Alessio Bucaioni channels his extensive international experience into creating business expansion opportunities through WES Trade, which he co-founded in Malta in 2014.
WES Trade provides technical and commercial internationalisation services to a diverse range of sectors, including defence, maritime, homeland security, energy, water efficiency, logistical support, engineering, civil construction, the environment, agri-food, airport, transportation, ICT, and cybersecurity.
Why did you choose to become resident in Malta?
Malta offers many opportunities for business entrepreneurs like me, who develop international business networks and are interested in the internationalisation of up-to-date technologies.
As an Italian, Malta was the first choice due to our close geography, culture, and history.
Malta also offers high-level business support services and an excellent quality of life.
How easy was it to settle in Malta and set up in business?
It was all extremely efficient and easy. Maltese legislation is clear and straightforward, with accounting and legal offices to help expats develop their ideas and solidify them.
However, it’s important to only open a business in Malta if you are convinced about entering the country’s social and economic environment. You must work hard to build relationships and show that you want to contribute to the economy.
Malta gives you a lot, if you give Malta a lot.
What have been your top moments of living and working in the country, so far?
I have several: I didn’t know much about the country the day I landed in Malta in 2014, so opening WES Trade was a challenge and instant milestone. Then there are WES Trade’s international achievements since, such as being awarded an R&D contract in Sardinia related to our innovative navigation system.
Each time WES Trade earns a contract – such as our recent IRRIGOPTIMAL project to support agriculture with artificial intelligence – we strengthen our position in Malta.
Malta has also given me the opportunity to enjoy its unique landscape – ideal for relaxing after heavy business negotiations – and to meet special people.
How have you found doing business in Malta?
I describe my experience in Malta as cracking a walnut.
Opportunities surround you; the government fully supports you in doing business through excellent organisations such as Malta Enterprise or the Malta Council for Science and Technology – but you may not immediately have access if your business approach and attitude aren’t right.
Breaking the walnut’s shell to access all that Malta offers is a challenge only overcome with personal conviction.
What sets Malta apart from other countries or regions, both personally and professionally?
Professionally, you can count on a modern and lean country in terms of procedure. There are national and international initiatives to support local companies and, since Malta is a small country, you can approach decision makers directly. Personally, Malta is a mix of Mediterranean cultures, so you always feel at home.
How open and welcoming was Malta’s business community when you first arrived – and how has your relationship with the community developed since?
Being Italian was an advantage as most local people speak Italian, so integrating with the community was no problem. However, people are only open to doing business if they trust you. Once the community sees that you are genuine and trustworthy, and that you bring interesting ideas, doing business becomes much easier.
After eight years in Malta, I feel Maltese, my network has grown, and some of my best friends are here.
What would you say are the top pros and cons of investing in Malta?
Pros: The lean and efficient bureaucracy, and governmental support to materialise your investments.
Cons: Unfortunately, the size of the country does not allow for the replication of the successful, large-scale projects that are some of Malta’s most recent achievements.
If you could go back in time, with the experience you have now: would you choose Malta again, and why?
If I could, I would choose to come to Malta earlier in my life. Here I have found all I have searched for!
This feature was first carried in the Malta Invest 2023 edition. Malta Invest is the first-ever comprehensive international investment guide focusing on Malta as a destination. It is produced by Content House Group.
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