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IOM Government Praises Economy

by Amanda Banks,, London

12 April 2010

The Manx economy enjoyed a particularly strong performance in 2009, according to the Isle of Man's Minister for Trade and Industry, David Cretney.

On April 1 the Department of Trade and Industry became the new Department of Economic Development. Reflecting on the Department’s tenure, as the body in charge of the economy, employment prospects and diversification, Cretney has summarized developments under its leadership.

The DTI has broken down progress on a sector-by-sector basis:

The manufacturing sector remains the second largest wealth-creating sector after banking in terms of employment. It has grown over the last 5 years far faster than the economy as a whole (over 40% compared to less than 29% in real terms), generating over 200 jobs over that period. The Island is home to a wide range of innovative high-tech manufacturers which have been involved with high-profile global projects such as the manufacture of the Airbus A380 aircraft as well as the NASA Phoenix Mars Lander.

In e-gaming, the Isle of Man is now recognized as one of the world’s most dynamic and reputable jurisdictions. The ongoing success of existing companies in the sector has also helped to encourage a growing number of e-gaming businesses and software development companies to operate from the Isle of Man. This has resulted in the creation of well over 100 jobs in e-gaming locally in the last year alone, bringing the total number employed to around 550 people. The DTI has led business development activities to promote the Island worldwide, bringing in new investors such that the number of e-gaming licence holders has doubled in the last year to over 20.

Film production in the island has gone from strength to strength also. Overall, Isle of Man Film has been involved with the co-production and co-financing of over 90 films, television dramas and animation projects since 1995. With 2009 being a very difficult year globally for the film sector, the DTI supported three productions during the year and there are encouraging signs for future projects within the Island’s film sector in 2010 and beyond.

The DTI has also dedicated further resources to companies in the retail sector during a challenging time for the sector. An internet shopping scheme was introduced last September to help local independent retailers and this has proven popular with over 100 firms becoming involved to date. Research of those participating in the scheme has shown generation of at least GBP250,000 of additional sales to date through direct online sales and increased footfall conversions for the retailers who have been helped to build an online shop through the scheme.

Commenting Minister for Trade and Industry, David Cretney, stated:

“The DTI, working closely with colleagues in government as well as the private sector, has shown we can develop valuable new sectors which benefit the island as a whole. As a result, the island’s economy is stronger and more diverse now than at any other time. If DTI had not helped to attract the e-gaming, shipping, aircraft, manufacturing and other business that the island has won in recent years which collectively have created about a thousand jobs locally, then the level of unemployment would be at least double the level it is today.”

The DTI has helped in other ways as well, he noted. “Individuals have been helped to establish new business start-ups through both a new business incubator as well as the DTI’s proven Small Business Start Up Scheme (SBSUS). Over the last year or so, a number of workers who have been made redundant have taken the opportunity to set up their own business. Such new entrepreneurs play a key role in generating new jobs in the future. In recent years DTI has supported around 35 such new start-ups each year through SBSUS, which provides training, support and some funding to help new businesses get off to the best possible start. DTI is delighted to confirm that it has been able to double its support over the last year to around 70 businesses, providing valuable help at this challenging time within its existing budget.”

“The administration and enforcement of work permits has also been substantially improved. Investment in new IT systems means that applications are being processed faster: over 75% are processed in 10 working days or less, far faster than those in comparable jurisdictions."

TAGS: Isle of Man | business | commerce | offshore e-commerce | offshore | e-commerce | manufacturing

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