As part of Food Matters, a strategy to grow the value of food and drink on the island by £50M over a 10-year period, the government is offering food businesses grants to boost entrepreneurship and innovation.
According to the food business development manager Andrew Lees, Food Matters provided food companies with support in growing their businesses – and he was happy to talk to UK-based firms that might want to relocate to the island.
Isle of Man Department of Environment, Food & Agriculture grants were available for equipment and manufacturing facilities, Lees added.
“Eligible companies can be start-ups, all the way to the creameries. So it can literally be companies that have not produced anything yet, to large businesses,” he said.
“For anything under £10,000 all we ask for is three quotes and a partial budget – basically, what your return on investment will be. For grants over £10,000, we ask for a full business plan.”
When Food Matters was launched in 2014, the plan was to grow the island’s food and drink industry from £75M to £125M in 10 years, explained Lees. The last published data showed it was worth £91M, with an extra 300 jobs added, he said.
“If any UK-based manufacturer was interested in looking at relocating to the island, I’d be happy to talk to them about it,” he said. “Some of the grants we offer can also help with export costs.”
‘Relocating to the island’
One former UK-based manufacturer that has benefitted from relocating to the island is O’Teas. The firm, which produces a range of speciality loose and bagged teas for UK supermarkets, opened a manufacturing facility in Ballasalla last June.
“The assistance we have received has been second to none – from help finding the right commercial property, to sourcing the right people to run our facility,” said director Richard Kennedy.
“I won’t deny the island’s tax rate has been helpful, but the Isle of Man is about much more than that. The island offers a great way of life.”