Q&A with our Strategic Partnerships Team

28 January 2022

The Digital Isle of Man Strategic Partnership team was created in 2019 with a core focus of improving relationships with industry, facilitating and tackling barriers to business growth and attracting new businesses to the Isle of Man.

The team also plays an instrumental role in enabling job growth on island by supporting tech businesses across different sectors to fulfil the demand for skilled workers in line with their plans. The Strategic Partnership team supported the creation of over 240   new roles in digital businesses in the Island in 2021.

No two days are the same for this busy team, and to find out more we caught up with Abby Kimber, Head of Strategic Partnerships and her team to hear about their role, what attracted them to Digital Isle of Man and what their typical day looks like.

Abby Kimber: Let me start by explaining the thought behind creating this team and how we differ from just core business development. While our business model previously was largely based upon attracting and bringing new businesses to the Isle of Man, we felt there was a gap in supporting organic growth within those businesses and sectors that already call the Island home. We sought to establish an environment of continuous feedback and improvement by engaging with industry to understand their needs and pain-points and collaborating with them and wider Government to create solutions which enhance the value proposition of the Isle of Man and support business growth. To achieve this, we created the Strategic Partnership Team and I am proud to say that I have helped to create and embed this way of working from its inception.

The best part of this role is the diversity it brings. We nurture relationships, problem solve,  act as a spokesperson for the industry to other government departments and vice versa as well as promoting the Island as a great place for digital businesses and generating new leads for those looking to licence here and relocate in full or part. There’s always opportunities to get stuck in and learn something new and to work on important initiatives that benefit the Island as a whole.

Looking ahead the growth of our existing business base will continue to be a key focus for us and we hope to support the creation of over 250 new jobs in digital industries in 2022, with the Strategic Partnerships team working to remove friction around growth of the workforce, and to attract new and exciting businesses to make their home here

Now I’ll leave it to Chris, Amy and Nathan to explain a bit more about what brought them to this role, what surprises them about it and how they feel they have made a difference during their time with Digital Isle of Man.


Chris Reilly (Strategic Partnership Manager): What interested me most about working for Digital Isle of Man was the exciting industries that we work with; everything from the established eGaming and Telecoms sectors to the emerging Blockchain, Crypto & Esports spaces, it’s a really exciting time to be involved and we are working with some really interesting projects.

Amy Kneale (Strategic Partnership Manager): I completely agree, it was the variety that the role brings – exciting sectors, working with innovative tech businesses and learning something new in the process. At the same time I felt I would also get a chance to use my prior experience in eGaming and IoT to add value to businesses in those sectors. 

Nathan Lunt (Strategic Partnership Executive): I was most interested in the opportunity to work across a range of sectors. I was excited by the prospect of gaining knowledge and experience by working closely with private sector businesses and sector experts.



Chris: I wouldn’t say it has surprised me, as I expected the learning curve to be steep when I came in but there is a lot to learn, I actually see that as a great opportunity for me to grow as an individual. If anything, it sometimes surprises me just how much I have learned in a relatively short space of time. I also think there is a perception of government that isn’t necessarily accurate. Having come from fast paced environments in the private sector I can tell you that Digital Isle of Man is every bit as dynamic.

Amy: I have been surprised by the diversity of businesses we have in the digital sector on the Isle of Man, and the innovative solutions they are looking to provide to their sectors, which will really set the Isle of Man apart from its competitors

Nathan: I was surprised by several aspects, but having worked in fast-paced environments in the private sector, I was mainly surprised by how dynamic Digital Isle of Man is.



Chris: A typical day would involve any number of things; it might be helping an existing business on Island navigate processes like immigration when relocating their staff, it might be talking a start-up through their options for support and funding, it might be an initial meeting with a new blockchain project looking at the Isle of Man as a potential place to set up or it might be helping to organise and deliver an event like Digital Isle. I’d say the role is really varied and relies on me drawing on a range of different skills and experience on any given day.

Amy: A typical day in my role involves meeting a wide variety of businesses across all digital sectors and looking at how we can support those businesses to grow and thrive on the Isle of Man. Every day is different and presents new opportunities to support businesses locally.

Nathan: It can be anything from account meetings with on-island businesses, working through areas in which we can support their growth and creating action plans to feed in to their goals. Almost daily, we are speaking to people who are considering the Isle of Man as a new home for their businesses and working through a transition plan to ensure their smooth landing on the Island. Each day is truly different and we often have to pivot quickly to manage priorities as they emerge.



Chris: The thing I enjoy most is the people I meet and the relationships that I’m building. I’m working with everyone from some well established businesses on Island to small start-ups that need help in getting  off the ground. That brings with it all sorts of different people, with different challenges they’re looking to overcome, and no two conversations are the same. It’s also really satisfying to see the help that you provide yield real results as businesses either relocate here or grow.

Amy: I love the problem-solving element of my role and going that extra mile for our stakeholders. This allows me to build strong, lasting relationships and provide a vital and inclusive link between the Island's Digital sector and Government.

Nathan: For me, I love meeting and building relationships with people. From well-established businesses to businesses of all sizes looking to relocate here – I support businesses to relocate anything from 1 member of staff to 250 of their team here! There are  some many ways that as a team we  add value and support their journey. It’s a really rewarding position. I love meeting people with an interest in relocating to the Island because I am so passionate about my home, it’s a fantastic place to live and I love sharing my experience with others.



Chris: An example of where I have made a difference to a business is when I helped a new blockchain business set up on the Island. The initial enquiry came to me and they were unsure about whether the UK or the Isle of Man was the best place for them. I helped guide them through the various processes, initiating introductions to the people they needed to make the right decisions and providing them all of the relevant information. They’ve now incorporated on the Isle of Man, are growing their team and are set to land some large contracts! This was extremely satisfying for me given that I’ve only been in the role a short time!

Amy: I worked with industry stakeholders to review the immigration process and identify areas where they needed support. This review was then shared with Isle of Man Borders, and led them to create a framework to make the process simpler and more responsive to the needs of the businesses.     


Being a central point of contact into government and therefore being able quickly reach out to the right people and assist businesses with challenges they are experiencing or questions they may have, and making it easier to resolve, is a stand out example for me.



We're currently recruiting for a new Strategic Partnership Manager.

This is a fantastic opportunity to work with a variety of people, across exciting and expanding digital industries and be an integral part of shaping the Isle of Man's strategic direction for its digital ecosystem.

Applications close on 6th February 2022.

For more information and to apply, follow this link.