opportunity to announce the formation of the industry hub, highlight Malta’s goals, and engage with potential collaborators and partners. Malta’s journey towards creating an industry hub represents a strategic investment in the country’s future economic prosperity. By fostering innovation, collaboration, and investment, Malta can position itself as a regional leader in technology and entrepreneurship, driving sustainable growth and prosperity for generations to come. CIC and PKF Malta will help that happen.

CIC Captains of Innovation drives venture and idea creation to build extraordinary innovation environments in cities around the world. Their high-touch services aid disruptive thinking, instil an innovative mindset, develop strategy, and deliver high-impact activities. Our team of thinkers and innovation builders foster collaborative and future-focused outcomes. Captains is the professional services arm of CIC (Cambridge Innovation Centre), a leading creator of dense, impactful innovation ecosystems in cities around the world. CIC’s mission is to fix the world through innovation by developing multi-faceted communities that support changemakers on their innovation journeys. Founded 25 years ago, CIC now operates more than 100,000 sqm of shared workspace, wet labs, and event space in the US, Europe, and Asia and convenes a worldwide community of approximately 650,000 innovators. Since inception, over 10,000 companies have called CIC home, collectively raising more than $17 billion in venture capital funding.

PKF Malta is a business advisory services firm that offers dynamic and forward-thinking support to a diverse clientele spanning various industries. Banking on their years of experience in the provision of consultancy services, PKF Malta is actively working to facilitate growth in the Maltese innovation ecosystem, and are launching a shared office facility to support start-ups as well as a state-of-the-art training facility – the PKF Academy.

PKF Malta

Levels 2-4, 15 Mannarino Road, Birkirkara BKR 9080

Tel: 2148 4373

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