As the owner of a start-up or something which should look like a start-up eventually, you have a lot of decisions to make. Product design, marketing, research, compliance, the list certainly goes on and on. After reading this article, you might have an additional decision to make. I would apologise, except for the fact that hopefully, this article might help a few of you become aware of the benefits of setting up a business in Malta.
The overlooked island
Depending on where you are located, you may or may not have ever heard of Malta. I won’t bore you with a long expositional introduction of the country. Instead, I’ll squeeze the essence of the country’s pro-business stance in the following five points:
- Malta’s small landmass has meant that it could never compete on quantity with larger countries. Instead, the country has a skilled workforce with a reputation for problem-solving and creativity.
- Successive governments have encouraged the setting up or relocation of businesses through a variety of business support measures.
- As part of the European Union, setting up a business in Malta automatically opens the export potential to over 500 million consumers. In addition, businesses based there get access to markets in countries with whom the EU has negotiated trade deals.
- Malta has a high population density, made up of an astounding mix of cultures. This makes the country an ideal ground zero for market testing, new product launches, and market analysis.
- Free, universal healthcare together with favourable work-life balance rights (such as free childcare) makes working in Malta one of the least stressful in the world.
Getting started with opening a business in Malta is a relatively simple process, and efforts continue to be made to streamline the process even further.
Now that you have a better idea about the country, let’s discover the main benefits of setting up a business in Malta.
1. It’s simple to set up
If you’re an entrepreneur, the last thing you want is to have a bureaucratic registration process which takes ages to set up. In Malta, setting up an LTD only requires a minimal capital of €1,165. Of this, only 20% needs to be paid upfront.
As a Maltese person, setting up your business in Malta is something that, in certain cases, you can handle yourself. A European citizen would also find it very easy to open a business in Malta. For non-EU citizens, the process is lengthier, understandably, due primarily to immigration processes.
The country’s diversified and international economy has led to numerous corporate service providers establishing themselves on the Island. If you don’t feel up to setting up a business in Malta all on your own, then get in touch with these professionals. Just like subcontracting your marketing or admin tasks, they can save you a lot of time and stress.
2. Support measures for virtually any business
No matter the reality of your business, chances are there is a grant or tax scheme you can apply for. Several public entities offer a myriad of support measures which your business may be eligible for. Finding the right scheme for your business might allow you to get the funding necessary to develop a business plan, research a new product or showcase your business internationally.
The Fun Entrepreneur had written an article about some of the business support measures offered in Malta, but we would need to write volumes to explain every single one. Fortunately, you can get more information about many of these schemes from Business First, a governmental entity created to support new businesses. After meeting with them, you might still need help to tap into the right funds for you. Here, again, a reputable corporate service provider can save you a lot of time and stress.
3. Tax benefits to top it all off
Malta is well-known as offering a pro-business, pro-investment tax regime. In particular, special rates apply to foreign investors. The country has a full-imputation system of corporate taxation. This means that any income tax that is paid by a Maltese company is fully credited to the shareholder who receives dividends.
If you are a high net worth individual, or your business will be generating substantial profits, then we strongly recommend you get in touch with professional tax advisors. They will be able to help you identify the best way to manage your corporate and personal taxes.
The overlooked gem
Malta is indeed a gem in the Mediterranean, but this normally refers to it as a holiday destination. Even in the tourism industry, the country is often overlooked for larger, better-known alternatives, such as Egypt, Greece, and Tunisia. Nevertheless, the country continues to develop both its business and tourism offerings, below the radar.
I hope that I’ve given you something to think about in the midst of your business planning. Setting up a business in a different country to yours will certainly involve some out-of-the-box thinking, but really, isn’t that what entrepreneurship is all about?