Zaar will finish 2021 by bidding a warm farewell to Matthew Caruana, the online crowdfunding platform’s Manager for the past six years.

As Mr Caruana departs for new challenges, Zaar will continue its success story in the new year with current projects manager Giselle Borg Olivier at the helm.

Mr Caruana joined Zaar after its launch by the Foundation for the Promotion of Entrepreneurial Initiatives (FPEI) as a reward-based crowdfunding platform to promote entrepreneurship in Malta and support local start-ups. Over the following six years, he helped build Zaar’s reputation and brand to where it is today: a highly regarded and successful online alternative finance resource used by entrepreneurs, causes and industries both in Malta and globally.

“To leave Zaar is bitter-sweet – I was very happy at Zaar and feel that it contributes greatly to the community, but a change at the helm is good after a few years, both for me and to instil new energy and ideas into the company,” says Mr Caruana. “Being able to help over 150 projects is very satisfying, and some of the campaigns were very close to my heart. That we managed to help people kick-start their project or sustain their ideas will always be a fond memory.”

Mr Caruana’s achievements at Zaar also include serving as a mentor for budding entrepreneurs and, on an international level, Zaar’s appointment to the non-Executive Board of the European Crowdfunding Network. “This was another major accolade, coming from the smallest state in Europe and from a country with no investment-based crowdfunding platforms,” he adds.

As Zaar’s new Manager from January 2022, Giselle Borg Olivier plans to build on Mr Caruana’s successes to continue the upward trajectory for Malta’s only crowdfunding platform.

Here, she brings to the table over 15 years of experience in marketing communications, and business and strategy knowledge from a newly acquired MBA. Following nine years with another foundation within the financial services industry, Ms Borg Olivier joined FPEI in early 2021 and has been learning the crowdfunding and entrepreneurial ropes ever since.

“I feel excited to take on this new challenge, eager to contribute towards the continued growth and expansion of Zaar and grateful to be leading a thriving foundation with great potential. Matthew was instrumental in Zaar’s success, and I look forward to carrying on the work as well as implementing new ideas,” says Ms Borg Olivier, sharing her exciting plans for Zaar’s future. “Crowdfunding is a contemporary industry that has plenty of room for growth, especially with the latest EU legislation on the finance-based models. Promoting the many benefits of reward-based crowdfunding will remain a primary focus of Zaar, but now is the time to also explore expansion into the equity and lending-based side of crowdfunding, as well as develop the offerings by FPEI. It’s an exciting time for the entrepreneurial sector and I look forward to playing a role in it.”

While Zaar continues its bespoke service to each client throughout their campaign, another major change is set for the foundation behind it, FPEI. Prof Alfred Vella, the University of Malta’s Rector, will complete his pre-agreed term as FPEI Chairman, and Malta Business Bureau CEO Joe Tanti will take on the position for the coming term.

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