The TechislandUK Initiative is designed to stimulate the debate about how to develop the Isle of Wight’s economy as a digital economy and create a social movement for change. The Techisland UK initiative aims to explore how digital can provide the means and ends to transform the economy of this naturally bounded community. The Isle of Wight like other island economies faces structural challenges for economic development.
Research highlights that the challenges for island economies 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.
BUT islands do have strengths that can be exploited for economic development. These are 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.
Our aims are to:
- To celebrate the work of digital entrepreneurs on the Island as a good place to do business
- To inspire young people on the island to stay/return after University and set up digital businesses
- To attract inward investment funds to support the growth and development of digital entrepreneurship
We recognise that we cannot do this on our own and that all we can do is stimulate the debate but we have found that bringing stakeholders together is a powerful way to shape their strategies, plans and actions.
As part of the Techisland UK project supported by the RSA Fellowship, IOW Fellows bought together over 50 stakeholder organisations from across the public, private, voluntary and educational sectors on 11th October 2016. These stakeholder organisations have an interest and stake in the Isle of Wight economy. Supported by national and local speakers from RSA, Techcity UK, Mooreland &Partners, Coralesce, Millimages and IFPL this stakeholder Conference established ‘proof of concept’ of Techisland UK and identified the key levers for change which build on the strong social capital on the island. These key levers were:
- developing the brand;
- creating accelerator space;
- engaging the community;
- supporting educational change;
- developing an island higher education offer;
- improving the ‘tech’ infrastructure;
- supporting inward investment;
- and developing an annual ‘Tech’ Festival.
A full conference report is available on the RSA website.