TradeMalta companies interested in taking their businesses abroad can benefit from trade missions
By Edward Bonello
Internationalisation may be a daunting concept, especially if being approached for the first time. However, all business people in Malta will agree, that unless their business model is intrinsically designed to service the domestic market, looking beyond the island’s shores quickly becomes inevitable. TradeMalta is tasked with helping Malta-based businesses on their export journey, through a wide range of services tailored to meet the needs of companies in eligible sectors.
WhosWho.mt caught up with Carmen Walls, Senior Manager at TradeMalta, to discuss its upcoming trade mission to Addis Ababa in Ethiopia scheduled to take place between 11th and 15th March 2024.
“As part of TradeMalta’s portfolio of assistance, we organise a series of strategically planned trade missions to up-and-coming markets around the world,” Ms. Walls explains. “Such business missions are often touted to be amongst the ideal first steps for businesses planning to make that first step into the world of internationalisation.”
Trade missions provide a structured approach to nurture collaboration and business development, providing business operators with the opportunity to develop their internationalisation potential and help entrepreneurs gain knowledge on how to operate in specific markets.
In fact, joining a trade mission with TradeMalta makes life much simpler, as one wouldn’t need to worry about the various logistical details and ancillary tasks as these are managed by TradeMalta, Ms Walls attests.
“Additionally, businesses would be forming part of an official trade delegation which is often led by senior Government officials – rendering the visit all the more meaningful.”
These trade missions are complimented by continuous market research, as well as a wealth of information and knowledge that is available to businesses on TradeMalta’s online portal.
Applications for the upcoming delegation to Ethiopia are open, however interested businesses would do well to apply, as TradeMalta, makes a great deal of preparatory work to ensure that each business represented on the trip gets the best opportunities possible.
“Once a company applies to join us on a trade mission, TradeMalta kicks off a thorough process that examines the business’ plans for internationalisation, and how they can best benefit from the trip. Once on the trip, a series of meetings with collaborating partners are organised in the form of business-to-business events, which increase the chances of success,” Ms. Walls explains.
The Ethiopia trip is a multi-sectorial business mission aimed at providing the opportunity to expand into a new market or grow existing business relationships. In fact, the mission is open to companies hailing from all sectors of the economy. Ahead of the trade mission, TradeMalta assesses the applying companies’ track record in international business or the comprehensiveness of their proposed business plan to do so. Experience and preparedness are certainly an asset.
“Shortlisted companies may be eligible for financial assistance to cover flight costs. They may also be eligible to receive a per diem, to ease their costs even further,” Ms Walls notes.
Though some businesses might not be eligible to receive funding, they might also be invited to attend, which is an option that Ms Walls suggests businesses consider. “Such business missions are designed to help companies get the best out of them. In fact, we ask businesses what companies they are interested in meeting while on the trip, and TradeMalta does its best to accommodate their request, through our multipliers,” Ms Walls expounds.
Furthermore, ahead of the actual business trip, TradeMalta organises information sessions for companies planning to join the mission.
Ms. Walls concludes by saying that “these meetings have the primary function of getting people acquainted with the programme of planned events, and any house-keeping dos and don’ts about the country in question. However, these are also excellent networking opportunities for local businesses to meet each other and sometimes, this is where some excellent networking starts straight away.”