Q&A with Business ConnexLocate Isle of Man catches up with Business Connex Manager, Jessica Kitchin to find out more about the day to day operations of the business concierge service, its progress so far and what the future holds.
1. How have the last 9 months been since Business Connex (BCX) launched?
Business Connex began as a ‘concierge’ service designed for the sole purpose of assisting businesses looking to relocate to the Isle of Man – but it has evolved into an all-encompassing conduit and sign posting service, which covers much more than a typical “concierge” offering. The service was also initially aimed at attracting inward investment, but we soon realised that many local start-ups and entrepreneurs required our services too. Many of these start-ups use the Eagle Lab working space, BCX’s base or have gone through the DfE Micro Business Scheme, and as such we now offer these businesses free Chamber of Commerce membership which can provide a start-up with access to a whole range of start-up support including access to mentors and focussed events.
2. Could you give us a flavour of the types of businesses that come to you for assistance?
In the last 9 months we have met and worked with so many different types of businesses, ranging from aviation, blockchain, social gaming and manufacturing to artisan cake makers and dog food producers! In terms of location I have liaised with business owners as far as Asia and the Far East. The remit of enquiries is so wide and our services have evolved as a result. One day I could be introducing someone to an immigration lawyer, the next I could be compiling a list of furniture suppliers. No two days are the same!
3. Do you get many individuals (oppose to businesses) come to you for help?
Yes we get a real mix of individuals and businesses. We also get a lot of the larger corporates, such as the Big 4 firms referring relocating employees on to our services. Since February we have successfully helped assist 5 businesses in their relocation to the Island and we are in the process of helping another 20 relocate. We’ve also helped 10 individuals to relocate here and that number is growing. There is also a real mix of on-Island businesses and individuals that BCX has and are currently assisting.
4. Do you find many businesses come to you before they’ve decided to make the move, or during/after?
Again this is a real mix – you have the ‘scopers’ who are in the consideration phase and perhaps planning their first visit. For these cases, we really showcase the Isle of Man and ensure we connect the individual with the relevant people here before they come over to ensure they get the most value out of their trip. We also hear from people who have already moved here, but require some extra advice or help. The majority fall in to the middle of these two; those that have made the firm commitment to move and are in the process of relocating.
5. Do you think the Island has a welcoming business community?
Absolutely. With BCX’s base at the Eagle Lab, I have been perfectly placed to engage and work with dozens of entrepreneurs and business owners on Island and what I have found is that we have a business community that is embracing of entrepreneurship. We are so lucky to have entrepreneurs that want to help one another and recognise that if they thrive the entire economy thrives too. Alongside the Chamber of Commerce, we offer a range of mentoring services, which are ultimately supported and facilitated by local business owners who want to help other entrepreneurs on their business journey.
6. Could you give us some examples of some BCX success stories?
Even in such a short time we have helped so many people and businesses on their relocation journey. I recently worked with a gentleman relocating his business from South Africa. He was initially scoping out the Island and got in touch with BCX. Since his initial visit he has now relocated and set up business and is likely to start recruiting staff in the near future.
7. What do you see for BCX in the next 12 months?
I see us continuing to grow and expand. The Eagle Lab has exposed us to a completely different audience and demographic of individuals; I see us working alongside and really developing our relationships with the start-up community on-Island.
To find out more about the BCX service contact Jessica at firstname.lastname@example.org or call her on +44 1624 674941.
Alternatively visit their website here.