"Ideas are the the capital of this sector, and their value should be maximised", said Mr Martin Bugelli, Head of the European Commission Representation in Malta, in his introductory speech, whilst reiterating the need to raise awareness about existing opportunities. He introduced Mr Sylvain Pasqua, from the European Commission's Directorate General for Education and Culture, who gave a presentation on the opportunities the EU provides to the sector, especially – but not limited to – various funding programmes. The latter include the new 'Creative Europe' programme, the main funding instrument for the creative sector for 2014-2020. Mr Pasqua referred to different types of investment, including infrastructural projects (hubs, clusters, heritage etc.), human capital (incubation, entrepreneurship, creative skills, intercultural activities, etc.), ICT applications, and access to private finance.
A presentation by Mr Caldon Mercieca gave snapshot of the creative industries in Malta, highlighting the existing challenges as well as their growth potential. This broad overview was discussed also in the context of V.18 – Valletta as European Capital of Culture 2018, the state of play of which was explained by David Felice, Chairman of the Valletta 2018 Foundation.
Participants had positive comments on the fact that various contact points for different funding programmes were represented. Amongst these was the Malta Media Desk. Its role was explained by Ms Daniela Blagojevic, who also referred to a number of opportunities in the pipeline as part of the EU's budget for the next 7 years.
New forms of financing for the creative industries, particularly financial engineering instruments through EU Structural Funds, were explained by Mr Mark Scicluna Bartoli and Mr Peter Sant, from Bank of Valletta. These were followed by a coupled of concrete case studies of start-ups and projects that would potentially benefit from funding under the 'Creative Europe' programme. The two projects were from the spheres of digital gaming (Mr Ben Carlotti of Oulala Games) and film (Ms Rebecca Cremona of Kukumajsa Production and its upcoming feature film 'Simshar'). Tying in with these two examples, Mr Richard Byrne-Price, from Malta Enterprise, spoke about the agency's role in bringing operators together and supporting ideas coming from the sector.
Mr George Vella, President of the Maltese Business Bureau delivered the concluding comments reiterating support for initiatives in this sector. The workshop was held on the 21st February at the University of Malta Valletta Campus, at the Old University Building, and it was moderated by Ms. Vanessa Macdonald, Head of Media and Community Relations at Bank of Valletta.
For more pictures of the event, click here.