Business Isle of Man Review by Tim Cowsill

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Since the Department for Enterprise adopted the agency model in 2018, Business Isle of Man has developed and supported businesses operating in the export and domestic economy. In his review, Tim Cowsill, Head of Business Isle of Man, reflects on the achievements, challenges and future of the business agency and how it will contribute in creating a vibrant, sustainable and secure Island as envisioned in the Island Plan.

What makes Business Isle of Man unique is our vast remit of responsibility across a range of sectors, some of which cater to the local economy like construction and retail, whilst others are export oriented, be it food and drink or precision parts for aerospace industry. We also support initiatives focused on reviving consumer footfall and the development of our towns across the Island through town branding, Love IOM gift cards, and domestic event funds. Alongside this we have also developed policy framework to support the Medicinal Cannabis sector on Island.

Our role as supporters of the domestic economy made us pivot from our usual operations in 2020 as we urgently stepped in to support our businesses affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. As a conduit between businesses and government, we relayed the impacts of the pandemic to our policy makers. The effects of the pandemic and the current outlook of the world economy has made it clear that the way forward for us is to focus on diversifying the Manx economy. The draft Economic Strategy lays out diversification as a key pillar in our economic make up with the Business agency as the delivery partner for creating a green economy. This, along with our target of achieving 250 new jobs through the growth of Medicinal Cannabis sector and the multiplier effect on ancillary industries, will be a driver of growth for the economy.

This year we achieved a milestone in Medicinal Cannabis with the granting of the first provisional licence for export by the regulator. We have come a long way from when we first proposed the idea, based on a recommendation from our previous board, to developing our offering working across different departments of the government to create a robust, pragmatic and quality driven proposition.

Whilst we explore new sectors, we will continue to consolidate and grow our existing sectors. The Isle of Man may be known for the TT races and being an International Financial Centre, but another of our biggest strengths are our Engineering & Manufacturing and Food & Drink sectors. We are home to a global leader in the manufacture of kettle and temperature management goods and products from our aerospace cluster have travelled to Mars with NASA! Our Food & Drink sector benefits from strong provenance enhanced by our status as the only entire nation designated as a UNESCO biosphere. Our farming community's commitment to upholding our UNESCO biosphere status means the products produced here are of excellent quality, as reflected in a number of our producers winning a total of 19 star ratings from the Great Taste Awards in 2022 alone. These industries along with the regeneration of our towns based on Scotland’s Town Centre First model, will be the focus of our efforts in the coming months to create a sustainable, diverse and resilient economy.

The Business Agency is sitting at an exciting juncture, and, with the arrival of Steve Pickett as our new Chair, we are seeking members of the business community to join our Non-Executive Board, to help set a strategic direction and plan to achieve our vision for the Manx economy.

Being a board member involves being a representative of the business sector and developing policies and initiatives that ultimately support the economy. It also involves being a sounding board for ideas that come to the agency. We are seeking a diverse board that is not limited to the sectors the agency represents but also includes individuals with ideas that can be a catalyst for future investment in the Island.

Business Isle of Man is seeking new Non-Executive Board Members with a background in a commercial business environment having achieved success, possibly as a business owner or senior manager and/or board member. This is a non-remunerated post and provides a unique opportunity to be an integral part of shaping the current and future direction of the Business Agency and supporting the continued growth, diversification and success of the Isle of Man's export and domestic economies. 

Business Isle of Man concluded recruitment for new Non-Exec Board Members by 9th September 2022.




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