According to the Small Business Act (SBA) Fact Sheets more than any other Member State, Malta´s economy depends on its SMEs and in particular the micro-firms of fewer than 10 employees. So far they have weathered the economic crisis very well. The performance of Maltese SMEs since 2008 has been extraordinarily robust. The number of SMEs increased by almost 1 000 and the employment level grew by 2 320 or 2.5 % over the period 2008-12. These increases in and by themselves are rather modest, but must be put in the context of the most serious economic crisis in decades. Against this backdrop — and the fact that SME sectors suffered heavy losses in the vast majority of Member States — this performance is quite remarkable. The limited export exposure of Malta’s SMEs, a general weakness of Malta´s SBA profile, helped many businesses by insulating them to an extent from the initial effects of the crisis. However, in the face of a limited domestic market and stagnating markets in Europe, the capacity of more firms to serve extra-EU markets needs to be further developed in the interest of their long-term competitiveness. The promotion of entrepreneurship and innovation also needs further policy responses. Important reforms initiated in the areas of ‘think small first’ and responsive administration, such as the SME test and ‘Business First’, need to be continued and implemented more vigorously. Close coordination and consultation with business stakeholders was initiated in these areas and needs to be continued in a regular and systematic fashion to open the door for more initiative for private sector operators. Overall, weaknesses to date have not been a fundamental impediment for Malta´s SMEs: their recent performance has proven otherwise. Yet, the cited challenges need to be confronted more forcefully for the sake of Malta´s longer-term competitiveness.
Research, articles etc.
- SBA factsheet for Malta [459 KB]
|Key indicators on access to finance|
Malta ranked 10th out of 27 countries in the 2012 SMAF Index.
For details on SMAF index and methodology please click here.
Download data [593 KB]
Source: Chart compiled using ECB data
Note: Loan volumes and interest rate data for 2013 are to the period September 2013 only (due to data availability as at November 2013).
Download data [69 KB]
Appendix: ACTIONS SUPPORTING ACCESS TO FINANCE FOR SMEs [357 KB]