In the challenging current business climate, CEOs and entrepreneurs alike might be forgiven for looking for the perfect commercial jurisdiction – and the Isle of Man comes pretty close to being just that. A self-governing British Crown Dependency, the island offers a diverse range of leading-edge services tailored to the modern global economy. It has departments on hand to help ease companies into the latest technologies, as well as providing services to support new and relocating businesses.
The European caught up with Howard Quayle, Chief Minister of the Isle of Man to expand on why the island is so appealing to the global businesses.
Please describe the business philosophy of the Isle of Man
Howard Quayle: The Isle of Man’s business philosophy has evolved over the years in response to and anticipation of international matters and the changing trends and markets of our global economy. Our current philosophy is diversification and innovation. We are striving to create a business ecosystem that supports a broad range of sectors and companies, while maintaining our reputation at the forefront of innovation and emerging technologies.
Government has a key role to play in enabling business by developing and driving strategy and policy to best support our businesses to achieve their ambitions. We take an active and personal role in supporting our businesses, working in a collaborative way, right the way across our diverse range of sectors.
How is the Isle of Man embracing digital technology and areas such as blockchain?
HQ: The island has a long history as an international respected “digital hub” for businesses operating in sectors such as eGaming and ICT and, more recently, fintech and enterprises utilising emerging technologies such as blockchain and Internet of Things (IoT). Last year, Digital Isle of Man, an Executive Agency of the Department for Enterprise, was created to support the island’s digital sectors by developing and implementing a strategy for sustainable economic growth. The Isle of Man released a national telecommunications strategy, outlining how we will continue to provide world-class infrastructure which is an essential business need.
Earlier this year, Blockchain Isle of Man was launched. This is an important initiative which supports and guides businesses who use blockchain technology through their business and regulatory stages. The initiative has been a great success, with a number of businesses already having been accepted and building their business here in the Isle of Man. Lyle Wraxall, Chief Executive of Digital Isle of Man expands more on the initiative in these pages.
How does the professional services infrastructure on the island help business?
HQ: There is a real ease to doing business in the Isle of Man, which I would put down to the island’s strong physical infrastructure and experienced global mindset. From a public sector point of view, the fact that we are an independent nation allows us the autonomy to develop legislation and policy quickly and in response to business needs. We are able to make things happen quickly and take a bespoke approach that other jurisdictions may not be able to provide.
Thanks to our long-established financial services sector we have a comprehensive infrastructure of private service providers and professional services that are able to assist with establishing new or relocating existing businesses to the island. A collaborative approach means it is possible to be in the heart of our financial district within a couple of hours of being in central London, be introduced to a number of professionals and be well on your way to relocating your business in a matter of hours. The island’s service providers are well connected and understand that there is no one size fits all solution in business.
What plans do you have to improve competitiveness going forward?
HQ: Remaining competitive means ensuring we maintain our reputation for following global standards as an open and transparent jurisdiction while actively engaging with our international responsibilities.
With the advancement of technology, the world is becoming a smaller place and access to new people, products, and markets is improving by the day. The Isle of Man is extremely well connected to the world, with our digital infrastructure, legislative programme, and experienced service providers all built towards an outward looking and progressive global business environment. It is this holistic offering that makes us the natural choice for international businesses, and has seen us maintain our growth and success over a number of years.
At a more granular level, we are improving our competitiveness through developing new products and exploring new ways to support business and encourage innovation, such as providing regulatory testing environments for “tech trials” which has more recently included looking at areas such as air pollution testing using the Internet of Things and autonomous vehicles.
What is your message to those firms considering relocating to the Isle of Man?
HQ: Our message is undoubtedly that we are open for business and welcoming of anyone who is looking to take an active part within our economy. We feel confident that by choosing the Isle of Man as your base, you will be well placed to grow faster, and in a more streamlined way.