Business Connect Magazine have packed their bags and ventured across the Irish Sea to take a look at the Isle of Man business community. The Isle of Man chapter of the British and Irish Trading Alliance (BITA) are celebrating with a fantastic 3 day event, inviting businesses from the UK and Ireland to network with Manx businesses and look for ongoing synergy and opportunities for trade at a series of showcase events.
Manx business organisations have welcomed the opportunity to showcase the Island’s business community, with support from the Isle of Man Government’s Department for Enterprise, the Isle of Man Chamber of Commerce and the Isle of Man Business Network. In this feature we’re looking at the work these organisations are doing, and how we can better create opportunities for businesses on all sides of the Irish Sea.
The Isle of Man (also known as Mann) is a separate self-governing Island nation which is a British Crown Dependency with the British Queen as head of state. The Lieutenant Governor acts as the Queen’s representative and the UK is responsible for the Island’s military defence. The population is approximately 85,000, and the biggest town is Douglas on the East coast.
Throughout the Island’s long history, it has always retained it’s internal governance. The Manx parliament is called Tynwald, and is widely believed to have been in continuous existence for well over 1,000 years.
Even though the Isle of Man is not part of the UK, residents are entitled to British citizenship, and can use a full UK British passport or British Isle of Man passport.
The Island is a low tax economy with no capital gains tax, stamp duty, or inheritance tax. The standard rate of corporation tax is 0% for business profits below £500,000. The currency is the Manx pound, which is in parity to sterling, and although sterling can be used on the Island, the Manx currency can’t be used in the UK. The Isle of Man is treated as part of the UK for VAT purposes. This means that goods sent from the UK to the Isle of Man are not treated as exports, and so VAT must be charged at the usual UK VAT rate.
BITA Isle of Man Chapter
The rain lashed the runway, propelled by a brisk force 5 wind causing the businessman leaving the plane to clutch his laptop bag to his chest and run for cover. Once inside the terminal building at the airport he is greeted by the usual array of notices held by taxi drivers with names of the arrivals printed on them. Having managed to source his own taxi driver, he is taken out of the airport past the palm trees and the strange sculpture of rather thin spindly legs that adorns the gardens and into the waiting taxi. Wishing to be friendly he asks the driver “Can you see Southampton from here?“
A true story, and for those readers who maybe do not quite understand the difference of the Isle of Wight and the Isle of Man a quick resume.
The Isle of Man is situated equidistant from England, Ireland and Scotland in the middle of the Irish sea. Population of approximately 85 thousand people living on 572 square km with the largest sectors of GDP coming from insurance and e-gaming followed by ICT and banking as well as manufacturing, crypto currency, laser optics, industrial diamonds, electronics, plastics and aerospace, precision engineering, construction, retail, hospitality – the business world is as varied as the Island itself!
Networking is important on the Island, and is easy to achieve. BITAIOM works with the Department for Enterprise, the Chamber of Commerce and the IOM Business Network. Doors are opened to the professionals and businesses on the Island so that they can expand and not just take advantage of the opportunities that are available internationally, but also assist businesses from off Island to look at the Island and its possibilities. Times change, and we all face the various problems arising from the pandemic as well as international economic changes, and now more than ever organisations such as BITA start to have a real role to play.
A small Island with big opportunities
A skilled workforce, approachable Government and supportive commercial environment make the Isle of Man an attractive place for businesses. From global players to growing start-ups, the Island’s business ecosystem is made up of those at all stages of their journey who have chosen the Island as their home. Here is an overview of just a few of the buzzing business sectors which make up the Isle of Man’s economy.
Digital and Technology
The Isle of Man operates a well-established eGaming sector which has experienced dynamic growth in the last decade following the early 2000s when big players in the sector arrived in the Isle of Man. The growth of the eGaming sector acted as a platform to show how the Island can be a first-mover in regards to regulation of new and emerging technology sectors. Today, we are home to a thriving cluster of digital businesses and emerging industries, from Internet of Things, to Blockchain and esports. These sectors have ambitious prospects for growth, and with ever evolving expansion, comes ever evolving opportunity.
Financial and Professional Services
The Isle of Man has a long heritage in the financial services sector and remains a strong centre for the industry to this day. Renowned for quality, the Island’s financial and professional services landscape includes banking, insurance, fiduciaries, fund and wealth management, and pensions. With decades of experience and international recognition, today the Island’s finance sector continues to thrive and is welcoming new and innovative industries, including InsurTech and an enhanced Employee Benefits proposition. This, combined with extensive global knowledge, makes the Isle of Man an attractive base for these businesses to call home.
One of the Isle of Man’s newest emerging industries is the Medicinal Cannabis sector. In 2021 the Isle of Man Government introduced a flexible and detailed regulatory framework to allow commercial operators to grow, manufacture, distribute and export cannabis products under licence from the Isle of Man. A new, modern licensing regime, and positive history of regulating new growth industries, means the Isle of Man is well-placed to welcome businesses in this sector which indicates huge potential for the Island’s future.
Engineering and Manufacturing
The Isle of Man’s experienced engineering and manufacturing sector spans a broad range of markets including; energy, aerospace, automotive, telecommunications, medical, pharmaceuticals and consumer products. With a highly skilled local workforce and reputation for its ‘one stop shop capability’, this sector continues to prosper with well-connected supply chains both in the UK and further afield. Today, the Island’s engineering and manufacturing sector is proud to be partners with virtually every major civil and military aerospace project in the world, a testament to its ability to operate on a global scale.
Recently, there has been a heightened global interest in the environmental agenda. In response to this, the Isle of Man Government has set ambitious targets as part of its Climate Change Action Plan. Innovations and new technologies will be key to delivering these targets, meaning that the CleanTech sector is a natural topic of conversation in this space. Today, there are many opportunities for businesses and skilled workers in this sector to capitalise on this global movement. Enhancing the Island’s ability to generate renewable energy, providing energy storage facilities, improving heating and energy efficiency in buildings and introducing low carbon vehicles are just a few of the key opportunities which will be emerging in this market in the near future.
One of the oldest sectors of the Island’s economy, the Construction sector is vital to the provision and maintenance of the property infrastructure required for the Island’s continued economic growth. Today, Construction Isle of Man, a public-private partnership launched in 2020, aims to build cohesion for the sector and stakeholders, formulate a comprehensive industry standard and grow a sustainable sector to meet the Isle of Man’s needs both now and in the future.
Tourism has been a significant element of the Isle of Man’s economy for over a century. Home to unique landscapes, a distinct cultural identity and rich heritage, the Island’s appeal as a popular holiday destination is enduring and evolving. Effective destination management relies on a number of stakeholders working collaboratively to achieve the same goal and product and event innovation is essential in meeting the changing needs of visitors.
Today, there is an abundance of opportunity for service and product developments in line with the interests of current and emerging visitor markets. The Isle of Man’s vibrant business ecosystem is unlimited in its ability to welcome new and established businesses and industries to form part of the community. The Isle of Man Department for Enterprise’s Executive Agencies have been established to support businesses in the Isle of Man and those considering relocating their enterprise. Collectively, these functions work hand in hand with the private sector, growing real businesses, generating real jobs and real opportunities for the Island.
To find out more about the business environment in the Isle of Man, visit: www.dfe.im
The future of trade with the Isle of Man Chamber of Commerce
The Isle of Man Chamber of Commerce is a dynamic, high profile business network of members representing all key sectors of the economy. For more than 65 years, Chamber has been the Island’s leading advocate and champion for business with a focus on creating a climate of growth and success in our community. The Chamber of Commerce provides leadership, networking opportunities and business-building initiatives that focus on the critical priorities of our business community. By leveraging the support, talent and resources of our members, Chamber is one of the leading organisations helping improve economic vitality and quality of life for everyone.
British Chambers of Commerce – the Future of Trade
We are delighted to announce that, Ann-Marie Martin, Director of Global Business Networks for the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) will be visiting the Island for the first time to present to Chamber members and the BITA network.
In January this year the British Chambers of Commerce released a trade manifesto to recruit legions of new UK exporters as its research continues to show poor overseas trade growth. The Manifesto sets out a comprehensive list of steps to get more UK businesses, currently just 10%, involved in international trade. In her presentation, Ann-Marie, will discuss the BCC research which highlights the challenges exporters are facing and steps that the UK Government could take to help businesses trade with the EU.
Join us on Thursday 5 May, 9-11am at the Claremont Hotel for this insightful and valuable presentation.
British Chambers of Commerce – The Future of Trade – in partnership with BITA.