Malta Enterprise’s Start-Up Festival 2023 held on the 5th and 6th of October at the MFCC saw for the first time the inclusion of a tailormade Students Programme – an activity solely dedicated to students aspiring to become future entrepreneurs.
The 3-hour Students Programme composed of an array of founders and motivational speakers was held on the first day of the 2-day event. Through the sharing of their experiences and wisdom, both founders and speakers were able to engage with the young cohort of students to elucidate their triumphs and failures. Guiding tomorrow’s young entrepreneurs on how to navigate through challenges, the importance of being resilient in the face of failure and the importance of developing grit.
Speakers, founders, and experiences shared
Minister for the Environment, Energy and Enterprise, Miriam Dalli and Malta Enterprise CEO Kurt Farrugia met with the students and passed on their remarks revolving around the importance of engaging within such organized festivals serving as an exceptional gateway for opportunities within their future.
A Q&A session with Co-Founder of Anvil Game Studios, Andrew Farrugia opened up the programme. Andrew shared his story behind developing one of the first and most successful local video game companies with his twin brother Julian Farrugia. The young cohort of students engaged through insightful questions regarding the digital games industry.
This session was followed by a talk by CEO of JA Malta, Matthew Caruana who focused on the need to foster creativity from a young age and the importance of start-ups within our ecosystem. The session also included a panel discussion with Junior Achievement winning teams, h2Lo and Możaic who won the Company of the Year Award and the Start-Up of the Year award respectively in 2023. Both teams were able to share their success and experience within the European finals whereby they competed against 42 other countries in the largest entrepreneurship festival in the world.
Hands on workshop
Next up was ‘Unleashing Ideas’ a practical workshop around the theme of on enabling entrepreneurial thinking in students – it was led by Professor Leonie Baldacchino and Dr. Margaret Mangion from the Edward de Bono Institute for Creative Thinking and Innovation at the University of Malta. Students was split up into smaller groups and asked to come up with a solution to a technical issue within their day-to-day lives which would also pose to become a unique business idea.
To close off the Students Programme, Dana McKeon, Malta’s very own Beatbox Champion, Music Artist, Songwriter and Personal Development Coach delivered a ‘Get Inspired’ session. Dana McKeon was not only remarkable in inspiring the students through a motivational talk revolving around perseverance and determination but also gave the students a demo of her remarkable beatboxing capabilities. The students were also guided to tours of the expo area where they could take engage with the 55 exhibitors participating amongst which there were start-ups and players from the corporate world.
Support by schools attending
St. Martin’s Institute of Higher Education Principal, Mr. Charles Theuma stated that “The Start-Up festival is becoming an important date on our academic calendar for our freshers reading towards their BSc in International Business to have the opportunity to familiarise themselves with the entrepreneurial scene in Malta. It is a great encouragement to meet young people who have taken the risk and set up firms, and having such inspirations help motivate our students to reach out and prepare themselves for the world of business.”
With over 160 students present at the Students Programme together with the vast range of speakers honouring us with their presence and stories, the Students Programme proved to be a success with the hope of other successful editions of Students Programme to follow in the years to come.