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How time flies!

01 May 2017

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We often hear people expressing their surprise at how quickly time has passed, whether it's the weekend or a decade that has elapsed without them realising it. The same goes for me for the start of 2017...is it really May already?

I'm four months in to my role within the Department and the feeling of being the new boy is certainly a far and distant memory. Naturally the first few weeks in any new job consist of the usual formalities however there were a few curve balls thrown in for good measure. A ‘photo shoot’ on Douglas Head on a rather cold January morning, for example - the results of which were on the recent copy of Portfolio magazine (signed copies are available on request!). The article was titled ‘A new way forward’ and this is exactly how I feel my role is shaping up. The focus of the role is supporting our on-island financial and professional services industry however it has proven to go a lot deeper and be further reaching than any one single sector.

Over the last four months I've met with over 70 businesses across a range of sectors. More recently I hosted an on-island visit from a business based in the North West of England which has developed an educational programme aimed at teaching children through play. On the whole, the feedback that I have received from on-island businesses has been positive however there is still more that I can do to raise the profile of the great work that we as a Department are doing. The Enterprise Development Scheme (EDS) is a great talking point with businesses. Minister Skelly recently announced the first deals have been done and the EDS is now well on the way to supporting the creation of additional jobs over the next five years.

As I mentioned in my last blog, ‘Dan's driving on-island business development’, I've been out on the road visiting businesses Island-wide. Whilst the concentration of businesses may be based in the capital it’s refreshing to get on the road and meet businesses in the north, south and west. It’s great to see that we have businesses supporting and making investment into the towns and villages across the Island.

And so time continues to fly with the next big event on the horizon. On the 24th and 25th May, the Department will be staging ISLEXPO 2017. I attended the event last year as a delegate and was delighted to see the level of support that the event received from the private sector along with a healthy presence of off-island delegates. This time around, the shoe is on the other foot and I've been working closely with our marketing and events partners to assist in encouraging businesses near and far to register their attendance.

This year’s focus is on growth and we recently announced a packed event programme, which includes (back by popular demand) entrepreneur and visionary Jim Mellon as a key note speaker. I'm really looking forward to being there as a member of the Department as this gives me a platform to meet with a wide and varying range of businesses to discuss and promote the support available from the Department.

Finally, one other initiative that I have become involved with is the STEP programme. The programme offers local undergraduates in their penultimate year the opportunity to complete an eight- to 12-week project within Island-based businesses, organisations including the third sector and Government Departments/Divisions. Sponsored by Standard Bank (Isle of Man) Limited, the 2016 STEP Programme saw 29 students complete a range of projects across a number of the Island’s sectors including creative, manufacturing, marketing and quality assurance. A great example of public/private sector partnership, it offers the opportunity to add additional resource to a project within your organisation. We have interviewed over 50 students for this year’s programme and are inviting potential hosts to get in contact to discuss the benefits to their organisation.

So to finish, time really does fly. ISLEXPO is 24th and 25th May, applications for STEP hosts close 30th June, TT is only a matter of weeks away and my time continues to fill with meetings, presentations and events all aimed at supporting business growth here on the Island.

As always, please feel free to get in contact on +44 (0)7624 336336 or email me at dan.walker@gov.im

Follow me on Twitter for informative and occasionally amusing tweets @Dan_Walker_DoED

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