2018 was a yet another year of growth for the Foundation for the Promotion of Entrepreneurial Initiatives (FPEI) – a business collaboration set up between the Malta Business Bureau (MBB) and the University of Malta.
Launched in 2015, the FPEI’s first project was the introduction of ZAAR– Malta’s only rewards-based crowdfunding platform. From the outset, ZAAR’s vision and mission were to enable and facilitate innovation and great ideas, and to help them to achieve funding by providing a platform where these ideas can be showcases to the public and potential backers.
ZAAR set out to promote the use of crowdfunding as an alternative means of financing in Malta, where small businesses and organisations often struggle to achieve the financing they need through more traditional means.
The results have been very positive. In 2018, ZAAR received over 100 project leads, of which 30 translated into published projects on the platform. Among the projects that did go live, ZAAR managed to achieve an 83% funding success rate. Across the platform, ZAAR raised more than €197,000 with the support of more than 2,000 backers.
Throughout 2018 ZAAR continued to offer its regular crowdfunding clinic sessions held at the University’s Take Off business incubator. A number of collaborations were also integral in the last year. Both the MEIB and ACM continue to be funding partners of ZAAR, while Grant Thornton has provided assistance and advice to potential start-ups interested in trying out crowdfunding, and CreditInfo Malta has provided ZAAR with due diligence and credit checks on project owners.
At the end of 2018 ZAAR also launched a Marketing research study to investigate the investor attitude towards early-stage investing and to assess the knowledge of investment-based crowdfunding. This research will in turn feed into the future plans of the organisation.
Now, ZAAR is looking firmly into the future with a number of key projects already lined up for 2019. The launch of the new ZAAR crowdfunding platform is also planned, as well as the launch of an investment-based crowdfunding service and a number of other ancillary services. On top of that, ZAAR will also be sourcing for potential partners for collaboration and assistance.
FPEI was also busy working on its second initiative which comprises of an EU funded project created with five European partners. The Three Questions Model of Developing Social Entrepreneurs (T3QM), it is an innovative methodology proven to create jobs and develop social entrepreneurial skills (both soft and hard skills). The FPEI organised a very interesting seminar in March tackling the topic of Making entrepreneurship more accessible. This was tackled from different angles, including educational, financing as well as from a political perspective with interventions from MEPs, entrepreneurs, lecturers and professional services providers.
Lastly, FPEI also organised a pilot session to test out the T3QM methodology in December which saw the participation of 20 young adults in a successful and motivating training session.