A serial Entrepreneur and Investor with over 20 years’ experience in banking and technology, Paula Pandolfino has occupied senior positions with some of the world’s leading banks. Passionate about equality and creating equal opportunities in entrepreneurship, Paula went on to found Txeya – a digital banking platform based in the UK that provides access to funding and support to business owners from diverse backgrounds, including those who are female, black and LGBTQ+.
In spite of the challenges Paula and her team faced in 2021, a bright side still shone through. “Trying to manage a business from multiple jurisdictions (in Germany and the UK) with everyone working remotely has definitely been the hardest challenge. Technology enabled us to stay connected and work as close to business-as-usual as possible. I am lucky to have an incredible team who are agile and work well together – wherever everyone is sitting!
To Paula, this will remain key to continued business success as the year progresses. “I think COVID-19 is going to continue to be the central theme for 2022, and businesses need to plan for extended remote work and, possibly, reduced government subsidies. There are macro-economic factors that could also play in, such as inflation and higher interest rates, but that could be late in the year. Nevertheless, there is still lots of private capital out there looking to be deployed, especially for growth businesses.”
Describing her experience as a Maltese native based abroad, Paula refers to the almost communal network of other Maltese expats she discovered over the years. “The Maltese diaspora is very connected in Europe, and everyone is always open to helping. My mantra has always been to help people when possible and give people time, even doing something as simple as offering some career advice or forwarding a CV. It might seem like a small thing, but it can have a huge impact on someone’s life. This is something I’ve inherited from my parents and my Maltese heritage.”
Paula offers practical advice to fellow Maltese entrepreneurs aspiring to put down roots overseas. “Make sure to understand the local nuances and complexities of the culture when considering a move into a new jurisdiction. I moved to Germany after 20 years in London and found that doing business in Germany is certainly not the same as doing business in the UK. I think this is where many businesses fail, particularly when they are scaling. To anyone looking to start a new business – being an entrepreneur can sometimes be a lonely place. Don’t be afraid to speak to as many people as you know from your network and lean in.”
This article is part of the serialisation of interviews featured in MaltaCEOs 2022 – an annual high-end publication bringing together some of the country’s most influential business leaders.
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