Island movers and shakers get together to develop the Isle of Wight as Techisland UK
Coralesce ltd in partnership with the Royal Society of Arts, Manufacturing & Technology(RSA) organised a catalyst conference for island stakeholders to discuss developing the island as a high ‘tech’ economy (Techisland UK). Over 50 representatives from key public and private sector organisation across the Solent area attended on Tuesday 11th October 2016 at the Royal Yacht Squadron in Cowes. The event was designed to engage key stakeholders on the Isle of Wight on how to attract more Technology companies to relocate and also to create an environment to support and encourage Technology start-ups. Supported by national and local speakers from RSA, Techcity UK, Mooreland &Partners, Millimages and IFPL this stakeholder Conference established ‘proof of concept’ and identified the key levers for change which build on the strong social capital on the island. The stakeholder event is part of a wider Techisland UK Catalyst Project supported by the Royal Society of Arts and Isle of Wight Council.
The context for this project is that the Island, with a population of just under 140,000, has a low value economy with lower wages, more economically inactive adults, lower qualifications and an older population which is out of step with the rest of the South East and UK. The industrial profile of the island from the NOMIS Report highlights that ICT/Digital industries are way out of kilter with only 1.7% of businesses being technology related compared to 6.3% in the South East.
The Isle of Wight like other island economies faces structural challenges for economic development (Baldacchino 2005). These are small size; high transport costs; inability to achieve economies of scale; limited mix of businesses; lack of skilled labour/expertise and dearth of infrastructure. However, the research evidence on islands suggests that success can come from island based founder-owners; existing firms acting as Incubators; exploiting the power of digital; securing overseas clients; building on island social capital; island branding; targeted external support; seeking & securing international standards and building on a professional & loyal workforce.
The challenge of the Techisland UK project will be to explore how Technology can provide the means and ends to transform the economy of this naturally bounded community. Read the Full Conference Report HERE and Download the Conference Presentations