An article on business portal Businessnow.mt has said that Joseph Bartolo, manager of TAKEOFF, and Professor Russell Smith, the Director of the Centre for Entrepreneurship and Business Incubation (CEBI), are at the forefront of the big changes in Malta’s efforts to create a cohesive start-up environment.
Mr Bartolo says that between the two of them, they have plenty of experience in helping the two types of businesses that can be created; that is commercial businesses and social enterprises, with himself spending over 1000 hours mentoring businesses per year.
He mentioned Centru Tbexbix as an example, the Centre helping children discover new ways of learning through planned informal learning situation. CEBI helped them convert a floor in a building to accommodate the volunteers working with them.
Dr Smith pointed to the fact that the difference between commercial businesses and social enterprises is only an illusion, as they both need to be seen as delivering a solution to the customer. He outlined the method used at CEBI, that helps with the process of setting up start-ups, consisting of 4 simple questions:
- Can you physically and technically do what you’re trying to offer?
- What emerges from the market research?
- Do customers perceive a benefit in what you’re doing?
- Is it profitable?
Prof. Smith also clarified the idea that profit does not just mean money coming from beneficiaries, but also includes money coming from Government, charitable donations, sponsors and so on.
Both Prof. Smith and Mr Bartolo advocate for this change in mentality that dictates that for both types of enterprises, success is about creating the perception of value in one’s financial supporters. Part of this change in mentality, should come from not letting oneself be fooled by the jargon of the sector.
In fact, they both say that the fifth key question they ask the budding entrepreneurs is whether they are happier taking down the entrepreneurship path than not taking it.
The answer should be yes.
The full article can be read online.