An information session on initiatives in favour of family businesses was held jointly between the Family Business Office, the Ministry for Gozo, and the Gozo Business Chamber.
During this session, there were a number of interventions including from the President of the Gozo Business Chamber Joseph Borg, Dr Joseph Gerada, the Regulator of the Family Business Office, and the Minister for Gozo, the Honourable Dr Justyne Caruana. This event was also attended by the Vice Prime Minister, and Minister for Health, the Honourable Dr Chris Fearne.
In his initial address, the President of the Gozo Business Chamber Joseph Borg stressed the importance of the Family Business Act that came into force on 1st January 2017. He highlighted how the Gozo Business Chamber always believed that the introduction of this type of legislation would strengthen the structure of Gozitan business entities. This is because in Gozo, more than in Malta, business entities are relatively small and family-owned. The Gozo Business Chamber always promoted the incentives related to this legislation, also by organising individual one-to-one meetings with the Family Business Office.
In his intervention, the Honourable Dr Chris Fearne stressed the importance of small enterprises which are family-owned, and how the government is committed to continue assisting these business entities to progress. He highlighted their importance for the national economy, and the need to continue providing them with the required assistance so that they are able to compete on a level playing field with larger business entities. This leads to a more sustainable economy. He praised the initiatives being taken by the Ministry for Gozo in this area, and the significant work being done by the Ministry so that new initiatives targeting the Gozitan economy are formulated.
Dr Joseph Gerada, while outlining the importance of family businesses, highlighted how one of the objectives of the European Commission is to create a regulatory framework that facilitates the transfer of family businesses. Family businesses make up around 70 to 95% of all commercial entities. He said that 98% of businesses in Malta are small and medium enterprises, the majority of which are family businesses. Dr Gerada provided an overview of the legislation and existing incentives and stressed the importance of family businesses being educated in order to enhance their knowledge of these areas. He finally announced that through an initiative being undertaken by the Ministry for Gozo a branch of the Family Business Office will open in the Ministry for Gozo. A trained person will be able to help Gozitan family businesses in all aspects of the family business legislation.
The Minister for Gozo, the Honourable Justyne Caruana, in her closing speech, highlighted how the opening of a branch of the Family Business Office in Gozo, is only one of the initiatives being undertaken to continue to enhance the Gozitan economy. These include also initiatives currently in the pipeline to incentivize companies to relocate to Gozo, initiatives to attract private companies’ back-office work to Gozo, and also initiatives to incentivize companies enabling them to provide teleworking to Gozitan employees. This apart from other existing initiatives such as the Gozo Employment Scheme, and the financial assistance provided to manufacturing concerns based in Gozo to transport goods and raw materials between the two islands. She also highlighted how the Ministry for Gozo is currently working to publish all the information on financial incentives related to Gozo in one place. The Honourable Justyne Caruana remarked how the Ministry for Gozo is a one-stop-shop for a number of services. One can also find representatives from Malta Enterprise and Malta Industrial Parks at the Ministry for Gozo. In the coming weeks, an office of the Malta Financial Services Authority is also going to open in Gozo.
The presentation by Dr Joseph Gerada, Regulator of the Family Business Office, can be accessed through the following link Presentation FBO 2020.