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More than 3,700 contacts have been made by clients with Business First, which is offering over 50 Government services for businesses under one roof. George  Francalanza, head of Business First discusses the office’s function and the collaborative work being carried out between Malta Enterprise and MEPA.

 Through its professional guidance, Business First, operated by Malta Enterprise, is helping businesses including micro enterprises, SMEs, larger companies and foreign investors wishing to set up in Malta, to find their way through the various requirements they need to adhere to. The service is particularly beneficial for start-up companies, which often lack the know-how on the required formalities, the applications that need to be compiled, the documentation that needs to be submitted and – equally important – where all this can be done.

Business First provides the facility of fulfilling all the requirements under one roof within the Malta Enterprise head office in Pietà, leaving businesses more time to concentrate and focus on their business implementation.

Among others, Business First provides services related to the legal entity establishment, employment registration, registration for tax purposes, registration for VAT services, residence permits, licences including trading and tourism-related licences, and applications related to utilities services.

The growth and successful operation of businesses is also supported through the guidance and provision of Malta Enterprise schemes and services.

The initial list of services provided was based on a survey carried out among 200 enterprises which, among other questions, asked them to identify the major issues they encounter as local enterprises and the kind of services they would expect from such a facility.

The list of services – which can be viewed on the dedicated website – is by no means exhaustive, as Business First will continue to analyse clients’ feedback to determine additional business services required and, where possible, to start offering such services.

One service which has been requested through this exercise is the provision of information on planning permits issued by MEPA. As a result, Business First has started offering this service to its customers.

Members of staff within Business First have over the past weeks been given the basic training regarding MEPA’s procedures in order to be able to provide basic information to businesses enquiring about the status of their MEPA applications.

While Business First will not be accepting MEPA applications, clients will nonetheless benefit from a facilitated service as they will be able to check the status of their MEPA application from Business First at any time, while they may also obtain explanations on the pre-screening process and on the general parameters of permits for specific developments.

A MEPA representative has also started to be present at the Business First office every Friday between 09.00hrs and 13.00hrs to provide information and offer advice to businesses requiring a service from MEPA, thereby complementing the service provided by Business First, which opens on weekdays between 08.15hrs and 17.00hrs, with extended hours until 19:00hrs on Wednesdays and Thursdays.

Further information may also be obtained by calling the Business First helpline on tel: 144.