Minister calls for entrepreneurship
to be strengthened
"Entrepreneurs not only create jobs and new products
and services; their companies have a real-bottom line effect on our
international competitiveness. We must therefore strengthen this natural
resource with the right dose of education and opportunities," was
Education Minister Louis Galeas appeal when speaking at the Launch
of the "Meet the Entrepreneur Programme".
The Programme, an initiative of the Business and Commerce Institute
at MCAST, Programme is intended to offer students exposure and contact
with leading local entrepreneurs together with the opportunity to take
part in the Young Enterprise competition which is held on an annual
Minister Galea said, "We are heading towards an unprecedented era
of opportunities particularly as we face membership in the European
Union with access to a market of 400 million potential customers. Whilst
most speak about the financial challenges we are facing and the need
for competitiveness we must also look at what is the main motor of our
economy Entrepreneurship and particularly within the small and
medium sized companies."
"Maltas risk-taking entrepreneurs are responsible for much
of todays prosperity. Good examples include companies in the hotel
and tourism industry, beverage companies, a number of manufacturers,
and even service providers. The main factor in their success is innovation
and the main effect is job creation. Todays entrepreneurs are
people who take advantage of innovative ideas, embrace calculated risk,
and transform ideas into jobs and wealth creation."
Recent research indicates a close correlation between a regions
entrepreneurial capacity and its economic prosperity. In fact, studies
by the London Business School have found that varying levels of entrepreneurial
activity account for nearly one-third of the difference in national
economic growth rates.
Minister Galea said that these trends mean that our countrys future
economic competitiveness will be directly correlated with its ability
to train, retain, and assist talented entrepreneurs and employees ready
and willing to work for entrepreneurial companies.
Dr Galea said that it was often questioned whether it was possible or
not to teach entrepreneurship, creativity and innovation which in his
opinion are all complementary. Dr. Galea said that teaching entrepreneurship,
like creativity and innovation is not only possible, but is highly effective.
Reams of studies show that people who are exposed to entrepreneurship
training (at any level - from kindergarten to adulthood) are more likely
to start a business and to succeed at it. In the fields of Creativity
and Innovation we are also aware of the power of creative thinking and
the economic and other benefits it can reap when applied well. Minister
Galea said that he already had the opportunity to speak about the opportunities
our country could benefit from by investing in creativity and innovation
and that he was sure that this was the way forward. In fact the Malta
Council for Science and Technology has a number of forsight and other
programmes to spur development in the field of Science and Technology
Minister Galea said that students need to realise that the majority
of great ideas and successful companies start off small and eventually
grow, some faster than others. Even in a large economy such as the USA,
a large amount of entrepreneurs start small, in fact about three million
persons start their own small business annually.
"We need to understand entrepreneurs significant contributions
to the national economy, support it and nurture its growth. Innovative
products and services brought to market by entrepreneurs improve the
quality of our lives. These firms create new jobs, they make us more
globally competitive. They create economic growth and new wealth. Entrepreneurship
and economic development are synonymous and should be seen as top priorities."
Dr. Galea emphasised that "We must do more to support and strengthen
risk-taking entrepreneurs. In so doing, we will ensure that ever-accelerating
global change will be our ally rather than something we are scared of."
Minister Galea said that although most feel that Government involvement
should be minimal, government can do a lot to promote and create the
right environment for the entrepreneurial spirit to grow and excel.
Government sees the importance of innovation, creativity, science and
technology and vocational training and has invested heavily in the educational
sector to provide the knowledge and expertise necessary in these sectors.
Entrepreneurship is often considered to be a process of innovation.
While this is true, entrepreneurship also relies on routine and convention.
When local people view starting a business as a normal, routine activity,
more of them will be willing to take the leap. In addition, communities
that enjoy persistent, routine entrepreneurship are also more likely
to be home to local business leaders, consultants, and service providers
with expertise in starting a new business. Apart from the initiatives
taken by Malta Enterprise to help people who want to start their own
businesses, an excellent start to the business world is offered by the
Young Enterprise Experience and Scoops which is very popular locally.
The experience helps our youth realise that after all it is no big deal
starting off your own company and the returns are lucrative.
Minister Galea augured that the MCAST business and commerce Students
take an active interest in this programme, participate and use this
opportunity wisely, he said that most people who are now in the working
world will tell you that they learned a lot from such practical experiences
and most have found them as essential. Not many get the opportunity
to speak face to face with our countries top entrepreneurs so
this is an opportunity not to be missed.