The Isle of Man (IoM) has never been a stranger to setting the pace, attracting the best, and laying down a marker for embracing the bold. I grew up watching the TT and was in awe at the racers and the audacity with which bold and ambitious pioneers would break record after record in their pursuit to be the best…and what always struck me was how truly awesome the IoM community must be to support such pioneering spirit – with full support from across the community to ensure everyone around benefitted, that everyone was safe, and that everyone was supported in whatever time they put down.
Fast forward 30yrs and the TT is still all that…but now the IoM has another bold and fearless ambition, and that is to be the best place to come to develop innovation and leverage new technology in the pursuit of developing and pioneering new financial services products and services..aka FinTech.
I have had the pleasure in working across technology ecosystems in UK, Europe and the Middle East and what I see in the IoM is all the hallmarks to be successful in scaling and growing the FinTech sector to be amongst the best in the world – and to be clear, this is a rare and wonderful position to be in. Here are just a few reasons to be excited about IoM being the place for FinTech to thrive.
- The richness and diversity of the Financial Services sector on the island has to be some of the most concentrated in the world. That, coupled with the Island's growing Digital sector, raises the question as to what better place is there to test, build and scale a growing FinTech business?
- The few degrees of separation. This is one of the most important components to successfully growing in this sector, knowing who to speak to, where to find mentors, who to pitch to, and where and how to access support. Lets face it, you’re on an island…everyone knows everyone and wants to help.
- The conducive government and regulatory support. The range of support available and the ease in which it can be accessed is a huge benefit, with a regulatory regime to support. This is not a cumbersome and drawn our process, but a network that is primed and ready to support.
- A deep talent pool. The IoM not only has a diverse talent-pool ‘on-island’ but is blossoming with new talent as the wonders and opportunities open up and people move over to the island to be part of the movement.
- The way of life…granted I’ve not been there a lot. But when I have, I LOVED IT. There is a community spirit, a wonderful connectedness, and all set in such beautiful (if not constantly windy!) surroundings.
So what's not to like? And with no shortage of ambition it's no wonder the Isle of Man’s forthcoming FinTech challenge is gathering a huge amount of attention.
With applications still open until the end of February, the inaugural event is scheduled to take place in June 2023.
You can sign up here to get involved either as an applicant, judge, supporter or audience.
As I reflect on the years I’ve spent in Fintech and the opportunity I have had to support many ecosystem builds, I cannot help but get very excited about what the IoM has to offer, and I watch on excitedly as the participants flock to this year's challenge. Who knows, beyond the TT, maybe the Island will be equally famous for setting the pace in FinTech innovation…
The FinTech Innovation Challenge is a collaboration between Isle of Man, Finance Isle of Man, and supported by the Isle of Man Financial Services Authority and Deloitte