Friday, December 16, 2011

Isle of Man Business Incubator Celebrates Accreditation Success!

Kate Lord-Brennan, Isle of Man Business Incubator pictured with Hon. John Shimmin MHK, Minister for Isle of Man Government Department of Economic Development

Isle of Man Business Incubator celebrated obtaining accreditation from UK Business Incubation (UKBI), the industry body for business incubation at an event held last week at the Isle of Man Business Centre.

The UKBI Inspire accreditation process involved a review of business incubator policies, procedures and the team providing support to early stage companies.  The review involved benchmarking these areas against best practice and included a visit to the Island by a UKBI assessment team in October.
The Isle of Man Business Incubator was originally established in 2008 and managed by Coventry University Enterprises.  In 2010, the Department of Economic Development established a public-private sector partnership with the intention of enhancing support for local start-ups and also businesses looking to relocate to the Island.  A key target of the new partnership was to obtain UKBI accreditation by March 2012.
Kate Lord-Brennan of Isle of Man Business Incubator was delighted that accreditation had been achieved earlier than planned.  “This is major milestone and I am pleased with the feedback we received from the UKBI review team.  The review process was very constructive and we obtained a lot of advice which will help us to continue developing.”

Keiron Broadbent of UKBI commented “The Isle of Man Business Incubator has done very well achieving accreditation and we would not expect to see a similar aged programme to be as developed in so many areas”.

The event at the Isle of Man Business Centre also marked Global Business Incubation Day.  This provided an opportunity for entrepreneurs currently developing their business ideas to network with those running successful local businesses. 

Minister for the Department of Economic Development, John Shimmin MHK commented: “This accreditation demonstrates the Government’s commitment to working closely with, and supporting, early-stage ventures. Through the fostering of local start-ups in addition to attracting inward investment, the Isle of Man maintains its position as a world centre for business.”

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About Isle of Man Business Incubator
The Isle of Man Business Incubator provides services and accommodation to early stage ventures on the Isle of Man and inward investment businesses looking to establish an Isle of Man base.  The facilities and business support provided by the Isle of Man Business Incubator (BIC) are managed by Capital Select and supported by our primary sponsor and partner, the Isle of Man Government Department of Economic Development.  The Isle of Man Business Incubator is an accredited member of UK Business Incubation, the National Business Incubation Association and network partner for the Microsoft Bizspark programme.  Contact: 01624 647065, ,

About UK Business Incubation (UKBI)
UK Business Incubation (UKBI) has been the UK’s and increasingly international principal and successful authority on business incubation, business incubation development and best practice since 1998.

It helps government and development agencies build thriving business incubation infrastructure that make increasingly significant contributions to local, regional, national and international economic growth, as thousands of incubated clients grow and move out of their business incubation environments and achieve sustainable commercial success in their own right.

About the INSPIRE Accreditation Process
The Inspire monitoring, development and accreditation process© for business incubation is recognised by practitioners, stakeholders and governments as essential for business incubation and other early-stage growth environments such as innovation centres as well as business incubation activities within technology and science parks.

Based on the Business Incubation Development Framework (BIDF) and rigorous national and international research, it covers ‘physical’ and ‘virtual’ business incubation activity that provides specialist and targeted support and development to early stage and other growth companies.

In addition, the Inspire monitoring, development and accreditation process© provides quality 'benchmarks' for stakeholders, funders and supporters (as well as potential clients) helping them to identify and then develop practices leading to the application and public recognition of best practice in business incubation. 

About Business Incubation
Business incubation is a business support process that accelerates the successful development of start-up and fledgling companies by providing entrepreneurs with an array of targeted resources and services. These services are usually developed or orchestrated by incubator management and offered both in the business incubator and through its network of contacts. A business incubator’s main goal is to produce successful firms that will leave the program financially viable and freestanding. These incubator graduates have the potential to create jobs, revitalise neighbourhoods, commercialise new technologies and strengthen local and national economies.

Media contact:
Kate Lord-Brennan, , 01624 647065

Monday, November 28, 2011

Call to Action for Aspiring Entrepreneurs

"To turn really interesting ideas and fledgling technologies into a company that can continue to innovate for years, requires a lot of disciplines."
(Steve Jobs)

Isle of Man Business Incubator is issuing a call to action for aspiring entrepreneurs.

The incubator, which was established in 2008 in partnership with Isle of Man Department of Economic Development, provides a mix of space and specialised services for fledgling business.

The focus of the incubator is to help entrepreneurs develop businesses with high-growth potential that will benefit the Isle of Man by creating jobs, diversify the economy, stimulate innovation, promote local sourcing, support Manx exports and international trade.

As well as supporting experienced entrepreneurs and companies with spin out products, the incubator can help Isle of Man residents with an idea or invention they wish to test and validate in a supportive low risk environment.

Isle of Man residents can apply for free tailored support.

It is hoped that the incubator programme might support those residents considering a move from employment to entrepreneurship.

Isle of Man Business Incubator can be contacted on 647065 or at where enquiries to join the incubator can be made online. 

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Isle of Man Finalists in North West Women in Business Awards

Two Business Women from Isle of Man gain recognition in Forward Ladies Women In Business Awards for North West and Isle of Man.  Shelia Dean, Managing Director at Equiom for International Business Woman of the Year and Torie Kissack, founder, Imagination Station for Young Business Woman of the Year.

The success of women business leaders is being showcased at the inaugural Isle of Man and North West Women in Business Awards held by Forward Ladies, with the quality of business women on the Island being represented in two categories.   There are nine separate award categories as well as an Outstanding Business Woman of the Year award chosen from the nine category winners.  The awards will be presented at a prestigious awards ceremony in Manchester on 10th November 2011.

Kate Lord said: “In April we were encouraging professional women to participate in these awards, which are new for us on Isle of Man, to showcase and celebrate female talent.  We had a good number of applications from Isle of Man and the quality and talent of the businesswomen on the Island is represented by us having two women in the finals, even though we are a small community and share the awards with the North West.   I am particularly pleased that the Island’s women are being recognised in the categories for International Business and Young Business Woman.” 

Forward Ladies is a women’s business support community involving more than 12,000 professional women across the north of England and the Isle of Man.  

Sheila Dean of Isle of Man global trust & corporate services business, Equiom, is shortlisted in the International Business Woman category, sponsored by UK Trade and Investment, while Victoria Kissack who runs Imagination Station – an entertainment and events company which supplies face painters, clowns, jugglers and entertainment artistes for events is shortlisted in the Young Business Woman category.

Sheila is a Fellow of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (FCCA) and has overall responsibility for Equiom's strategic direction and operational control.

In addition to her role as Managing Director, she is a relationship manager on a portfolio of international clients and is also a key contact for intermediary relationships. She plays a proactive role in driving business development and growth of the company's international business. A leading member of the Isle of Man business community, she is also a respected figure in the global trust and corporate services sector.

Victoria (Torie) originally started with children’s entertainment, but with a plan to expand the business to incorporate many more elements.

After only two days in business, she landed a corporate contract with Isle of Man radio station 3FM and has since worked with the Isle of Man Government, the Tourism Board, schools, charities and many more corporate clients. Due to customer demand she now has a team of self-employed circus performers, two more face painters, dance troupes, DJs, discos, and bouncy castles with more artistes added all the time.

Other finalists from the North West of England include care home owners, telecoms and television production managers.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Isle of Man Agricultural Advisory Service from DEFA

Today BIC learned about this great service from Isle of Man Department of Environment, Food and Agriculture  (DEFA).

The DEFA agricultural advisory service is a free service for all agricultural businesses in the Isle of Man, providing help and advice on a wide range of topics, both technical (what and how much to feed animals, crop husbandry, and so on) and business (cashflow, budgets, investment appraisals, account analysis, business planning, etc).

Through this advice provision DEFA brings together farms and related businesses who wish to diversify, either agriculturally (e.g. novel livestock such as milking goats) and non-agricultural (equine enterprises, holiday accommodation, and so on). To help facilitate some of these ideas Andrew McDonald, Senior Agricultural Advisor at DEFA has been running an action learning sets with farming groups.  Assistance had been provided on the basics of farm diversification, in terms of the planning and market research, business planning, risk analysis, etc.

For more information on DEFA and the Agricultural Advisory Service visit .

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Notes from a small island | Opinion | The Engineer

Notes from a small island Opinion The Engineer

The Isle of Man is one of those places that many people in the UK know little about. Ask around, and most can dredge up a fact or two: cats without tails; a flag with three legs; a notoriously dangerous motorbike race; kippers. But other important details aren’t so well-known. When I told friends I was heading there, one person asked me if there was a time difference. I said I thought it was about 40 years.
And in some ways, I was right; it’s certainly a slower pace of life up on the little island in the middle of the Irish Sea. The capital, Douglas, has a horse-drawn tram service along its seafront promenade; there’s a flourishing steam railway, used by locals and holidaymakers alike. But in other ways, the Isle of Man is far ahead of the rest of the UK, and could teach it some valuable lessons.
.Back in the 1980s, the island’s government, like the rest of the UK, decided that the future of its economy lay in financial services and built up a large sector. However, some 20 years ago, it took another look and realised that the economy had become unbalanced.
‘It really was a matter of not putting all the eggs in one basket,’ explained Adrian Moore, head of the Isle of Man Aerospace Cluster, a group of 17 aerospace companies now flourishing on the island.
The government took the decision to encourage the establishment of a high-tech manufacturing sector to bring some variety into its economy. Building on the presence of three large aerospace companies which had been established on the island for some 60 years — Ronaldsway Aircraft Company, whose roots are in ejector seat manufacture; valve specialist Swagelok; and GE Aerospace — it used a system of financial incentives to persuade companies to take root on the island. As a result, when the credit crunch hit three years ago, the Manx economy was more cushioned from its effects than the mainland’s.

Moore admits that some of the methods used by the Manx government would not be available to the UK; for example, the island’s corporate tax rate is zero, something which would not be possible here.
But asking around some of the companies, such as micro-turbine specialist Bladon Jets, laser optics producer CVI Melles Griot, component prototype maker Kiartys and body composition scanner manufacturer Bodystat, the key seems to be easy access to government and regulators.
‘We know who eveyone is, and we know that if we have a problem, we can talk to someone and get it sorted out,’ said Kiartys sales director Steve Riding.

Much of this is a function of the small size of the community. However, it’s undeniable that it’s working. The island has a growing reputation as a centre for innovative high-tech; a fledgling space sector is now taking shape, and is home to one of the entrants in the Lunar X-prize.
Moore is now looking at establishing a technical college and forming links with universities in the Northwest region, where the Manx economy already has many links, with a view to fostering the skills needed by the sector and to attract university spin-outs to the island.
Perhaps that famous motorbike race, the TT, has fostered a different attitude to risk among the Manx community. But there certainly seems to be something in the air on the UK’s tiny neighbour which the UK government should take notice of. The Manx economy is doing many of the things that the UK seems to be still only talking about, and we could do a lot worse than take a look.
Read more:

Monday, April 18, 2011

Get BIC help with your delicious business idea

Business Incubation can help Innovative Food Producers

Image from "Sell Your Speciality Food", a book  with info on how to Market, Distribute, and Profit from Your Kitchen Creation
Food producers are becoming more innovative and in trend as communities favour locally sourced foods with a trusted story behind them. 

Kate Lord, Incubator Manager explains “ You don’t have to look far for inspirational examples of individuals who have brought innovative food products to market that have turned out to be high growth.   Look at Levi Roots’ Reggae Reggae sauce or Kirsty Henshaw of Worthenshaws Freedom.  The young female entrepreneur with no prior business experience developed dairy free frozen desserts and won investment from Dragons Den.  Innocent Smoothies started very small and got investment of £30m from Coca-Cola in 2009. Locally, we have success stories too.   The Apple Orphanage, Cocoa Red and The Original Manx Fudge Factory are great examples.   

These inspirational stories of achievement show that people of all backgrounds can achieve success as food producers, with the right focus, support and drive.  We’d like to help more of our emerging local food producer businesses through the Isle of Man Business Incubator.” 

So what is business incubation?
Business incubation is a business development process designed to accelerate and support the successful growth of early stage ventures.  The Isle of Man Business Incubator (BIC) is supported by the Isle of Man Government Department of Economic Development to assist Isle of Man start ups research, set up and grow.
What sort of business does BIC assist?
BIC’s primary focus is to support ventures with high growth potential.  This means supporting entrepreneurs whose business aims to create jobs and aspires to serve markets beyond the Isle of Man (exporting).  Additionally, business incubation is used in small communities to promote local sourcing (import replacement), diversify the economy, drive regeneration and support innovation.  In short, BIC selects clients that are doing something innovative in one way or another, and have an appetite for growth.  Many of our clients are technology or knowledge based companies.

How does BIC help businesses?
Support is flexible and tailored, depending on needs. It can range from help with research, idea validation, product development, business planning and marketing to providing mentorship and a place to work from. A key benefit accessed by incubator clients is the wealth of contacts and experts the incubator can provide. For example, we work closely with the Chamber of Commerce and have good connections with many local service providers who are keen to help start ups.  BIC helps guide entrepreneurs through the range of help available.

What sort of food, agriculture or environmental industry business may be assisted by Isle of Man Business Incubator?
BIC looks to help pre-start up or early stage businesses (less than 18 months old) with its Get Going Programme, which is free upon successful application.
Support can be relevant to:
- people planning or researching a business idea, product or invention
- those starting a business
- existing businesses planning a spin-out operation
- existing businesses looking for a new entrepreneurial team to take the business forward (aiding with succession issues in family business)
- people looking to get involved in a new venture, but not sure where to start.

To find out more or apply online visit or call 01624 647065 

Article written for AgriNews published by Isle of Man Department of Environment, Food and Agriculture

Monday, January 17, 2011

A New Home For Business Incubation on the Isle of Man

From L-R: Peter Long and Walter Gilby (Capital International Group), Clare Christian MLC (political member, Department of Economic Development (DED), Tim Craine (Director, Business Development Agency, DED), Kate Lord (Incubator Manager), Alex Downie MLC (political member, DED), Mark Gilson (Managing Director, Capital Select), Anthony Long (CEO, Capital International Group)

The Isle of Man Department of Economic Development (DED) and Capital Select Limited have announced a new partnership for the Isle of Man Business Incubator (previously Isle of Man Business & Innovation Centre).

The new partners and plans were introduced at an event on Global Business Incubation Day (8th December) which celebrates the impact and achievement of business incubation across the globe and the success of home grown talent.

The partnership will mean enhanced support for entrepreneurs and fledgling businesses on the Isle of Man through the use of local sourcing and private sector partners.

As part of the changes, the business incubator’s primary site is now the prestigious new Isle of Man Business Centre at Capital House in Douglas which is also home to Isle of Man Chamber of Commerce.

Development plans for Isle of Man Business Incubator (BIC) include working towards accredited status awarded by UK Business Incubation, enhancing support programmes to on and off island businesses choosing an Isle of Man base and creating multiple incubation environments for growing businesses.

Minister for Economic Development, Allan Bell MHK, commented: “The establishment of this new partnership reinforces our commitment to supporting innovation and entrepreneurship in the Isle of Man. I’m confident that these excellent new facilities, coupled with the dedication of the teams in my Department and Capital Select, strengthens our proposition for both start-ups and developing businesses and will further help our policy of further diversifying the economy.”

Mark Gilson, Managing Director of Capital Select Limited, commented: “We are pleased to be working with the Department of Economic Development to manage and develop the Isle of Man Business Incubator. I am confident that, working together, we can build on the success already achieved and take business incubation on the Island to the next level.”

Business incubation is an established tool in economic development. The provision of start-up assistance including vital space, services, knowledge and contacts are proven to stimulate development of successful enterprises, drive innovation and technology commercialisation, helping to create jobs, attract new business and diversify local economies.