Finding the right balance
Ask anyone who has moved to the Isle of Man to live or to work, and they will all have a unique story to tell. But for most it’s the peace and tranquillity of Island life which is uniquely combined with a ‘can do’ attitude towards business and a vibrant economy. Yes, there are tax advantages too – but there are many more reasons to live here than the stereotypical and now clichéd depiction of the Isle of Man as just being a ‘tax haven’.
Ask anyone who has moved to the Isle of Man to live or to work, and they will all have a unique story to tell. But for most it’s the peace and tranquility of Island life which is uniquely combined with a ‘can do’ attitude towards business and a vibrant economy. Yes, there are tax advantages too – but there are many more reasons to live here than the stereotypical and now clichéd depiction of the Isle of Man as just being a ‘tax haven’.
A beautiful landscape rich in history, excellent properties in stunning locations, good schools and healthcare, a vibrant community spirit, and a very low crime rate, all contribute to the Isle of Man being widely regarded as one of the safest and most comfortable places to live in the British Isles.
In business, you will find a Government which welcomes and supports those who want to bring investment and jobs here. The ‘Isle of Man, Where You Can’ strapline is at the heart of a brand identity which MM&C created for the Government’s Department of Economic Development. But it represents much more than just a catchy slogan. The Isle of Man really is a place with a ‘can do’ attitude to business. Ministers proactively encourage business from start-ups to established firms looking to relocate, and this is aided by the fact that there is no party political system of the type which can be so divisive in other jurisdictions.
The entrepreneurial spirit which is so essential to economic growth is actively encouraged and it is this more than anything else which has resulted in 25 years of sustained economic growth. That’s not to say there’s no bureaucracy or red tape – there is, as with any Government. But what makes the Isle of Man different is that there is a real understanding in the corridors of power that there needs to be a robust but pragmatic approach to regulation.
Businesses also benefit from private sector investment in telecoms infrastructure, most notably from Manx Telecom which has invested more than £100million over the past decade. You will find the latest VDSL and VDSL Plus fixed line broadband, 4G mobile broadband, and world class data centres which are used to provide hosting for many global brands.
Quality of life
There are many advantages to setting up a business here – but this would be of limited appeal if it wasn’t matched by a lifestyle which suits entrepreneurs and their families. For those who have already relocated here to live and work, the Isle of Man’s safe and secure community, excellent schools and medical facilities, and vibrant community spirit are often the most important factors in their decision to move.
It’s a great place for kids to grow up. There’s an excellent standard of state education with 37 schools – 32 primaries and 5 secondaries – and the Isle of Man College of Further and Higher Education which offers professional, exam/degree and recreational courses for adults. Private education is offered at the widely-respected King William’s College which is an independent public school offering day and boarding co-educational studies with the International Baccalaureate as an alternative to traditional A-Levels. King William’s College (or ‘King Bill’s as it is often referred to locally) also has a junior school (The Buchan School). Over 50% of students from the Island go on to university which puts Manx students ahead of their peers in England. Higher education students have the opportunity to study locally at Isle of Man College which offers both vocational training and academic courses. It is an associate college of the University of Chester and offers Engineering and Art honours degrees through Liverpool John Moores University. However, many Island students also choose to study at universities in the UK and secure places in the same way as UK students.
Crime rates here are among the lowest in the British Isles, and the Island’s healthcare system is similar to the state-funded National Health Service (NHS) in the UK. However, there is a higher level of services provided than would be expected of a region the size of the Isle of Man anywhere in Britain.
At your leisure
When it comes to leisure time there’s so much going on here that it’s hard to know where to start! Of course, there’s the world famous Isle of Man TT motorcycle races (run over two weeks in late May and early June each year) which is renowned as a unique challenge in motorsport and attracts more around 40,000 fans each year.
With rolling hills and rugged coastline the Island is ideal for all manner of adventure sports and activities. There are also nine spectacular and challenging golf courses around the Island and a competitive but friendly club golf scene.
One of the fastest growing sports here is polo. The Triskelion Polo Club hosted the Island’s first ever fully competitive polo match earlier this year and the club has professional coaches who are teaching a growing number of amateur players how to play the sport.
The Island’s main entertainment venues are the Gaiety Theatre and Villa Marina in Douglas and both regularly host the Isle of Man legs of national tours by top musicians and comedians, and also shows by amateur performers. The Gaiety Theatre is a magnificent venue which dates back 1900 and was designed by the legendary theatre architect Frank Matcham. The modern Villa Marina complex features a concert hall with the latest sound and lighting systems and a cinema.
This is just a snapshot of what the Isle of Man has to offer. But it does give a glimpse which helps to explain why the Island provides the perfect work/life balance that many of us spend years searching for.