" class="no-js "lang="en-US"> Isle of Man’s first FinTech Innovation Challenge now officially open for applications
Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Isle of Man’s first FinTech Innovation Challenge now officially open for applications

The Isle of Man’s first-ever FinTech Innovation Challenge is now officially open for applications. As part of its ambitious new economic strategy, the Isle of Man Government is inviting innovative FinTech businesses, or collaborations of companies, to develop and launch their products on the island.

The competition allows companies to develop new products, scale up existing products or test access to new markets. Applications are open to start-ups as well as businesses who are able to add a new and innovative element to products that are already in their portfolio. The FinTech Innovation Challenge is at the heart of the Isle of Man’s ambition for a digital future and will be a key pillar of the island’s FinTech growth in the coming year.

As a joint venture between the Government’s Digital and Finance agencies, with support from the Isle of Man Financial Services Authority and Deloitte, it demonstrates how the government is working proactively to support FinTechs by providing them with an effective testbed from which to launch and develop their businesses.

Lyle Wraxall, Chief Executive at Digital Isle of Man, said: ’We are delighted to announce that the FinTech Innovation Challenge is now open for applications from FinTech businesses.

’This is a golden opportunity for FinTech businesses to build their offerings and benefit from everything the Isle of Man offers, including access to UK and European markets and the proactive, collaborative relationships our executive agencies and regulator maintain with business.’

Michael Crowe, Chief Executive at Finance Isle of Man, said: ‘The Isle of Man is the ideal location for FinTech businesses to develop new products and scale their businesses.

’The FinTech Innovation Challenge encourages entrants to propose solutions for issues faced by the financial and business services industries and we look forward to seeing the innovative products they develop, and to working with them to make their endeavours a success.’

Just 90 miles off the UK coast in the Irish Sea, the Isle of Man’s new economic strategy seeks to diversify the economy of the island, which has a population of just 85,000. It is hoped that the plan will kick start £500 million a year of GDP growth by attracting cutting-edge technology businesses and entrepreneurs, including in one of its key areas: FinTech.

The Isle of Man Government is planning a programme of long-term public and private investment worth £1 billion, supported by an initial £100 million Economic Strategy Fund to help develop its supporting initiatives.

With established financial and digital sectors on the island already collectively contributing a large proportion of overall GDP, FinTech builds on the Isle of Man’s greatest strengths and takes advantage of the sector’s rapid expansion. The STOXX Global FinTech Index has seen a 50% increase since 2018 and a swift recovery after the Covid-19 pandemic, and the growth of the sector is projected to continue.

2022 was a year of success for the Isle of Man’s FinTech sector, thanks to the launch of the InsurTech Accelerator programme, and this year the island wants to build wider FinTech capacity, including by launching an Innovation Hub, where the capabilities of a Sandbox and an Observatory are combined to allow Government Agencies and the Regulator to collaborate. This will allow the Isle of Man to become a test bed for new technologies, as businesses will be able to trial their products in a safe regulatory environment before going to market.

Harnessing innovation in a structured and sustainable manner is crucially important, particularly for regulated activities such as FinTech. The Isle of Man provides clear pathways and expectations for the consideration and assessment of new of innovative propositions coming to the island with consideration of possible regulatory change if required.

The Isle of Man has a proud history of innovation: it has been home to numerous expert inventors and artisans, including master watchmakers and the inventor of the kettle switch. 21st century technologies have also flourished on the island, which pioneered the adoption of 3G mobile services, and more recently became the first government to support a regulated GBP-pegged stablecoin, Poundtoken.io.

Many industry leaders and innovators across the technology and finance sectors are drawn to the island by average salaries 10% higher than in the UK, and zero tax on company profits. Their presence means that FinTech Innovation Challenge participant will enter a fertile environment where they can grow, with the Isle of Man acting as a springboard to help take their products to the global market with greater credibility and legitimacy.

The Isle of Man’s regulator and government agencies stand ready to provide developing FinTechs with a platform from which to launch innovative solutions to some of the key challenges facing modern businesses, and to play their part in building the future of this unique island.

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