In this post we’ll be meeting Mr Daniel Borg, CEO of the Gozo Business Chamber, for a short interview as part of the #MakeYourVoiceHeard campaign.
What is your role in the Gozo business Chamber and what are the day-to-day tasks associated with such a role? What attracted you to this position?
I am the Chief Executive Officer of the Gozo Business Chamber. My day-to-day tasks include the overseeing of the smooth running of the Chamber from an administrative point of view. I am also responsible for the formulation of the policy within the Chamber, which includes policy documents and responses to consultation. This is done after conducting research and also hearing the input of our members. I also attend numerous meetings, and represent the Chamber in various fora. You can practically say that the day is always full!
I was attracted to this role because of various things. I always saw the Chamber as an effective organisation which had and still has the ability to bring change in the Gozitan community and society, not only in the business word. What attracted me was always the fact that the Chamber was always forward looking and also had an international vision given its participation in INSULEUR. Moreover through this role I saw the possibility to participate at the forefront of policy making and consequently to be able to bring real change.
Is there an achievement or contribution of the GBC that you are extremely proud of? Why?
I was able to bring my expertise in policy making to the Chamber. Consequently this has led to the formulation of various policy documents over the past years such as the GBC’s annual budgetary proposals. One main document which we issued in 2021 was the ‘Post COVID-19: Strategic and Policy Document’ and it practically brought to the fore the GBC’s main proposals on important areas related to the diversification of the Gozitan economy.
However, I was also extremely proud to see initiatives on the ground taking shape such as the ‘Youth4Entrepreneurship Gozo’ a contest for young people where they can pitch their business idea related to the Gozo, but also important initiatives such as the INSULEUR Forum in 2019, and the Ethics in Business Conference.
What has this achievement done to the local business community?
I believe in a structured and methodical approach to policy making. The formulation of policy documents adds credibility to an organisation and its proposals, when these are based on research and the concrete feedback of its members. The importance of the Chamber lies in its ability to put forwards its proposals. And even if these are not accepted in the first instance, the fact that it generates discussion on specific topics will lead to focused thinking on Gozo and its needs. On the ground we believe that we are making a difference, especially with specific segments which we have decided to target. During the celebration of our 20 years we identified two areas which we needed to work upon: youth, and ethics.
As a Chamber our work would be futile if it is not eventually taken up by future generations. To this end the development of a young business community is important. The ‘Youth4Entrepreneurship Gozo’ has seen it start as a small event, which has now grown over the years, and is now going into its fourth edition. As regards the aspect of ethics, we have managed to create a forum for discussion on ethical questions which each business person should consider in order to ensure the sustainable development of the island. A common thread of both events has been the collaboration we managed to undertake with various government and community organisations which is helping us reach our goals.
The organisation of the INSULEUR Forum in 2019 here in Gozo was another important milestone. It was one of the first activities I was responsible for upon joining the Chamber. The Forum had discussed the aspect of digitalisation for islands, and it showed that the Chamber can actually make a difference not only at a local and national level, but also at an international level.
What are the biggest challenges that Gozitan businesses are facing at this moment in time and what is the GBC doing to help out?
There are those challenges which are specific to Gozo and those which are common to all. Thus the Chamber for example is always discussing and putting forward proposals to ensure better accessibility for Gozitan based enterprises. This has seen us in constant dialogue with service providers, sometimes also criticising, but always with the intent of ensuring a better services for Gozitan businesses and the community in general. As regards the present, one of the main challenges is the inflationary push which was started with COVID-19 and is now seen spiralling with the war in Ukraine. Given the extra difficulties faced by Gozitan based enterprises we are constantly on the look out to ensure that their needs and concerns are taken on board.
However, the principal challenge I see, and which was brought to the fore because of the COVID-19 pandemic was the diversification of the Gozitan economy and the restructuring of Gozitan businesses in the way they operate. Presently Gozo is over dependent on sectors such as tourism, construction and real estate. The Chamber is constantly pushing for the creation of new sectors which would bring added value to the Gozitan economy such as the green economy and digitalisation. As regards the restructuring of the way businesses in Gozo operate, as a Chamber we have provided various training opportunities on aspects related to the digitalisation of business processes.
Another important challenge Gozitan businesses are facing is the competition with the public sector for employees. This is increasing the difficulties of businesses to find adequate human resources. The Chamber has been speaking vociferously over this issue on a constant basis.
Mention three top reasons why local businesses should become members of the chamber.
Three top reasons why local businesses should become members of the Chamber is for them:
- To be represented at a local, national and international level. Through their membership they will have a voice in all the fora the Chamber is participating;
- To be continuously informed about what is happening and to benefit from the various training opportunities the Chamber is continuously offering;
- To be consulted and for their opinion to be factored in the positions the Gozo Business Chamber continuously presents not only at a national but also at an international level.
Why are you excited about the future of the GBC? What inspires you to keep working towards the local business community?
The GBC has an important role not only on a national but also at an international level (through its participation in INSULEUR). These past years have also seen a significant effort on our part to restructure our activities in order to become more effective. We are also forward looking through our activities with youth, and also in areas such as ethics in business. This regenerating process means that the GBC will continue to remain at the forefront of the various issues that are happening and to put it in an advantageous position in putting forward its pespective which affect Gozitan businesses and society.
What inspires me to keep working within the Chamber is its ethos. When the Chamber puts forward its proposals it does not only speak about business in Gozo, but about society and the community. It also holds dear sustainable development as it sees that the society and the economy are intrinsically tied together, an aspect which is very close to my heart and to my perspective on the world and society in general.
Become a member of the GBC today. Make your voice heard. Click here to download membership form.
The #MakeYourVoiceHeard campaign is an initiative that is being supported by the Ministry for Gozo NGO Assistance Scheme, a funding programme for voluntary organisations on the island of Gozo.