Isle of Man’s government has announced that 16 businesses hailing from nations including Austria, Czech Republic, Ireland, Singapore and the US – as well as three from the Isle of Man itself – have been picked to progress in a competition to help the private sector to develop ‘cutting-edge’ fintech solutions.
The ‘FinTech Innovation Challenge’ invited entries in three topic areas identified by finance professionals working in the self-governing British Crown Dependency – or entrants could self-define a problem statement that they believe exists in the Isle of Man and enter on that basis.
The competition attracted 45 applicants from around the world across the specified challenge areas – 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 termed their ‘wildcard’ category.
The chosen businesses (listed by Global Government Fintech lower down this article) are now being encouraged to interact with the Isle of Man government, regulatory authorities, financial institutions and ‘other key stakeholders’ to develop and refine their solutions ahead of a ‘Demo Day’ in just over three months’ time. The projects will be presented to a panel of judges, as well as industry experts and potential customers, on 29 June.
Solutions selected to progress include projects in areas including artificial intelligence (AI)-based business strategy forecasting; automated player protection in the gaming industry; blockchain; ESG (environmental, social, governance) auditing; and reward tokenisation.
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Potential to make ‘significant impact’
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 fintech 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 2022 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 has been re-scheduled to be released after the competition winners are announced.
“The calibre of applicants was incredibly high, and we believe the selected businesses have the potential to make a significant impact in the fintech industry,” said enterprise minister Tim Johnston MHK (Member of the House of Keys – the popularly elected branch of Tynwald, the Isle of Man’s parliament).
“We look forward to supporting them as they develop their solutions and contribute to our growing digital economy,” added Johnston, who was appointed to the role of enterprise minister just last month.
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‘Direct access’ to regulators
The 16 businesses selected are: Blindspot Solutions (Czech Republic), Codos Foundation (Switzerland), Crucial Compliance (Gibraltar), Cygnetise (UK), Digidentity (Netherlands), ID-Pal (Ireland), Infrasoft Technologies Jersey Limited (kiya) (Jersey/India), Nettle (Isle of Man), ONBORD (UK), SignD Identity (Austria), SQR Group (Isle of Man), Sure (Isle of Man), Trust Stamp (US), WeavAir (Singapore), Whitespace Global (UK) and Yoti (UK).
The companies will now each have ‘direct access’ to the Isle of Man Financial Services Authority, Gambling Supervision Commission, Information Commissioner and Government Technology Services. The 16 businesses –which are being referred to by the competition organisers as a ‘cohort’ (a word often used to describe groups of projects selected to enter regulatory ‘sandbox’ test-spaces in nations that have such sandboxes) – are also being advised by ‘mentors’ whose day-jobs are with financial services companies including Barclays, Lloyds and Capital International.
Digital Isle of Man chief executive Lyle Wraxall said the businesses would be able to use the Isle of Man’s “technical expertise, proactive regulatory support and welcoming business community to refine their solutions and bring their products to market.”
The competition, which is supported by professional services company Deloitte, was launched during ‘Digital Isle 2022’, a one-day event on 10 November 2022. The intention to organise it was first announced at the previous year’s event.
The Isle of Man government six months ago published the results of a consultation on a draft economic strategy, which aims to grow the population to 100,000 by 2037.
Isle of Man government agencies launch fintech contest – our article (16 November 2022) on the competition getting underway
GLOBAL GOVERNMENT FINTECH LAB 2023: REGISTER NOW
The Global Government Fintech Lab 2023 will be taking place in Dublin on Thursday 18 May. The Lab, our one-day event for senior public servants interested in exploring and implementing fintech solutions, is being organised in partnership with Ireland’s Department of Finance. The event, which is free to attend for all public servants, will feature keynote speeches, panels and breakout sessions focused on fintech-related opportunities and challenges for those working in central government, agencies and other public authorities.