Researchers and entrepreneurs will be able to apply for a chance to benefit from the 7th cycle of the TAKEOFF Seed Fund Awards (TOSFA), which this year will allocate €100,000 to local researchers and entrepreneurs.
TAKEOFF is part of the Centre for Entrepreneurship & Business Incubation (CEBI) at the University of Malta’s Msida campus. It provides a working environment for anyone with a new business to achieve their ideas. Earlier this year, Newspoint had interviewed Prof. Juanito Camilleri, who chairs CEBI.
Applicants can be awarded a maximum of €25,000 to support the further development of their ideas while also helping from a commercialisation aspect. These funds are being allocated through a competitive call which closes at noon on Monday 25 May 2020.
The seed fund is a joint initiative between the Ministry for The Economy, Investment and Small Businesses (MEIB) and the University of Malta supported by the University’s Knowledge Transfer Office (KTO), TAKEOFF Business Incubator and the Centre for Entrepreneurship and Business Incubation (CEBI).
Last year, the TOSFA Seed Fund Award supported 5 new ventures in their way forward, after 26 submissions were received and the top 11 were selected to pitch their ideas to the Adjudication Team. As University of Malta’s Pro-Rector, Prof. Ing. Saviour Zammit, had said at last year’s Awards ceremony, the University is always keen to continue supporting the utilisation of funds such as the TAKEOFF Seed Fund as this is an aid for entrepreneurship and research commercialisation. Furthermore, the number of applications received every year confirms that the interest in research and the expertise are there.
Present at the launch of this year’s TOSFA Seed Fund Award, which took place on Wednesday 6 May 2020, Minister for the Economy, Investment and Small Businesses, Hon. Silvio Schembri commented that Government has always anticipated the need for innovation as a tool for our present and future wellbeing. Especially against a background of adversity, which the world is currently facing due to COVID-19, and which is frankly a wake-up call for humanity as it seeks to re-write its story, it is more crucial than ever to affirm the need for a forward-thinking breed of entrepreneurs and researchers. He concluded by auguring this award would bring more innovative ideas to the fore.
University of Malta Rector, Prof. Alfred J. Vella stated that all ventures, whether they stem from University-generated research or are the basis of a newly formed start-up, require support in order to kickstart their development and obtain market validation. Research grants or personal funding may take them quite a long way however, in many cases, this is not enough. Over the past seven years, we have seen the positive impact the injection of TOSFA funds has had on both seed fund and proof of concept beneficiaries. The support provided through the scheme is not simply financial as beneficiaries also receive continuous guidance through TAKEOFF and the Knowledge Transfer Office both during and after the scheme’s timeframe.
Entrepreneurs and start-ups may apply for Seed Funds to assist them in taking a step closer to their first customer or investment. Researchers working on innovations developed through University R&D shall be eligible for Proof of Concept funds to assist in taking their technology closer to commercialisation.
Workshops to explain the application process and provide the skills and tools necessary to create a competitive proposal will be held on the 11 May at 14:00. These workshops are mandatory for all interested applicants. The final application form will only be accepted if applicants or members of their team register and attend the respective TOSFA workshop. Should applicants be unable to attend alternative meetings must be held directly with the Knowledge Transfer Office for Proof of Concept or TAKEOFF for Seed Funds.
For further details, visit the TAKEOFF website.