Joshua Ellul MDIA

The digital economy is not a new concept, and Malta has seen steady growth in online business for years.

But Joshua Ellul, Chairman of the Malta Digital Innovation Authority (MDIA), believes the pandemic opened many eyes to the benefits of digitalisation, even among enterprises that had been sceptical of the benefits it could bring for their business or sector at the time.

He was commenting as part of a Cover Story story in the most recent edition of Digital Island, a publication produced by Content House taking stock and exploring the digital trends being experienced locally, spurred on by COVID-19.

“Before the pandemic, most businesses in Malta providing an online presence were those in an online-focused market, and those that could justify shifting away from physical interaction to online,” Dr Ellul says. “Big changes were already in play, but the pandemic accelerated the process by shifting many other businesses online, including those that were not considering it before.”

Dr Ellul explains that the MDIA had taken measures to promote innovative solutions. These include the set-up of an award for innovative technologies in response to COVID-19, as well as the Technology Assurance Sandbox that allows start-ups and smaller operations to work towards giving assurances for stakeholders to help them onboard consumers and investors by lowering some inherent risks.

“There’s definitely a large amount of the population that sees the benefit of digitalisation and will continue to both expect and work towards a digitally enabled future,” Dr Ellul continues.

“Without a doubt, younger digital natives brought up in this world will also naturally verge towards digitalisation. However, there also are those that feel more comfortable in a less-digital world.”

“While I believe that we will continue to make progress towards a more digitally connected

future, it’s important that the less digitally inclined are not left behind,” he argues. “Similarly, it’s important for those people that want to go back to a traditional way of doing things – especially those in leadership positions – to keep in mind that progress towards efficiency and a better standard of living should not be kept back solely because of unfamiliarity.”

This interview forms part of a larger cover story on the exponential rise in digital growth since the start of the pandemic, which appeared on the latest edition of Digital Island magazine.

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