The Malta Communications Authority and GRTU Malta Chamber of SMEs have today launched a number of tailored tools that will proactively increase the number of businesses in Malta that have an online presence and are able to compete online.
GRTU President Paul Abela stated that competition from the internet is one of the biggest concerns and challenges faced by Maltese businesses today. “It is a phenomenon that businesses need to adapt to and GRTU is pleased to be working hand in hand with the Malta Communications Authority to supply Maltese businesses with the necessary tools that will enable them to compete online”. Over a 100 foreign companies have registered for the Maltese VAT through the MOSS system to be able to sell to Maltese consumers and pay the Maltese VAT rate.
As part of a wider project financed by the European Social Fund (ESF) GRTU has not only identified the gaps that are holding businesses back but it has also developed learning tools to address them. Thanks to ESF funds GRTU has developed a guidebook and an online learning tool, both aimed at upskilling businesses. These tools can help businesses go online for the first time as well as further develop and improve their online presence to be more effective and competitive.
Following the launch of the National eCommerce Strategy last year, the MCA Chairman said that MCA continues with its commitment to facilitate the uptake in eCommerce by ensuring that traders have the necessary means to capitalise on opportunities brought about by eCommerce. The MCA is cognizant that in today’s increasingly connected society, it is becoming ever so important for companies to develop and manage an effective online channel, especially in view of the fact that although 69% of businesses claim to have a website, only 14% were selling online in 2013, with the remaining sales occurring mainly through traditional brick-and-mortar stores.
It is therefore becoming critical for traders to be able to find the right expertise and support when setting up an online store or extending their business online. To this end, the Authority has re-visited the eCommerce guides for business, which it had launched some years back, and incorporated these in a website together with the online directory, BLINK, so as to provide traders with a more comprehensive and practical reference tool. The eCommerce Guides for SMEs’ website is purposely designed around a number of categories reflecting the different phases that are usually required to set up an online shop. It features information related to legislation, website planning, online security issues, electronic payments, customer service, amongst others.
Hon Parliamentary Secretary for Competitiveness and Economic Growth, Hon Jose Herrera stated that ‘The national strategy for electronic commerce, that was ambitiously launched last year, is addressing the challenges through a number of measures that are spread on a six year period. First and foremost and without any doubt however, every enterprise needs to assess in great detail how this reality affects them. Therefore, the Malta Communications Authority and the GRTU are today jointly launching a package of information tools that will help enterprises undergo the necessary change. The guides are made available free of charge and provide enterprises with the necessary resources so that they can capitalise on the opportunities that electronic commerce brings. Through these guides we need to assist those industries where electronic commerce presents real opportunities for development and expansion.