The Global Startup Ecosystem Report 2024

Malta: The Mediterranean Island Powering Large-Scale Startup Dreams

Malta, nestled in the heart of the Mediterranean, is home to a rapidly emerging startup ecosystem. The island nation — distinguished by its strategic, enticing location and transparent, government-backed startup ecosystem — is growing its presence on the global startup scene.

A place where ideas and cultures mingle against a backdrop of beautiful beaches and breathtaking historic vistas, Malta is the idyllic island that is poised to become the next startup hotspot in the European Union.

A New Chapter: Malta on the Rise

Home to some of the oldest free-standing temples in the world, Malta is renowned for its rich, 7,000year history. Now, economic development agency Malta Enterprise has launched Start in Malta - a tailor-made initiative with an aim of harnessing the local ecosystem and attracting startups to co-locate there. The efforts will be further consolidated via a next-generation Startup Framework to chart a new chapter in Malta’s story.

The effort has generated remarkable results. In the Global Startup Ecosystem Report (GSER) 2024, Malta’s Ecosystem Value, the total economic impact of startup exits and valuations spanning the last 30 months, increased 39% compared to the 2023 GSER. This was thanks to several recent large exits over $50 million, which will provide critical talent, experience, and capital to the next generation of Maltese startups.

Now that it’s been proven that startups can build and scale from Malta, the world is taking notice. Ranking as the fourth-best destination for innovative startups, Malta surpassed 17 other EU nations in a survey conducted by the Europe Startup Nations Alliance

Maltese Magnetism: Transparency, Access, and Quality of Life

The Government of Malta takes proactive steps to cultivate a nurturing environment for startups, aiming to establish incentives and strategic services to support highly innovative and disruptive operations.

Initiatives like the Startup Festival — which attracted over 1,800 attendees in 2023 — and the launch of a national $10.7 million venture capital fund demonstrate Malta’s dedication to spurring innovation. These efforts are complemented by non-dilutive financial aid packages of up to $1.6 million that are available to innovative business ventures.

Malta is on a mission to minimize bureaucracy and enhance its proposition through its Startup Framework, a roadmap that fosters transparency and caters to the needs of startups by engaging with the community throughout the legislative process. Scheduled to have the first initiatives launch by the end of 2024, this framework emphasizes the importance of feedback from the international startup community, ensuring that implemented policies are robust and globally competitive.

Malta’s geographic location offers unparalleled access to key markets and international talent. Positioned between three continents, the island serves as both a geographic and economic hub. “Our connectedness to Africa, the Middle East, and Europe enables us to attract talent that’s just a short, direct flight away,” says Malta Enterprise CEO Kurt Farrugia.

A critical advantage for startups in Malta is having access to decision makers. The island’s compact size and close-knit business community create an environment where entrepreneurs can often engage directly with policymakers and industry leaders, fostering a collaborative environment that is rare in larger countries. This closeness not only expedites administrative processes, but also helps businesses quickly adapt to regulatory changes.

These merits are buttressed by some of the best quality-of-life benefits the world has to offer. Boasting over 300 days of sunshine annually, Malta was voted as having the World’s Best Climate by International Living magazine.

Entrepreneurs find Malta not only an ideal place of business, but also a source of inspiration and a haven for creativity. It is also a safe environment to live in. “There’s an appeal to living in Malta that you need to experience in order to understand its value. Great weather and fresh air — there’s nothing like being able to go for a swim in the morning before going to or coming back from the office,” says Farrugia.

“There’s an appeal to living in Malta that you need to experience in order to understand its value. Great weather and fresh air — there’s nothing like being able to go for a swim in the morning before going to or coming back from the office.”

Kurt Farrugia undefined
CEO of Malta Enterprise

A Melting Pot of Cultures, Ideas, and Innovation

Expatriates comprise 38% of Malta’s workforce, reflecting the island’s reputation as a cosmopolitan village that welcomes all. This diverse talent pool contributes to a vibrant, collaborative, and creative startup environment, particularly in cutting-edge sectors such as Life Sciences, Fintech, and digital technologies.

Malta’s diverse workforce will only continue to grow as the government actively welcomes and fosters incredible international talent through The Malta Startup Residence Programme, which grants a three-year residency permit, extendable for an additional five years. Beneficiaries are able to reside with their families in Malta while launching their startup venture, giving them an opportunity to bring ideas and innovation to the European market. Several startups in Malta have gained notoriety for their innovative services and remarkable growth. A few standout examples include:

  • Trust Stamp, a proprietary AI solutions scaleup and the first NASDAQ listed company in Malta
  • Draw and Code, an immersive and interactive tech company that works with VR, AR, games, and installations
  •, a Maltese Fintech company offering a platform that allows businesses to integrate financial services into their products and has successfully raised $4 million in venture capital

Looking Ahead: The EU-Startups Summit and Beyond

In May 2024, Malta successfully hosted the EU-Startups Summit, showcasing its thriving ecosystem to the world on a grander scale than ever before. The summit served as a platform for local and international startups to connect, with over 2,000 ecosystem leaders including founders, startup enthusiasts, and angel investors gathered in Malta from all corners of the globe. This event is an addition to another yearly appointment on the local startups calendar - Startup Festival Malta - the embodiment of the local startup ecosystem which enters its 4th year with the event taking place in mid October at the Malta Fairs and Convention Centre.

With an exclusive combination of strategic location, government support, and a transparent approach toward commerce, Malta has become an attractive destination for startups seeking to scale in a cosmopolitan environment. As the world continues to become more interconnected, Malta’s role as a facilitator of international business and innovation will undoubtedly grow, promising exciting opportunities for aspiring entrepreneurs, skilled talent, and prominent investors alike.