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Leading to success

The PwC €1 million Start-Up Fund is an initiative whereby PwC Malta assists start-ups with innovative business ideas by providing pro-bono advisory services.

To date, PwC Malta received 87 applications. These applications are reviewed by a selection committee that meets on a regular basis. So far, 72 of these applications have been accepted. Selected start-ups have now joined the programme and are being mentored by PwC staff with the hope that these grow into successful businesses.

Most applications relate to ventures that are in an embryonic stage or have been operational for less than a year. Around half of the start-ups consist of businesses in the emerging tech sector, attracted by the relative ease with which technology companies can market and export their product internationally. Other popular industries include health, arts and culture, although even in these cases, a number include a technology angle within the business concept.

The PwC €1 million Start-Up Fund provides business support to entities primarily assisting the preparation of business plans, raising of bank finance, setting up and registration of companies and tax advice.

“Often the initial assistance required by start-up companies would be to help them flesh out a viable business and strategic plan from a business idea, as well as mentoring them as to how they could take their business idea forward,” Bonavent Gauci, PwC advisory senior manager and coordinator of this initiative said.

“Our role within the start-up community extends beyond the assistance provided to the individual start-ups,” Gauci added. “Together with business incubators and committed organisations, we seek to promote and encourage initiatives that could be of benefit to start-up businesses.”

The firm also actively supports other initiatives assisting start-ups by providing mentors to business incubators across Malta, participating in various events that promote entrepreneurship, and delivering training sessions to aspiring entrepreneurs.

In the 2015 budget, Government announced the introduction of initiatives aimed at increasing access to finance to SMEs. The first of these initiatives is the Seed Investment Scheme where investors who take up an equity stake in start-ups will benefit from tax credits commensurate with the value of their investment.

“Further to the launch of this initiative, we now look forward to provide assistance to start-ups in raising equity from investors who take advantage of these tax benefits in order to diversify their investment portfolio,” Gauci said.

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