Strengthening Cybersecurity for Malta’s SMEs: MITA Introduces the CYBER+ALT (Agħżel Li Tipproteġi) Initiative

In an era of global digital transformation, Malta’s small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are primed to capitalise on the opportunities that await them. MITA through the National Cybersecurity Coordination Centre’s latest initiative launched the CYBER+ALT ‘Agħżel Li Tipproteġi’ Grant Scheme. Designed to empower SMEs, this initiative aims to strengthen their cybersecurity measures, equipping them to navigate the evolving cyber landscape with confidence.

Unveiled during a launch event held at MITA’s Data Centre in St. Venera on June 5th, this initiative serves as a testament to Malta’s steadfast dedication to nurturing a thriving digital ecosystem. By extending financial assistance and guidance, the scheme empowers SMEs to fortify their defences against cyber threats, further reinforcing Malta’s commitment to fostering a resilient and secure business environment.

With the recognition that digital services have become a vital component for businesses, Minister for the Economy, EU Funds, and Lands, Silvio Schembri, emphasises the undeniable importance of cybersecurity. He compared the oversight of cybersecurity in online operations to leaving a physical store unlocked before heading home. 

Against the backdrop of cybercrime raking in approximately €3M in 2020, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) frequently find themselves unaware of such threats or struggling to finance the necessary measures. Highlighting the significance of safeguarding data in our data-driven economy, the Parliamentary Secretary for EU Funds, Chris Bonett, and the CEO of MITA, Emmanuel Darmanin, reiterated the importance of protecting against data theft and misuse. 

Drawing inspiration from the “Alt” key  on our keyboards, this innovative initiative is designed to fortify locally established SMEs. With the aim of promoting inclusivity, the scheme extends eligibility to all SMEs, enabling them to apply and avail 80% of the scheme’s financial aid, up to a maximum of €60,000 per project. 

To qualify for the aid intensity, projects must have a total value of €20,000 or higher, ensuring a substantial commitment from the SMEs. Importantly, the aid intensity does not exceed 80%, emphasizing the importance of SME ownership in driving the implementation of cybersecurity measures. 

Moreover, to ensure comprehensive cybersecurity measures, all projects within the scheme must adopt security practices that encompass at least one of the five designated investment areas. These areas consist of vulnerability management, threat detection and response, enhanced cloud-based platform security, end-to-end data protection, and identity and access management. 

The financial aid encompasses a wide range of expenses, including cybersecurity software solutions; hardware procurement; subscription, license fees, and managed services; as well as internal training and implementation costs. By addressing these critical aspects, the scheme equips SMEs with the necessary resources to bolster their cybersecurity defences effectively.

With a €2M budget, this scheme receives half of its funding from Malta’s national funds and the remaining portion from the EU under the Digital Europe Programme (DEP). Upon approval, successful projects will receive 20% of the grant as pre-financing to facilitate the implementation of their cybersecurity solutions. 

The SMEs will then be reimbursed with the remaining 80% upon completion of the project. It is essential to note that all projects must be finalized by September 30th, 2024, and should only commence after the granting of the aid. This timeline ensures efficient execution and adherence to project milestones within the designated timeframe.

This scheme marks a significant stride towards bolstering the security of SMEs nationwide while laying the foundation for a national cybersecurity community. By fostering this community, the scheme aims to create a sustainable ecosystem that will continue to receive EU funding, further fortifying the overall security of these companies. 

To take advantage of this opportunity, SMEs can easily find full information  by visiting the website at It is essential to review all the call documents provided before proceeding to fill in the application form. A project selection committee will assess the applications, ensuring that projects score 50% or higher to be eligible for funding. 

Upon selection, a grant agreement will be signed between MITA and the beneficiary, marking a significant milestone. The subsequent project management tasks will be efficiently handled by the NCC Funding Management Portal, streamlining the process for SMEs and allowing them to focus on the implementation of their cybersecurity projects. 

Applications are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis until December 29th, 2023 or an earlier date depending on the absorption of funds. It’s also important to take note of the following cut-off dates: July 20, 2023; September 14, 2023; November 9, 2023; and December 29, 2023. 

Ready to elevate your cybersecurity to new heights? Don’t miss out on this opportunity. Take the first step by applying through this link (  and seize the chance to secure funding for your cybersecurity project.

An online live information session specifically on this scheme will be held on Friday, 7th July 2023 between 10:00 and 11:00, which will allow interested applicants to follow a thorough explanation of the scheme, as well as ask questions. Session link will be made available on the dedicate website page and NCC social media (Facebook:, LinkedIn: The NCC-MT is collaborating with Servizzi Ewropej f’Malta (SEM) in this respect and any queries on the application form are to be addressed to [email protected].’

This article is co-funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or the European Cybersecurity Competence Centre. Neither the European Union nor the European Cybersecurity Competence Centre can be held responsible for them.