Home Policy & Governance Isle of Man government agencies launch fintech contest

Isle of Man government agencies launch fintech contest

Digital Isle 2022: the competition, which was launched at the one-day event, will help inform a fintech strategy for the British Crown Dependency

Isle of Man government agencies have launched a competition to help businesses to develop ‘cutting-edge’ fintech solutions.

The ‘FinTech Innovation Challenge’ invites organisations with fintech solutions to enter in a trio of topic areas identified by finance professionals working in the self-governing British Crown Dependency – or to self-define a problem statement that they believe exists in the Isle of Man and enter on that basis.

The specified challenge areas are: digital identity (ID) management; e-KYC (know-your-customer) solutions; and artificial intelligence (AI) for fraud prevention and risk management; as well as what the organisers have termed their ‘wildcard’ category. 

The Isle of Man is located in the middle of the northern Irish Sea – almost equidistant from England, Northern Ireland and Scotland – and is home to about 84,000 people. The competition is a collaboration between Digital Isle of Man, a public-private partnership that is an executive agency within Isle of Man government’s Department for Enterprise; Finance Isle of Man, an executive agency within the same department; and the Isle of Man Financial Services Authority.

Digital Isle of Man published an article on its website in July stating that the financial services industry has been ‘one of the backbones of the Isle of Man economy for many decades’ and that a ‘significant amount of effort is being invested in defining our context in [the] “brave new fintech world”, building to a specific and globally competitive Isle of Man Fintech Strategy by the end of 2022.’ This strategy is now slated to be released next year after the competition winners are announced.

‘Great example’ of cross-government working  

The competition, which is supported by professional services company Deloitte, was launched during ‘Digital Isle 2022’, a one-day event on 10 November. The intention to organise it was first announced at the previous year’s event. The deadline for entries – which are open to organisations beyond the island’s shores – is yet to be decided, while the organisers are seeking applications to join a judging panel.

“The challenge is a brilliant opportunity for businesses around the world to scale up their technology-based solutions in the collaborative and creative ecosystem we have here in the Isle of Man,” said Digital Isle of Man chief executive Lyle Wraxall, describing the competition as a “landmark moment for the island’s digital ambitions.”

“The island is home to a world-leading regulatory system, and we look forward to working with challenge participants to inspire innovative solutions to the problems we face in our business community,” Wraxall added.

Digital Isle of Man political member Ann Corlett MHK (Member of the House of Keys – the popularly elected branch of Tynwald, the Isle of Man’s parliament) said the competition provided a “great example of how, through cross-government working and the executive agency model, we can work directly with industry to drive forward effective and innovative solutions”.

The island’s government recently published the results of a consultation on a draft economic strategy, which aims to grow the population to 100,000 by 2037.