International Insights

Stories from the Real Economy

International Insights – Stories from the Real Economy is a brand-new podcast (and video) series focusing on key strategies that local companies interested in international growth can use to guide their journey. Dr. Joe Schembri meets with entrepreneurs, experts and academics to discuss current themes that are central to global growth in a post-pandemic scenario. 

As a company embarks on its journey towards international growth it faces different challenges and opportunities. Its leadership needs to reflect on building the necessary capabilities and processes.

The series launches on the 23rd of March 2023 with 8 episodes that will be available on popular podcast platforms and TradeMalta’s YouTube channel.

Episode 01: Navigating a crisis – Leading in a crisis and emerging stronger.

Date: Thursday 23rd March 2023

By early 2019, a Maltese company had become the third-largest provider of language education in the world. When COVID-19 hit, the company’s business model was shaken. Its founder speaks about leading in a crisis and emerging even stronger therefrom.


Andrew Mangion, Executive Chairman and CEO, EC English Language Centres

Episode 02: Being digital – Using digital technologies to build brands and engage.

Date: Thursday 30th March 2023

Being international is about being digital, using digital technologies to build brands, recruit and engage with clients and collaborators. In our second podcast, we discuss the ins and outs of going digital with our guests, an experienced content manager and a founder of a digital agency.


Benji Borg, CEO, 9h Capital | Christina Goggi, Digital Marketing Consultant

Episode 03: The struggle for talent – Finding and keeping the right people.

Date: Thursday 6th April 2023

Attracting, retaining, and developing talent is becoming the main challenge for organisations. Employers want great teams to lead their international journeys. Employees expect authenticity, career progression and well-being. Here we talk to a seasoned human resource professional and an organisational psychologist who weigh in on winning the struggle for talent.


Dr. Franco Valletta, Chief People & Culture Officer, Corinthia Group | Prof. Vince Cassar, Professor of Management, University of Malta

Episode 04: Off to Africa – Exploring a new frontier for trade and international business.

Date: Thursday 13th April 2023

Africa has the potential to become the world’s largest free trade area during this century. No wonder organisations from around the world, including Malta-based companies, are looking at Africa as the next frontier. This episode welcomes two Maltese companies that have been active in Africa for years.


Chris Muscat, CEO, Hudson Holdings Ltd | Karl Aquilina, CEO, Salvo Grima Group

Episode 05: Tipping Points – How single projects and opportunities define our growth.

Date: Thursday 20th April 2023

Organisations grow gradually, one international opportunity at a time. But some project and client milestones define the organisation and accelerate its growth. Two leading software entrepreneurs shed light on how to spot an opportunity and make it count at a strategic level.


John DeGiorgio, Founder/Chairman, Shireburn Software Ltd | Joseph Sultana, Co-founder, Ascent Software Ltd

Episode 06: Innovation Dilemmas – Coming up with innovation in an age of uncertainty.

Date: Thursday 27th April 2023

How can an organisation come up with ground-breaking innovation, in products or processes, when it is becoming so hard to even survive in a post-pandemic economy? Two innovation experts, an entrepreneur and an academic, share their insights on innovation dilemmas.


Dr. Leonie Baldacchino, Senior Lecturer, The Edward de Bono Institute for Creative Thinking and Innovation | Matthew Bezzina, Founder, eCabs Company Ltd.

Episode 07: The daily practice of global marketing – Looking at the ongoing routines of global marketers.

Date: Thursday 4th May 2023

Companies that succeed on an international level focus on the marketing they do on a regular basis. Be it ensuring effective presence in fairs, targeted use of platforms, or identifying pain points of specific segments. We speak to two founders of international companies on how to be effective as a matter of routine.


Matthew Wismayer, Director, Pet Nutrition | Sam Borg, Director/Chief Operating Officer, Bortex Group

Episode 08: Lessons from sport – Leadership and management lessons from the world of sport.

Date: Thursday 11th May 2023

Sports coaches spend their time identifying talent, reflecting on strategy, communicating, preparing a team, and monitoring execution. Resources, competition persuasion, and performance characterise the landscape, whether it’s in a boardroom or a clubhouse. Can businesses learn lessons from sports? Our guests have made a name in international sports and believe all organisations can learn from sports.


Pippo Psaila, Former Football National Team Coach | George Micallef, Director of Sport Development, The Mediterranean College of Sport.

Available on all major podcast platforms

Video available on

This series is brought to you with the support of HSBC Bank Malta p.l.c., and in collaboration with the Times of Malta and Studioseven.

This edition of International Insights builds on previous interviews and webinars produced by TradeMalta which can be viewed here.