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Jersey To Boost Support For Innovative Firms

by Jason Gorringe, Lowtax.net, London
21 September, 2015

The Jersey Government has welcomed the release of a new, independent report on measures that would support innovative businesses and entrepreneurs doing business in Jersey.

The author of the report, Tera Allas, is an expert in the field of innovation policy, with extensive public and private sector experience. She commented: "I hope this report and its recommendations provide a basis for strong progress going forward. While Jersey is not the only jurisdiction seeking to develop its innovation policy, I am confident that the [Government] can build upon what has already been achieved, and set the building blocks to become a world-leading location for innovation and innovative firms. I will watch with great interest how Jersey progresses and hope that this review will prove to be a valuable input into the future development of Jersey's economy."

The report makes a number of recommendations on how best to capture the island's innovation potential:

  • Take decisive action to reduce the actual and perceived costs of regulation to a minimum, aspiring to make Jersey one of the easiest places to set up, start, and grow a business;
  • Realign, strengthen, and extend existing innovation initiatives by coordinating the activities and communications of the States and its delivery partners, and consider extending existing initiatives such as the Innovation Fund; and
  • Facilitate international collaboration in knowledge and talent exchange by funding access to existing programs in the UK, such as those run by Innovate UK, or by building links with public or private research initiatives.

The report took an evidence-based approach to analyzing Jersey's performance, comparing Jersey with jurisdictions such as Singapore, Estonia, and Ireland. The analysis found that while Jersey has an overall strength in funding and financing for and investment in innovation, there are weaknesses relating to talent and skills, and limited access to knowledge and collaborations. Further weaknesses were identified in policies aimed at encouraging innovation and in aspects of the business environment.

Allas said: "Jersey has a vibrant business community and a highly educated population that provide strong fundamentals for a highly successful innovation economy. However, the review found a number of signs that this is not translating into economic growth."

The report was commissioned by the Assistant Chief Minister responsible for innovation, Philip Ozouf. He welcomed the report and indicated that work would start immediately on an action plan to address the shortfalls identified in the report. He commented: "This is a very exciting report which, if [the recommendations are] implemented, could be a real game-changer for the island. But it's also a wake-up call – there are a number of very strong recommendations here, and we need to act on these. Tera has made clear the importance of Government's role in innovation, and it is now up to us to work together across all States departments to build on what has already been achieved."

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