RE: Replacement:Re(2): eForesee malta-ict: Scenarios for Malta in ICT

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  • Subject: RE: Replacement:Re(2): eForesee malta-ict: Scenarios for Malta in ICT
  • From: "Claudine Cassar"
  • Date: Mon, 2 Sep 2002 13:01:36 +0200

Dear Melvin,
I am sorry but I disagree with you. If a graduate wants to be an entrepreneur
he/she will not buy a Lm6000 car or a Lm40,000 property. I started Alert Communications
when I was 22. I had finished a BSc in Malta and an MSc overseas, so I was not
well off. My family did not help me financially and I lived without a salary
for two years. Forget spending money on the weekends - I used to buy a Coke!!
If someone really wants to start a business, nothing will stop them
Claudine Cassar
-----Original Message-----
From: [email protected]
[ Behalf Of
[email protected]
Sent: 29 August 2002 09:02
To: [email protected]
Subject: RE: Replacement:Re(2): eForesee malta-ict: Scenarios for Malta
in ICT
Though I think we are deviating a lot from scenario buiding and concentrating our discussions on entrepreneurship, let me give this comment as a fresh graduate. When you point your fingers at graduates (and this also applies to all the other students like technical etc, who have accomplished some sort of certification for their studies) you are forgetting one crucial thing - the macro/micro economic aspect. The graduate/student does not live in a vacuum. Let us take for example a graduate at University. Obviously there would be exceptions but the Marginal Propensity to Save (MPS), that is how much he is willing to save as compared to how much he will spend is very very low. he lifestyle is that when you are young you tend to spend a lot more than you save. And this does not mean that a student is irresponsible. Everyone knows that going out during the weekend youths tend to spend a lot. Moreover after a look round the campus one would notice the average cars prked there are brand new and these on average would cost Lm 6000 and even more, so the student unless backed up by a well off family embarks on a loan for a car, be it new or second hand. Thus the share of savings is even more diminshed. I am sure that if you go around you would see a couple of expensive mobiles, some laptops, but these are expenses which I would not take into consideration as these tend to be cheaper as technolgy advances, etc.
Now an average course at university is of 5 years duration and also the average university student has a girlfriend/boyfriend. Now after an observation you would notice that university students would marry just 2 to 3 years after graduating. Thus here we have another major loan for a house being undertaken which reality as it stands the cheapest property you would buy is around Lm 40,000 which you need to refurbish or else start from scratch because it is shell form. And here I am being very conservative on the cost of property. Now everybody knows that the first job of a graduate with a normal first degree now, (let alone those who have lower qualifications)is not tha much well paid. And for loans to be granted you need to have some sort of security. Thus the average student has only his salary as his only security.
Thus at a tender age of around 25-26 years old a student would have a car and a house loan, concluding with the fact that only the very few, can embark on an entrepreneurial venture. Thus from my simple observation only those students who are backed up by a well off family have the ability to start up a business, and adding my personal opinion on that I think that only a few amongst of these, those who are not risk averse, those who most probably have got their parents already in business have a higher probability of starting a new venture. And when the parents are already in business the probability is that the students would be enganged in their family businesses.
All of the above are simple observations and not backed up by official scientific studies. Hence I stand to be corrected but this is the reality my friends inculding myself have to face.
Thus as things stay today the average Maltese university student is not at all an entrepreneur. One basic characteristic of a successful entrepreneur is that he has to be credible in everything he does, from the conception of the idea right through the selling of the actual product/service, and moreover repeat business!! And credibilty needs time to be built up.
Thus the scenarios that the group has to come up with would tak for example normal social changes like for example students living on campus/in University whereabouts, but would me more difficult to imgine technical institutions offering accomodation as well, in both case , space and money are a big constraint, due to the size of Malta. Students changing their lifestyle completely, and moreover students being thought entrepreneurial skills from their early stages in education. We could follow ideas like Scoops, Young Enterprise etc. with the difference of integrating ICT (software application) from early stages in schools, like for example applying word to generate and keep records of documents, using excel for simple income and expenidture accounts. This could be part of the development of the new curriculum, we are born traders, remember what we used to do when we collected the Panini stickers, we exchange for example a badge with two players, we already put value to things we possess. What we have to work upon is instill a sense a creativity in students to come up with new innovative ideas. Students must have a tiny share in determining their future, perhaps with a little bit of fun. They would learn to invent something and at the same time be responsible for it. This has to be an integrative part of the curriculum.
We do not have to teach students how to use a computer but rather applying a computer (software/hardware) to invent something/manage a micro business/venture.
Reality is that already now a five year old would know how to switch on a computer play some sort of game, know how to use mouse, keyboard and even printer, let alone what willhappen when he/she is in their early teens.
To conclude my point every scenario must not be thought of a single stand alone thing (like for example ICT/Education is if they are in a vacumm) but of imperative importance changes to the general Micro/Macro Economic siutations, Political, Economic., Social, Technolgy, Environment and Legal issues must be taken on board. Also taking into account events which for their extraordianry nature cannot be predicted.
-----Original Message-----
From: [email protected]
[ Behalf Of Ray Muscat
Sent: 28 August 2002 13:35
To: [email protected]
Subject: RE: Replacement:Re(2): eForesee malta-ict: Scenarios for Malta
in ICT
Although I agree with the spirit of your comment, I think that we shouldn't generalise. Today, a fresh graduate could have access to funds. For instance, we have two schemes for KBIC tenants: a)Seed Capital, offered as redeemable preferential shares, up to a capping of Lm15,000 and to be used as a form financing to bridge the concept stage to the business planning stage. Such funds could also be used for working capital (including wage); Bank Loan Guarantee, offered as collateral to the banks instead of the entrepreneur's and is designed to assist in the business plan implementation. This is capped at Lm40,000 and likewise, could partly be used for working capital; c) There are other financial tools that are currently being designed as part of the Technology Venture Fund.
With regards to networks; well yes, these need to be built gradually - but again, they are assisted with local and foreign networking. We do caution them and assist them about the likely possibility that their ideas are duplicated and we do assist them with IPR issues. However, this is the intrinsic risk of business and as you pointed out it happens everywhere.
On the other hand, buyouts do not worry me (as long these are undertaken diligently) as long as the entrepreneur cashes in a return on his invested time, efforts and money. If the person is creative enough and a true entrepreneur, he/she could always kick-off with another idea.
-----Original Message-----
From: Galea Paul at MITTS []
Sent: 28 August 2002 12:40
To: [email protected]
Subject: Re:Replacement:Re(2): eForesee malta-ict: Scenarios for Malta in ICT
I think you are all forgeting the Malta Reality. There is simply NO WAY that a
fresh graduate (without money and the right connections) can succeed.
Malta's micro economy is such that as soon as a new enterpraneur enters the
scene with an innovative idea, the BIG FIVE companies in malta duplicate his
effort and / or buy him out. This is happening through out the world as massive
corporations buy smaller (and sometimes not so small) companies to create
monster companies of such proportions that it in unconceivable to governments
to think of a world without them. (Microsoft, IBM, Nestle, Siemens, SAP, and so
Unfortunately I do not have the answer to these problems unless we go back to
our origins (in Malta's case these origins are still around in some places) and
start with our children in anticipation of the future.
I think that foresee should be revolutionary by nature and that unless we
propose innovative ideas, we should all pack and go home.
The educational systems around the world are producing heartless and
emotionless robots which prefer hiding behind a machine for interpersonal
relationships to meeting people in person. This is creating a world where IT is
implemented all around us to keep the economy wheel turning and to fill the
coffins of the Corporation around us.
What ICT and the internet are offering everyone, is the opportunity to be part
of something which is much greater than the sum of its counterparts.
Malta, altough of limited size, has great things to offer and one of this is
our immense and diverse History and culture.
Something new which could increase our dimension internationally is the
creation of an ON-LINE visit to some (if not all) of our historical sites.
Visitors could be led through a virtual walkthrough of our unique sites (say
our Hypogeum,Hagar Qim or the Imnajdra temples) and people who would then be
interested in seeing the place in person, could be invited over to our country
to do so.
I think that this is what eforesee is about and this is what we should be
Galea Paul at MITTS (22/08/02 15:44):
>I think that considering that Malta was a late entry in the Global IT secto,
>our achievements in the last decade by far exceeds our expectations.
>Keeping this in mind, I think that we could use the experience gained in this
>"FRESH START" approach that Malta had in the 1990's and offer our help to those
>countries (especially in the north african region) who are still struggling to
>set up their IT infrastructure ans IS capabilities.
>Also, this could also lead to Malta being a hub in the provision of services
>(ISP, ASP, NSP, and so on), especially providing Software as a service or
>Application Service Provision (ASP).
>Another area which we could benefit from is the provision of remote
>administrastion/support/maintenance/helpdesk services.
>All this can only happend if Malta's Internet bandwith problem is solved.
>A lot of people in Malta are speaking about on-line services being made
>available but unless our international bandwith is adequately "beefed-up", none
>of these services will materialise at an international level.
>One of the worlds' greates deficiencies nowadays is the non-availibility of
>SOFTWARE DEVELOPERS. The educational systems around the world (and in
>particular those of small countries like ourselves) seem to lack the ability to
>produce people with very good software skills. I see this from 11 years
>experience at MSU/ MITTS Ltd. where I have mentored a number of students from a
>number of academic backgrounds (University, Technical Institute, Junior
>Collegge, ..). The biggest problem (Juan hit the nail on the head with his
>coments on this) is that not enough emphasis is place on the teaching of soft
>skills. (and these include softWARE skills)
>The current educational system ( I am sure that most of you have gone through
>University, passing exams and not remembering what the subjects were about
>after a couple of days) only deems people as being successfull, if they pass
>exams and in the particular area of software, this is a great fallacy. Another
>problem with software is that it is very difficult to teach software if you are
>not a software developer yourself. As such, I feel that the we need more of the
>Hand-on approach that juan mentioned.
>I feel that there is a high concentration of software developers in Malta
>already, but with a bit of investment and foresight, we could have more of
>these on the island and start exporting our software skills and services more.
>Paul Galea
>Strategy and Architecture Department
>Central Information Management Unit
>Jennifer Cassingena Harper (22/08/02 12:21):
>>many thanks,
>> ----- Original Message -----
>> From: Leonard Bezzina
>> To: [email protected]
>> Sent: Thursday, August 22, 2002 1:18 PM
>> Subject: Re: eForesee malta-ict: Scenarios for Malta in ICT
>> Dear Jennifer,
>> I would like to suggest the following scenario:
>> Malta would become a centre of excellence in ICT in education (practice and
>theory). This implies a situation where all teachers are making the best
>possible use of ICT in order to enhance teaching and learning in all areas of
>the curriculum and at all levels of our education system (primary, secondary,
>post-secondary and tertiary). This vision includes making most of the
>communication capabilities of current and future technology in order to promote
>learning at a distance and at all times of the day (e-learning) and at
>facilitating communication between parents/guardians and the school. It also
>implies a situation where Malta develops innovative ways of making use of ICT
>in our classrooms. Once such a vision is in place we can become a Mediteranean
>centre of excellence in teacher education in this area. We can then offer
>appropriate University level courses mainly through distance learning.
>> Leonard Bezzina
>> Jennifer Cassingena Harper wrote:
>> Dear Colleagues, We would like to initiate an on-line discussion on
>alternative futures for Malta in ICT. We would like you to send us up to ten
>different scenario themes for Malta in ICT. These can be scenario themes
>focused on:
>> a.. specific niche areas (e.g. Malta as an e-learning hub)
>> b.. or ICT-enabled initiatives (e.g. on-line gambling)
>> c.. or telecomms-related initiatives
>> d.. or any other ideas in general !!
>> Ideally, this exercise should not involve too much time - maximum 30
>minutes - just jot down what comes immediately to mind. So send us your
>feedback if possible by Thursday 22 August.Looking forward to hearing from you,
>> ___________Dr. Jennifer Cassingena
>> Head, Policy Unit,
>> Malta Council for Science and Technology
>> Villa Bighi, Bighi, Kalkara CSP 11, Malta
>> email: [email protected] http://www.mcst.org.mt
>> direct dial-in: +356 23602125
>> tel. +356 21 660340 (fax) +356 21 660341
>> ___________
>> +++++++++++++++
>> Dr Leonard Bezzina
>> Department of Mathematics, Science and Technical Education
>> Faculty of Education
>> University of Malta
>> Msida MSD 06
>> Malta
>> E-mail address: [email protected]
>> Telephone number: 3290 2404
>> +++++++++++++++
>sender : "Galea Paul at MITTS"
>This is the malta-ict mailing list of the EU financed eFORESEE
>project on regional foresight. Please go to the project website
>at http://eforesee.info to subscribe, unsubscribe or update
>your profile. Feel free to forward this message to colleagues or
>friends interested in any foresight related activities.
sender : "Galea Paul at MITTS"
This is the malta-ict mailing list of the EU financed eFORESEE
project on regional foresight. Please go to the project website
at http://eforesee.info to subscribe, unsubscribe or update
your profile. Feel free to forward this message to colleagues or
friends interested in any foresight related activities.
sender : "Ray Muscat"
This is the malta-ict mailing list of the EU financed eFORESEE
project on regional foresight. Please go to the project website
at http://eforesee.info to subscribe, unsubscribe or update
your profile. Feel free to forward this message to colleagues or
friends interested in any foresight related activities.


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