Last month the Department for Enterprise introduced several changes to its Financial Assistance Scheme (FAS). The changes will build on the continued success of the scheme, which in the last five years has created over 1,000 jobs and committed over £27million to growing Isle of Man businesses.
Key features and changes to the FAS include:
The FAS has been in operation for over 30 years, is discretionary and offers a generous package of support to businesses. The scheme not only encourages existing businesses to adopt new technologies and practices, but is also for new businesses requiring funding to scale-up and grow on Island.
Following a review of the scheme in August 2018, a number of changes came into effect in November. These include the expansion of eligibility criteria to include nursery and child day care centres. A recent report undertaken by the Social Affairs Policy Review Committee highlighted an acute shortage of nursery and child care facilities for 0-5 year olds, particularly the under two provision on the Island. The introduction of assistance for the child care sector forms part of a wider Government strategy to stimulate economic growth, as the shortage of childcare facilities is seen as a factor that could potentially prevent parents returning to work and new workers looking to relocate to the Island.
Further changes have also seen a policy addition to support the media sector as a part of the Department’s wider aim to attract new media activity to the Island. The review has also seen the introduction of grant support for research and development expenditure.
Several additions have been made to the application criteria relevant to the award of financial assistance. In line with Programme for Government, the Department has introduced a requirement for applying businesses to comply with the living wage. Government also recently committed to significantly reducing the amount of single use plastics on Island, and thus businesses that operate internal sustainable sourcing and recycling policies will also be more likely to achieve a higher level of grant assistance.
The scheme is also designed to encourage job growth and the import of skills from outside of the Isle of Man in certain sectors, where businesses have been unable to recruit locally. The Employee Relocation Incentive provides a 20% grant of up to £10,000 towards the cost of a relocating employee’s first year net salary (minimum salary must be £25,000) paid one year in arrears.
To find out more about the FAS, visit: https://www.iomdfenterprise.im/fas