Maltese Student Awarded €22,000 For Cheese-Making Business Proposal

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Simone Cutajar, a Masters student reading for a degree in Knowledge-Based Entrepreneurship (MEnt), has been awarded €22,000 for her business proposal that is based upon the work of academic Prof. David Mifsud and Mark Scerri.

Following extensive research and development, Prof. Mifsud developed production processes for cheese-making using a range of microbial ‘cocktails’ designed to create a variety of cheeses from goat and sheep milk.

Prof. Mifsud explained that he and Mark Scerri have been developing some fantastic cheeses over the last few years.

“The technical side of business has to be matched with excellence in enterprise understanding”

“I realise now that the technical side of the business, important though it is, has to be matched with excellence in enterprise understanding. It’s all about the team, not just the product,” said Prof. Mifsud.

The funds awarded to Ms Cutajar formed part of the TAKEOFF Seed Fund Award (TOSFA) competition, which recently distributed €100,000 worth of government funds across ‘proof-of-concept’ applications (40%) and ‘seed fund’ applications (60%).

The (MEnt) programme enables students to secure funding in a very competitive environment. The course is designed to impart knowledge to graduates of Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Maths (STEAM), to guide them to become successful entrepreneurs and to help them start their own business ventures.

Ms Cutajar said: “The TOSFA (Takeoff Seed Fund Award) is instrumental for us to take Fromagg to the next level and start commercialising the Intellectual Property and know-how that we have accumulated over the last few years”.

“None of this would have been possible had I not taken the MEnt programme. And I’m not saying this lightly. I had actually applied for the TOSFA grant a year prior to starting the MEnt. I didn’t even make the first cut of the selection.”

Never give up!

But she didn’t give up. As she spoke to Takeoff Incubation Manager to Joseph Bartolo about the application, he told her “the idea was great, but the business strategy left a lot to be desired”.

She told Newspoint that the programme went beyond teaching her how to refine her pitching skills and into the sustainable budget management of the funding received.

Prof. Russell Smith, Director of the Centre for Entrepreneurship & Business Incubation at UM said that “The Master in Knowledge-Based Entrepreneurship is unique at the University of Malta in that it equips students with the know-how and tools to plan, fund and launch a new business venture. Raising start-up funding is an important part of that process and CEBI is proud of the achievements of Simone and wishes her venture continued success for the future”.

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