Malta’s Chamber of SMEs has been awarded the Civil Solidarity Prize by the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) for its dedicated work towards supporting micro, small and medium enterprises throughout the pandemic.
Representing over 7,000 SMEs, the Chamber shifted its focus in the pandemic to create a support structure focusing on the essential needs and ultimate survival of these businesses.
These included information sessions, masterclasses and webinars which highlighted their theme of providing “educational services and information on the pandemic.”
Due to this the EESC, which acts as an advisory body representing Europe’s civil society at an EU level, selected the Malta Chamber of SMEs as the best candidate for the prize.
Overall, the EESC aimed to find a winner in each EU Member State and in the UK, it received no eligible entries for projects in six countries.
The Chamber is among a total of 23 laureates who were announced, with each winner receiving a prize worth €10,000.
Speaking on the announcement, EESC’s vice-president for communication, Cillian Lohan, highlighted the importance of solidarity and shared action as the key to surviving the pandemic.
“The only effective response to a crisis such as this pandemic is to act quickly, decisively, and together.” Lohan also went on to highlight that all of the projects who were awarded for their work by the EESC were “proof of selfless citizens and grassroots engagement, showing the contribution of civil society in this fight to be enormous.”
Of all applications for the prize, it should be noted that all of them were targeted towards vulnerable groups and people most affected by COVID-19’s effects on society. These include elderly, minorities, migrants and medical personnel among many others.
The efforts of Malta’s Chamber of SMEs throughout the pandemic have been focused on initiatives tailor-made for the situations presented by COVID-19 and proved effective in filling the gap to support businesses that desperately required aid.
With the role that Chamber took on, their focus turned towards supporting business owners to offer guidance, constructive dialogue and a platform for business owners to share their experiences on how to get out of the pandemic strong.
In fact, the SME platform saw more than 100 people taking part in each of the tailored webinars which covered topics such as cash flow, mental resilience and business re-engineering.
“By adapting our activity to cover all areas of business impacted by COVID-19, as communicated by our stakeholders, and by addressing the so-called COVID-19 sore points, our organization has established itself as the central point of support, whether it is mental health, economic support or community efforts,” said CEO Abigail Mamo.
She went on to also highlight that the award will allow the Chamber to raise further awareness on the value of social dialogue, emphasising that it has never been “so necessary and it is a model we intend to build on”.
The awards ceremony live stream can be watched here.
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