British serial entrepreneur and philanthropist Mark Weingard has been the force behind countless businesses worldwide. A series of unfortunate events led him to found luxury hotel brand Iniala and charitable foundation Inspirasia. Today, he lives in Malta and oversees Inspirasia, Esenzi, and all Iniala projects, including the luxury boutique hotel, Iniala Malta.
Why did you choose to become resident in Malta?
Although I originally moved to Malta for tax reasons, I quickly fell in love with the country. Soon after, I made the decision to stay – a good decision, in hindsight!
How easy was it to settle in Malta and set up in business?
I have found that Malta is an easy place to set up a business, as the locals are very supportive of foreign investment. The Maltese people have been extremely open and friendly, not just in business, but throughout the process of settling down on the island.
What have been your top moments of living and working in the country, so far?
I have already had many great moments living in the country, but one of my favourites has been watching Valletta grow into a beautiful, ambient city. It has been fascinating to see the gradual reformation of the buildings in the city, which still manages to retain the rich, national heritage visible everywhere. It is such a vibrant and exciting capital, with an extraordinary past and, I hope, an extraordinary future.
How have you found doing business in Malta?
Straightforward, since the Maltese people are incredibly easy to do business with. The local community has an ease and friendliness that is part of a larger, generally welcoming culture, which extends into the business landscape. Of course, there are frustrating moments with bureaucracy, but that is the same in any country. On the whole, I have found Malta to be open and flexible in terms of doing business. It also helps that you can, at any point, speak directly with the decision makers in government and private enterprise.
What sets Malta apart from other countries or regions, both personally and professionally?
As Malta is such a small island, it’s easy to meet and build relationships with all the key players in the business community across the country, which is a real advantage. As I said, the government is also accessible and open to new ideas – and it is far simpler to make a change in a country where the population is so hungry for change.
How open and welcoming was Malta’s business community when you first arrived – and how has your relationship with the community developed since?
The business community has always been open with me, and I’ve found them extremely welcoming. In fact, I have made many of my best friends in Malta through the country’s business world.
What would you say are the top pros and cons of investing in Malta?
The biggest pro of investing in the island is that, in Malta, you don’t have to shout loud to be heard. That makes it faster and easier to make an impact – which is especially important as an entrepreneur.
In terms of cons, the largest one in my experience is that the marketplace is small and has yet to become truly relevant on a global scale. Malta is a great place to start a business but, to grow, you must look outside towards the world beyond.
If you could go back in time, with the experience you have now: would you choose Malta again, and why?
I am happy I came to Malta! I only wish I had arrived five years earlier, as there would have been even more opportunity to grow, learn, and embrace the local culture
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.
Mark Weingard / Photo by Iniala Group
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