ISLEXPO – the Island’s biggest business event – proved a resounding success last week (16th May) as over 1,500 attendees from on and off-Island enjoyed an exceptional programme of content and networking events at the Villa Marina.
ISLEXPO was launched in 2016 by the Department for Enterprise with the core objective of encouraging businesses to start or expand in the Isle of Man. The 2018 event provided a successful culmination to the ‘Start, Grow, Locate’ series, with the theme Locate and a celebration of the Isle of Man as an attractive business destination to live and work taking centre stage.
Laurence Skelly MHK, Minister for Enterprise, commented:
‘In 2016 we launched ISLEXPO with the theme of ‘starting’ a business. Since then the Department for Enterprise has provided active support to over 150 businesses that have started here in the Isle of Man. Last year we focussed on ‘growing’ your business. In the 12 months since then the Department has helped over 300 businesses grow and achieve their potential in the Isle of Man.
‘This year we celebrated the Isle of Man as a world-class ‘location’ for business and for people, looking at ways the Island’s unique attributes give us an exceptional quality of life and a culture of ambition and passion.
‘In the Isle of Man unemployment is down and the number of workers is up, with around 1,400 more people in work today than when ISLEXPO started 2 years ago. Since then the Department has helped over 200 skilled workers locate to our Island through a targeted support programme of relocation incentives to fuel the success of our local businesses.
‘We have committed a further £2 million to help employers relocate staff and introduced further financial support for new start-ups, showing the Department’s commitment to nurturing an ecosystem of entrepreneurialism and driving success for our Island’s people and businesses.’
ISLEXPO 2018 started with a choice of breakfast networking events for attendees followed by an inspirational opening keynote from Dan Germain, Head of Brand and Creative for the pioneering drinks company Innocent.
A full programme of practical information-based sessions and panels followed including popular social media and recruitment workshops for businesses of any size. The newest addition to the programme focussed on local and locating businesses that have received Government assistance. The sessions proved extremely popular and were testament to the entrepreneurial spirit and attraction of the Island. To support this further, the live pitching contest which was open to the public this year generated huge interest and formed a clear highlight of the programme.
ISLEXPO 2018 saw a full line-up of private sector sponsors and partners including a headline sponsor, the innovative gaming platform Annexio. There was growing support from the Island’s business community with this year’s event attracting even greater interest from the Island’s increasing number of gaming and cryptocurrency organisations, including the rapidly expanding bitcoin specialist CoinCorner.
Co-founder of CoinCorner Phil Collins said:
‘ISLEXPO 2018 was a great opportunity for CoinCorner to show our support for the Island’s up-and-coming entrepreneurs as the start-up story is something that we can relate to. Having grown from a start-up to a global business, CoinCorner is leading the way for the Island’s cryptocurrency sector. It was a great day and we hope to work with the ISLEXPO team again in the future!
The events of the day rounded-off in an inclusive and lively celebration in the Gardens. A mix of attendees – including teams from corporate organisations, start-ups and entrepreneurs, visiting off-Island delegates, government representatives and students – enjoyed a line-up of talks in the tipis, live performances from local musicians, and artisan food and drink.
ISLEXPO organiser Sam Jones from local events and marketing agency Revel commented:
‘The closing programme in the gardens provided a vibrant end to an eclectic yet accessible business event. It’s nothing short of inspirational to see such a varied mix of people meeting with clients and colleagues, or making new connections in an uplifting atmosphere. It was clear that ISLEXPO 2018 closed with an overwhelming sense of the Island as an inviting, wholesome and energetic place to start or grow a business.’