MEAINDEX, was initiated in September 2015. It was soft-launched during the SMEWEEK programme of events coordinated by the Ministry for the Economy, Investment and Small Businesses (MEIB). During this event we had the very first discussions which triggered the MEAINDEX online directory idea, while we were exploring different ways how the digital economy is changing the role of the employers, and whether it was true that all family businesses in Malta are pro-digital?
From this, the MEA-SME Helpdesk, worked on the idea of creating an online platform, and in line with the digital strategy which can assist SMEs access information more easily.
SMEs have expressed a desire to create a hub through which facilitates access to information, reduce red-tape and excessive bureaucracy, and if possible establish a single point of reference to understand better our local business ecosystem.
MEA worked hand in hand with local business experts to establish a way forward, and amongst these one can mention Angele Giulliano manager of Across Limits, Jonathan Azzopardi from Springbox Media Agency, Anamaria Magri Pantea from Ascend Consulting, Jonathan Vassallo – Director General PPCD, Anthony Cachia – Director General Department of Contracts, Marcel Mizzi representing Digital Malta, and Bernard Agius from MCA.
Followed a half day seminar, which was held on September 2016, with the name “Better Access of information for SMEs – SMETOOL a possible solution?” where a good sized audience, participated during an interactive discussion. The discussion focused on how MEA could be a facilitator, by creating an SME toolbox, through which students, start-ups, scale-ups and potential entrepreneurs could navigate and retrieve relevant information to their business ventures.
Representatives from various Government entities, NGO’s, and business owners were present.
3 workshops were conducted, discussing:
- Better Access? But what do really SMEs expect?
- If SMEs through this SMETOOL, will start to have better access to information, how should this help them grow and prosper?
- How should we work, to make sure that the SMETOOL will reach all potential entrepreneurs?
To help us achieve the right results, we requested the assistance, and had the pleasure to have with us, representatives from the Malta Communications Authority, representatives from the Malta Enterprise, Dr Nadine Lia Sant who is now heading the Family Businesses Office in Malta, representatives from the Malta Office of the European Commission, and the Commissioner for Simplification and Reduction of Bureaucracy.
The idea was received positively not only by those present at the seminar, but by all MEA members, hundreds of other non-MEA members, Micro businesses and Small and Medium Enterprises, as well as students and potential entrepreneurs.
Mentioning the students and potential entrepreneurs, it’s good to mention, that as a follow-up of this SMETOOL kick-off, last year MEA successfully managed to establish and actually sign a Memorandum of Understanding with the Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology (MCAST). Amongst other objectives, within this MOU, it’s clearly stated that both parties are committed to address gaps between the curricula of courses offered at MCAST, and the requirements of industry.
On the 27th October 2017, during another event organised during the SMEWEEK, together with MCAST, we continued exploring how this SME TOOLBOX can be more effective, and how we can work together to continue :
“Bridging the Gap: Student to Business Entrepreneur”.
Crucial in the development process of the SME TOOLBOX were the various one to one meetings, with a number of Government Department officials, and individuals / entrepreneurs within the small business sector. MEA also managed to gather under one roof, representatives from all Licencing Authorities, Legislation Regulatory bodies, and a good number of NGOs, where we shared a detailed presentation, about how we intended to develop further the concept of having an interactive online tool which facilitate access to information related to business activities.
It was last September, when MEA launched it’s first online SME toolbox, in the form of a pdf document. We had done it exclusively for our MEA members, and so we restricted its access through log-in password. In a sense this was a test marketing exercise to gauge the feedback from our members. Following very positive reviews we decided to continue developing this concept, and transform it to a unique online toolbox for all business entrepreneurs.
April 2018, MEAINDEX went live as an online portal. Endorsed and supported by the Commissioner for Simplification within the Office of the Prime Minister, and the Malta Communications Authority together with a number of collaborative entities, “MEAINDEX – the online toolbox for business entrepreneurs” got it’s exclusive url address: