In August, the Visa Innovation Program “sailed” to Malta. The two hubs, from Greece – Cyprus, and Bulgaria spent three exciting innovation-packed days in Malta exploring the local fintech ecosystem and getting in touch with some major stakeholders based in Malta.
In a nutshell
The visit established a good foundation for a great promotion of the Visa Innovation Program among various industry players (banks, regulators, startup organizations, co-working spaces and entrepreneurs) and gave us the chance to target specific goals in the regional market.
The country’s past serves it well in this regard. Malta has been known for being a hub for trading and commerce throughout its history, and while it may well be one of the smallest economies within the European Union (EU) today, it is also regarded as being one of its most resilient, with the country recording an annual GDP growth of around 6% in the last couple of years.
Our days were full of meetings and exchange of interesting involvements from a vibrant startup ecosystem with key players of the Maltese ecosystem we interacted with.
A quick taste of the Maltese Ecosystem
Thriving Banking system
According to Moody’s, the Maltese banking system is stable due to the resilience of the domestic banking system, with domestic banks following a conservative and traditional banking model. During our days there, we met with some of the most amazing and worldwide known banks of Malta to learn more about the local ecosystem:
Bank of Valletta – the first public company to be listed on the Malta Stock Exchange, and APS bank – well known for its ethical banking tradition and exemplary corporate social responsibility practices supporting Maltese culture, art and various charitable causes. We also met with BNF Bank – a key player in the Maltese financial services sector, well known for its ambition, responsibility and empathy.
Fintech stories all around Malta!
We also had the chance to meet with promising fintechs, startup founders, and organizations. Malta has nothing to be jealous of from worldwide fintechs and startups and some of them were amongst our meetings:
Paymix Pro – due to its inherently transparent nature, is here for those who play by the rules, and Insignia Cards Limited – one of the most bespoke high-end lifestyle management service groups in the world, and we were amazed by their future plans.
Fyorin – payments and financial operations platform which can eliminate all the barriers a start-up may face in a traditional banking environment. Metaverse Architects – a 3D Modelling & Game Development studio for the Metaverse known as decentraland, and Free Hour – Malta’s largest student & youth platform founded by a 17 years-old guy!
Finance Malta – a public-private initiative set up to promote Malta as an International Financial Centre, gave us valuable insights on the whole market of Malta. While other organizations like Junior Achievement Malta, an impactful youth-serving NGO that inspires young people to succeed in a global economy and Malta Enterprise – the country’s economic development agency, tasked with attracting you to invest in Malta – are doing a great job in connecting the whole ecosystem around promising events. One of them is coming up on the 13th-14th October, Startup Festival Malta – we will be there!
There is no better way to feel the air and breeze of the ecosystem than paying a visit to a co-working space. Therefore our visit in SOHO Office Space left us with the best impressions – one of the best workspace solutions in Malta impressed us by its modern, alternative work environment. If you are listed among sauna lovers, tick this as well!
It's a wrap!
Malta has a dynamic ecosystem, with exciting opportunities and potential! There is no doubt that Malta is fast becoming a hotbed of innovation and opening its doors globally to fintech entrepreneurs.
We are excited about future possible partnerships between the two ecosystems and looking forward to seeing what’s coming next! Stay tuned because something big is coming soon!