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Dan’s driving on-Island business development

27 March 2017

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I joined the Department of Economic Development (DED) 11 weeks ago and during this time my eyes have been opened to the wide and varying sectors that the department support. I've worked closely with the department’s e-business and e-gaming team over the last four years in my previous role within the private sector. However, crossing over into the world of a Business Development Manager within DED, I now get to see the engine room in full flow.

I've joined the department at what I see as a really exciting time. Over the previous months there has been a restructure to form two teams with very clear strategic objectives. On one hand we have Simon Pickering heading up the on-Island development - of which I fall under, and on the other hand, we have John Garland leading the foreign direct investment team focusing on our off-Island activities.

As the On-Island Business Development Manager my role is predominantly focused on the development of our on-Island financial and professional services industry, to promote the initiatives and grants that are available and to become the point of contact for industry within the department.

As the new On-Island Development team, Simon and I are focused on ensuring that wherever possible we help encourage and assist on-Island businesses to grow. We are getting out on the road and plan to visit more than 350 financial service professionals that make up and support the finance sector on the Isle of Man.

I believe it’s important that we continually liaise with all our industry colleagues to not only discuss the incentives that the department have available but also gain a true understanding of the trends within the sector and get feedback on the support the industry may need. Ultimately my role is to help our on-Island businesses grow organically and to do this we must maintain a strong working relationship with the Island’s business community. The beauty of working in the Isle of Man is that we are never more than 20 minutes away from our business partners and to me this means a full diary on a weekly basis.

One initiative that I believe is a great stimulant for growth is the £50 million Enterprise Development Scheme (EDS), which provides grant, loan and equity investment to new start-ups, existing expanding businesses and businesses wishing to relocate to the Island. Having been introduced to the scheme’s managers, SPARK Impact, it’s encouraging to hear that they are dealing with a healthy number of enquiries from both on and off-Island businesses.

Working in the department I find myself in an enviable position of having access to more than 125 years of financial services and private sector experience. The benefit to me is that there's always someone here to talk over those sometime trickier technical questions we come up against.

To summarise, I'm very much in listening mode right now with a busy diary of industry meetings planned. Over the coming months I am planning a bit of an Isle of Man road trip. I'll be heading out to meet with our industry colleagues based in the North, South, East and West of the Island.

To arrange a meeting or discuss the initiatives available please do not hesitate to email me at dan.walker@gov.im or call me on 07624 336336.

Please also follow me on Twitter @Dan_Walker_DoED

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