Business Isle of Man End of Year Review 2022

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A review by the Business Isle of Man team on the projects, policies and promotions initiated in 2022 and a look at the plans for 2023.


Jump to sector reviews: Built Environment, Cleantech, Construction, Engineering & Manufacturing, Food & Drink Export, Local Economy, Medicinal Cannabis and Small Business & Entrepreneurship


Review of 2022 by Tim Cowsill, Head of Business Isle of Man

Thank you for taking the time to read this update from the Business Agency. As we go into the 5th year since the Agency's inception there have been more challenges for businesses in the Island. The Agency has moved from the Covid-19 pandemic straight into the cost of living crisis. From the perspective of the Agency, businesses have continued to be resilient in the face of these trials.

The sectors under the Agency seem to have been hit hard with these challenges and it feels like the issues around staffing, procurement and costs will continue to be a challenge into the next year. However, even with these issues we have seen growth in the Island with many businesses still scaling up, despite the headwinds.

The relaunch of the Domestic Event Fund and a range of LoveIOM Gift Card incentives re-introduced in November will go some way to support and develop demand for customer facing businesses during quieter times in the build-up for the summer season.

It was great to see the first conditional Medicinal Cannabis licence issued in the Island this year. It is a progressive step in moving this sector forward. It is hoped that we will now be able to push this sector to develop further, to hit the targets set out in the Agency's vision.

With Tynwald’s support of the Economic Strategy, the Agency now has strong policy direction going forward for the economy. The sectors under the Business Agency's remit are those that hold the key to achieving economic diversification, like Food and Drink Production, Cleantech and High Value Precision Engineering.

As we step into 2023 we now have a new Non-Executive Board and Chair in place to set out the Agency's aspirations for the next year. The focus of our strategies will be to keep employment levels stable in key sectors like Engineering and Manufacturing while exploring the potential of emerging sectors like Medicinal Cannabis and Food & Drink production. 

 Tim Cowsill

Tim Cowsill, Head of Business Isle of Man


Looking ahead at 2023 by Steve Pickett, Chair Business Isle of Man Board

What a year it has been having only stepped into the role just before the first Government Economic Strategy Conference in September. Being part of the Business Agency as a Board member since 2018, representing the Logistics Sector, I had some idea of what would be involved in the day to day functioning of the Agency. Working through COVID with the team, meant I saw first-hand what the Agency was involved with and how strongly it represented and supported its sectors.


This remains the case today as we face the cost of living pressures and the ongoing head winds from rising energy costs and a shortage of people to fulfil job vacancies on the Island. These challenges are very likely to continue for the first quarter of next year and our businesses are once again demonstrating their resilience in fighting through these difficult times.


The Agency has mainly focused on being a conduit to Government for many businesses. This will still be a cornerstone of what the Agency does but we are keen to strip back some of the work by aligning ourselves to clear goals going forward.


Having a new Board is a great opportunity to do this and the Board and the Agency officers have a big role to play in the future of our Island's economic success. 


We are excited about the future direction of the Agency as we set out our priorities, key objectives and milestones for next year. Of course supporting our local economy will be at the forefront of those priorities and as well as a focus on making business operations easier in the Island. This involves reviewing what we do from an infrastructure point of view and key to that is setting out a number of strategies for our local economy and export businesses.


Medicinal Cannabis and Cleantech have great potential going forward and we are optimistic that these industries will provide some of the growth required to meet the ambitious growth targets set out in the economic strategy. 


I hope this provides you a flavour of where the Agency is heading over the next 12 months and we will be releasing our plans in more detail at the end of January 2023.


Steve Pickett
Steve Pickett, Chair Business Isle of Man


Review by Sector- Business Isle of Man Team

Built Environment


2022 has been a pivotal year for Built Environment. Business Isle of Man on behalf of the Department for Enterprise, played an intrinsic part in the recent Built Environment Reform Programme, a result of the Chief Minister’s speech in February 2022 Tynwald, where he referred to the current Planning process as ‘sluggish’. 

The resulting programme of works that investigated the planning process, concluded with a raft of recommendations which include upgrades to software and management systems, funding for additional officer, a trial for a Major Applications
process, a Customer Charter and performance dashboard within the Planning and Building Control Directorate. Details of the Built Environment Programme can be accessed here.

The role of Business Isle of Man under the programme will include acting as a statutory consultee for the purposes of assessment and ensuring alignment with the Economic Strategy. 

The Manx Development Corporation, an arm’s length body set up by the Department, established in March 2021, made their first Planning Application for the redevelopment of the former Nurses Home on Westmoreland Road, in Douglas.

The redevelopment of the former Marine Laboratory in Port Erin received full Planning Approval for a development providing exhibition space, retail, apartments and a restaurant with associated parking.  The scheme represents a significant investment in the south of the Island delivering on Government’s high level strategy of redeveloping our brownfield sites. 

In 2023 the focus for the agency will be to formalise the development of a concierge service for planning applications, and to progress work on the Town Centre Regeneration using the Town Centre First Model developed in Scotland. 

Stephen Moore
Stephen Moore, Policy Development Manager




Having seen a 30% real increase of GDP contribution since 2014, the sector is the 7th largest contributor to the Manx Economy.

The construction industry contributes 4% of the Island’s GDP, employs over 2,800 people, making it a hugely important sector for our residents. In addition, the sector is vital to the provision and maintenance of the property and infrastructure required for the Island’s continued economic growth and is one of the oldest sectors of the economy.

Construction Isle of Man (CIOM), a representative body of the Island's Construction Industry is entering the third year of a three year public private co-funding model, which was put in place by Business Isle of Man.

This year has seen CIOM, deliver on key performance indicators including the promotion of careers in construction, provision of training and continued professional development to assist the industry in keeping acquainted with changing legislation and developments in the industry.

CIOM continues to strive to improve Health and Safety and have announced a basic level of Health and Safety awareness training will be mandatory from April 2023, when renewing CIOM Certificate Scheme Cards. CIOM have also played a significant role in ensuring Health and Safety tests are available to industry on island. 

CIOM monitors professional standards using the CIOM Accredited Scheme to drive up standards, a new ‘Renewable Contractor’ category has been created in 2022.

Construction IOM have spearheaded the industry approach to promote skills, being a key partner in delivering the hugely successful annual STEMFest event attended by over 800 year 5 and 6 students.  They also represent Industry at Junior Achievement, careers and graduate fairs. A further part of their engagement with the education of students is continued close working relationship with University College Isle of Man to ensure there are a range of construction courses available to develop skills in the industry.

CIOM are currently advertising for Expressions of Interest for new board members and Business Isle of Man look forward to working closely with the near Board in 2023.

Kirree Gooberman
Kirree Gooberman, Business Development Manager




In 2022 we continued our partnership with Cambridge Cleantech, which is a leading membership organisation that supports companies working to build products and services in response to global sustainability challenges. As part of our commitment to make the most of the opportunities created by the Climate Change Action Plan we held two Energy and Cleantech Forums in 2022. These were attended by 75 plus participants representing companies belonging from Construction, Engineering & Manufacturing, Utilities, Renewables and Digital industries.

Speakers at the Events included the Isle of Man Government's Net Zero Team, KPMG, Energy and Sustainability Centre, Cambridge Cleantech, Manx Utilities and three UK based start-ups: EMSOL, EV Blocks and Seacourt Ltd. In 2023 we will look to hold similar events that allow on Island companies to learn from best practices in the UK, while also showcasing the benefits of doing business in the Island. We will also be attending the Cambridge Cleantech Venture Day on 11th January in London to present the Isle of Man's journey on the path to Net Zero and the opportunities created by the Economic Strategy for investors and start-ups in the Cleantech space.

September 2022 was declared as Sustainable September, and we launched a campaign on our website and social channels. The campaign centered around championing green practices and responsible approaches to renewable energy on our Island. We collected 16 inspiring stories from across the Island's businesses that will now be showcased in the upcoming Cambridge Cleantech newsletters reaching a broad UK and international audience. Read more on Sustainable September.

Kirree Gooberman
Kirree Gooberman, Business Development Manager


Engineering & Manufacturing


We continue to work closely with industry to improve relationships while facilitating and tackling barriers to on-island growth. This year we have worked closely with businesses to enable them to access funding specifically designed to help the sector recover from the ongoing adverse economic effect of Covid-19. This scheme has directly supported the retention of key skilled roles in the Engineering & Manufacturing sector, process improvement consultancy as well as new work packages being brought to the island including product design, Research & Development as well as future technologies.

Business Isle of Man has committed to commission an external review of the E&M sector in 2023, to create a growth strategy and road map for the future of the sector. The review will analyse our current offering, define what best practise looks like and explore possible new products, markets and support mechanisms to increase the quantity and quality of the engineering and manufacturing export activity.

We continue to support the work of the Awareness of Careers in Engineering (ACE) programme, delivering or creating programmes to support teachers to deliver interactive, engaging STEM experiences, with the aim to get students excited and passionate about STEM subjects and careers. The feedback from STEMFest 2022, an event which originated from ACE was excellent and the hope is to deliver this programme again in 2023.

Kirree Gooberman
Kirree Gooberman, Business Development Manager


Food & Drink Export


The Isle of Man has an exceptional Food and Drink scene and many of our producers and food outlets are partnered with Biosphere Isle of Man. This means they have committed to: protect our natural resources, develop our economy in a sustainable way, support and promote our cultural heritage, engage with the local community and make a positive impact on the environment. This strengthens the concept of sustainable food on the Island while incorporating the holistic management of the 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. One of the biggest winner was Isle of Man Goats, which received the highest accolade for its Manx Ash Bloomy goat’s cheese, amongst a phenomenal seven awards. They were also invited to an exclusive Tasting Session in London, organised by the The Guild of Fine Food. A new product in the Drinks sector was introduced with the launch of local gin producer Fynoderee's first Single Malt Whiskey called 'USHTEY BEA FYNODEREE' expected in 2026. 

Food and Drink Export returned to Business Isle of Man's remit in 2022 and as an initial step we initiated dialogue through a series of workshops with exporters to understand the following key issues

1. Perception of Isle of Man's products/brand in international markets

2. Barriers to export

3. Scalability of current export based businesses

4. Potential markets and customers

Our approach to Food and Drink export is to learn from current best practices and to create a strategy in consultation with industry going forwards so that we can find new, profitable and sustainable markets for our award winning produce.

Tim Cowsill
Tim Cowsill, Head of Business Isle of Man


Local Economy


Over the past year, the Island’s domestic economy has faced a number of external challenges. Although many of the direct Covid-19 impacts have decreased, changing consumer spending habits, inflationary cost pressures and issues with staffing have all affected the Island’s hospitality and retail sectors. This year we re-launched a number of initiatives and support routes to help overcome these challenges.

Domestic Events Fund:

  • During early 2022, the successful Domestic Event Fund initiative (designed to support up to 80% of event costs) was enhanced to provide targeted support for events taking place in venues within the hospitality sector. The hospitality extension supported 30 applications with events taking place all over the Island with many hospitality businesses developing weekly event schedules. These events had projected footfall of over 9,180 and in excess of £20,000 of funding support was provided.
  • Looking forward into early 2023 the Domestic Event Fund has been relaunched to again provide targeted support to the Island’s towns and villages and the hospitality sector. It is hoped that this initiative will help boost domestic spending and increase footfall.

Love IOM Gift Card:

  • Since the launch of the LoveIOM Gift Card initiative over 3,700 cards have been sold to individuals and corporate businesses with over £80,000 spent at local hospitality businesses in the local economy.
  • Over 60 local merchants are now signed up to the initiative and there is a wide variety of establishments to spend the card at, around the Island with more added on a regular basis.  
  • As we head into January and February, a typically quieter time within the Island’s hospitality sector, incentives will be launched to continue to drive footfall and spend to these establishments over the weekday’s. This will be achieved through a 25% credit back (up to £50) on consumer spend from Mon-Thurs from Jan-Mar 2023 at participating LoveIOM businesses. 

Love Manx:

  • The Business Isle of Man Board supported the development of a Christmas and Winter Local Spend Campaign under the branding “Love Manx”. This campaign has been running across multiple channels including in print, online, radio, out of home and in-store. The highlight of the campaign is a video showcasing local businesses across the Island that has been recorded on a song created by local artists in 2020. The campaign in a short time period has generated positive engagement, with a single post having received over 250 comments in 4 days. The campaign has reached over 50k through social channels and generated 1800 page views on the website page dedicated to blogs on Local Gifting Ideas.
  • Based on the results from this campaign we will continue to push 'Support Manx' messaging throughout the winter period through our social channels.

Matthew Gardner

Matthew Gardner, Business Development Manager


Small Business & Entrepreneurship


Through regular check-in’s Business Isle of Man keeps up to date with key issues facing small businesses in our economy. 

Business Check-ins

Following on from a successful program of check-ins during 2021 in response to the Covid-19 pandemic it was decided to continue these into 2022 but to focus instead on the ongoing cost of living and inflationary pressures. Feedback generated through check-ins have been used to inform Departmental decisions on the cost of living support. We will be continuing the later in the new year, with a dedicated resource conducting these and taking care of small business stakeholders across all our sectors. 

The overwhelming response to this activity was positive as businesses appreciated the pro-active method of communicating with industry. 

The main themes covered with businesses during the Outreach program are:

  • Staff: This included the difficulties of recruiting staff, the level of training staff required and difficulty of business operation with current staffing demographics & abilities.
  • Cost Pressures: Inflationary pressures and real life examples of costs increases was another important discussion point.
  • Public Demand: Effects of current situation on customer habits, trends identified by business operators and general levels of footfall into businesses.
  • Future Investment: Plans for business future including expansion, diversification or evolution.

Small Business Workshops:

Due to the success of the initial small business workshops which took place in 2021, they were recently relaunched in association with the Isle of Man Chamber of Commerce. The first workshop took place on the 10th November 2022 with a sold out presentation from Kirsty Lawrence on Social Media Marketing. This was followed up by a workshop on the 24th of November on 'Digital Marketing and Content Strategy' by Rhian O'Leary. Participant feedback following both workshops has been overwhelmingly positive with all of them agreeing that in-person workshops were a much better experience and that they hope to attend more workshops in the new year.

With a full range of further workshops planned for the New Year and into 2023 please keep up to date with new announcements via our social media channels and we look forward to seeing you at one of the workshops in the near future!

Thomas Richardson Hall

Thomas Richardson-Hall, Business Development Co-ordinator


Medicinal Cannabis

Med Can

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 license from the Isle of Man. This sector was launched after complex and extensive cross departmental collaboration work between a number of stakeholders carried out from 2018 to date. The Gambling Supervision Commission (‘GSC’) were appointed as the regulator for the sector.

In July 2022, we reached a major milestone when the first conditional licence for export was granted to GrowLab Organics (GLO) to cultivate, extract, manufacture, import and export medicinal cannabis from the Isle of Man. GrowLab Organics, is a British cannabis company founded in 2018, headquartered in the Isle of Man. They will be cultivating and processing cannabis to EU ‘Good Manufacturing Practices’ (GMP) standards, into a suite of their own finished products. The company expects to create more than 50 jobs on the Island within three years.

A transport licence has also been issued to Crown Consultants Limited, that will allow them to provide transport services for Isle of Man licensees to take their product to the ports or move material between their facilities.

In 2023 we hope to hold multiple informational events with the view of creating networking and business development opportunities for companies in this new industry. We expect the Medicinal Cannabis sector to add 250 jobs to the economy in the coming three years.


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