Malta Enterprise launched the ‘Blue Med’ scheme on 20 September, a new initiative that is focused on assisting businesses to develop the potential of the ‘blue economy’ in Malta. It aims to accelerate ocean-based technologies and nurture innovative blue champions in Malta and beyond.
Defined by the World Bank as the “sustainable use of ocean resources to benefit economies, livelihoods and ocean ecosystem health”, activities representing the blue economy include: shipping, fishing and aquaculture, coastal tourism, renewable energy, water desalination, undersea cabling, seabed extractive industries and deep-sea mining, marine genetic resources and biotechnology.
The Blue Med scheme is intended to support start-ups, scale-ups, and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in developing and implementing innovative solutions that contribute to the United Nations ‘Life below water’ Sustainable Development Goal 14 to “conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development”. SDG14 is one of 17 Sustainable Development Goals established by the UN in 2015.
The Blue Med scheme will serve as a focal point for the blue economy under Malta Enterprise’s umbrella and will specifically target local and international disruptors and innovators in emerging blue economic niches. It also supports and assists traditional blue economic sectors to embrace innovative business solutions to make their business operations more sustainable.
The scheme also invites eligible participants to join the SDG 14 Challenge, which will give them the opportunity to receive mentorship and guidance from industry experts through Malta Enterprise’s collaboration with international organisations such as the OECD, World Ocean Council and Sustainable Ocean Alliance. They will also gain enhanced recognition by presenting their innovative project at the awards ceremony and meeting with potential partners and collaborators.
Eligible participants will also be able to access funding opportunities from a pool of €4 million that is earmarked to support companies that have innovative, feasible, scalable, and sustainable projects that address SDG14 goals. This financial support will be facilitated through existing Malta Enterprise support measures for investments and/or research activities.
The deadline for the submission of applications is 12 January 2024. Eligible enterprises must meet the following criteria:
- Be a start-up, scale up or an SME, registered as a limited liability company and carrying out the project activities in Malta or in Maltese territorial waters by employees registered with the Maltese authorities.
- Have a solution that has a technology readiness level (TRL) of at least 5, that has been tested in a relevant environment and has gone beyond theoretical ideas or basic research.
- Have a solution that directly aligns with the challenge theme of advancing marine sustainability under SDG14, showing how it helps to conserve and use ocean resources in a sustainable way.
- Use a team with the necessary technical and domain expertise relevant to the challenge theme.
- Have the necessary rights and permissions for any intellectual property used in their solution.
“The government is fully committed to join the ranks of forward-thinking nations by embarking on a path toward long-term prosperity and global leadership in the blue economy arena. The Blue Med will take us one step closer to positioning Malta as a hub for blue economic activities, creating many new employment opportunities in several related sectors,” said Minister for the Environment, Energy and Enterprise Miriam Dalli.
Applications must be submitted through the client portal of Malta Enterprise. For further information or for assistance with establishing a start up in Malta and with the preparation and submission of applications and any supporting documentation, please contact Sovereign Trust (Malta) Limited.