Capacity Building ESF Project

MEA strongly believes that economic and social progress depends on a healthy business environment. Establishing and enhancing social dialogue in Malta is an important aspect of the business environment, and a specialisation of the Association.

During these last years, MEA decided to embark on an ambitious project/initiative , to ensure a strong business environment through active social dialogue by organising numerous activities involving employers, unions, civil society and the general public.

“Strengthening the Business Environment through Active Social Dialogue” is an ongoing initiative/project that is divided into 4 major activities, which are:

1. A series of TV Programmes
2. The establishment of an SME Helpdesk
3. A capacity building programme focused on business employers and Micro Enterprises
4. continuous contract and guidance to the Maltese business sector

One of the activities which MEA organised to promote active social dialogue is the production of a series of TV programmes on Malta’s National TV stations. This has included a series of 25 minute programmes, broadcasted every week for a period of three years. It’s estimated that, MEA, so far, already contributed with over than 3380 minutes of business knowledge, entrepreneurship guidance, and business support through these TV programmes. With the participation of more than 260 business experts and distinguished personalities from all walks of life, MEA has already managed to deliver interesting information in an impartial manner, which definitely serves as a source of inspiration to new entrepreneurs.

In 2013, as a follow up of the MEA/ ESF project, and while keeping the THINK SMALL FIRST principle in mind, MEA established its own SME Helpdesk, to be able to handle the SME business needs with a more professional approach. Through this helpdesk, during these last two years, MEA worked even harder to be able to tackle issues which are normally associated with the SME’s sector. Amongst MEA’s contribution, one can mention the direct involvement of MEA in the bureaucracy consultation process, the submission of sound proposals during the consultation process regarding the proposed Malta Family Business Act, the current local issue regarding shop opening hours, and the initiative to organise Malta’s first small business clinic workshop.

During the period 2009-2012 MEA embarked on a specific ESF programme “Capacity building for Equipping and Representing Micro Business Employers”, focusing on microbusinesses. With the aid of the ESF funds, MEA carried out a three year awareness campaign, including an outreach exercise amongst 750 entrepreneurs, published a 67 page information booklet with a total distribution of 6000 copies, and also organised 22 training seminars with the participation of 235 entrepreneurs.

In order to improve its services to members and non-members of the Association, MEA took a decision to expand its premises, and worked on an infrastructural project to establish a new training centre.

As part of MEA’s initiative to support the local enterprise, MEA is taking the lead in organising specialised courses, and information sessions, on business management, employment law, fiscal regulations, and HR, amongst others.

In just a period of 5 years, MEA already published and circulated more than 150 electronic publications. The Association also has an on-line Human Resource handbook for employers which is password protected and consists of numerous chapters with frequently asked questions about different aspects of employment relationships, e.g. contracts of employment; maternity leave regulations; organisation of working time etc. This handbook is updated regularly.

The MEA, throughout the implementation of this ongoing initiative to support the local enterprise, always made sure to act on behalf of its members in a proactive manner. On these lines MEA took a stand, contributed and published more than 22 position documents, on various ‘hot’ topical business issues, the most recent being the paper on the State of Industrial Relations and Social Dialogue in Malta.

“Strengthening the Business Environment through Active Social Dialogue”, is an ongoing project, which MEA is ready to hold on to, for the present and future. This is a continuous challenge, which MEA needs to keep on focused together with all the stakeholders involved.