During Autumn of 2020, I participated in the MITA YouStartIT programme. In my particular case, it's not because I was still raw about how to build a startup, but I wanted to experience the journey of building a team around our startup MVP, and critically, I wanted to build it using the tools, resources and support Malta has to offer. We are very quick to tout Malta as “the startup destination of choice” or “the ideal test-bed location for innovation” but if I am to join the chorus, I at least want to go through the process myself.
The YouStartIT programme was without doubt a win! It saddens me that the programme has been discontinued. My three key takeaways from that experience in order of impact:
We expanded our co-founding team to include technical co-founders which we met during the programme (what a coup!)
I got to observe the raw uncut process of how a diverse group of people approach the startup journey from different levels of knowledge and experience AND
I had a first hand view of the challenges and concessions the team, Jarek and Alex mostly, have to make in order to run such a programme, in full pandemic lockdown mode by the way.
So is Malta the gold star destination of choice for startups? Not yet! But there are various signals emerging that bode well, and allow a person who made startups and innovation his industry of choice to be hopeful. For full disclosure, I earn a living from startups through my professional work in venture capital here in Madrid. My choice to support the Maltese ecosystem is obviously tied to my roots and my inherent wish for Malta to be a great place to live and do business (despite recent clamorous setbacks!).
By taking on the mantle of moderator for the Malta Startup Space online discussion forum in January 2021, I have committed to a simple mission: To create continuous points of contact between the stakeholders of Malta’s startup ecosystem. My process involves essentially 3 steps:
DAILY posts, interactions and comments on the group page about startups in general and startups in Malta.
DISCOVER and SHOWCASE Malta’s startup founders and stakeholders
Be a contact and NETWORKING BRIDGE for the ecosystem
Two signals seemingly provide me with the positive feedback that I am on the right track. Firstly, the amount of reactions and most critically comments per post has increased to a satisfactory level. Secondly, a recent poll conducted amongst members, which is usually responded to by those members who are most active on the group (“power users”), have confirmed that emphasis should remain on conversational posts and lessen the noise of promotional and sales posts.This tells me that our members are simply enjoying the conversation and dont need to receive commercial carrots in order to derive gains from participation.
Overall, a good first period with many thanks to Alex and Audrey for sharing this opportunity with me. It's great to have co-conspirators working to make this a reality.
Please enjoy the second edition of Malta Startup Space (MSS) update. The newsletter writes itself, and that is only thanks to an active community!
Adrian or Adi, as you prefer :)