Expanding high-tech research globally
AquaBioTech Group is Maltese company pioneering an integrated approach for sustainable and healthy freshwater aquaculture. With 20 years of experience in the field, AquaBioTech Group is commercialising its high-tech research in more than 50 countries and developing on-site large-scale projects across the globe. We talked to the CEO, Shane Hunter, about the company’s internationalisation strategy, its remarkable industrial and scientific achievements and their plans for the future.
1. You have expanded across the globe. Which market was the hardest to crack and where are you headed for next?
The AquaBioTech Group is present in most major aquaculture markets globally. Over the past twenty years we have delivered projects and services in more than 57 countries. In 2018, our company was nominated as the national winner for Malta at the European Business Awards for its successful track-record in doing business internationally.
Perhaps the most challenging market for us to crack so far has been the United Arab Emirates (UAE). It took years and a lot of effort to establish ourselves, as the aquaculture market there was in its very early stages. Today, we are a recognised brand in the UAE and we are proud to be delivering the largest aquaculture infrastructure project in the region that will be a catalyst for future developments in the sector and a great legacy for our company. In 2017, we received the Middle East Aquaculture Innovation Award for our work on this project.
We are continuously expanding in new and emerging markets. Some of our most recent ventures include China, Mexico, Kenya and Uganda. We are currently conducting new business development activities in over 15 other markets.
2. How do you see the research side of your business developing in the coming years?
Research collaboration, technological innovation and the commercialisation of marine technologies are an integral part of our business model. We have invested heavily in developing the research arm of the company called ABT Innovia. This is one of the largest independent aquatic research and marine technology development centres, primarily serving the global aquaculture industry.
One of our biggest achievements so far is our state-of-the-art Recirculating Aquaculture Systems (RAS) technology. In addition, through our participation in a number of EU collaborative research projects (FP6, FP7, H2020), we have played a role in several other remarkable industrial and scientific achievements.
Going forward, we plan to invest further in research and expand our capabilities in a number of targeted areas:
- marine biotechnology product development
- GLP certified ecotoxicology services
- offshore aquaculture and monitoring technology testing
- Internet of Underwater Things (IoUT)
- data mining
- bioanalytics software
3. You took part in the EU's Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs programme. Did it contribute to your success?
The AquaBioTech Group joined the Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs (EYE) programme as a host entrepreneur in 2012. The programme is a great tool for entrepreneurs to meet and work together.
As a host it was hugely beneficial to have a fresh pair of eyes look at the company and provide a different vision of how things could be done. This approach matches our own innovation management culture where we encourage and empower our staff to improve processes and performances, innovate and develop themselves within the organisation.
The programme has even boosted our recruitment! Back in 2013 we hosted an entrepreneur from Greece through the EYE Programme who today is our Business Development Director.
AquaBioTech Group has worked with the Enterprise Europe Network partners Malta Enterprise and the Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry, in Malta.
Are you looking for support to innovate and grow internationally? Get in touch with your local Enterprise Europe Network contact point.