Isle of Man Start Up and Innovator -what makes a good business idea, and what type of business can be endorsed?

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Isle of Man Start Up and Innovator -what makes a good business idea, and what type of business can be endorsed?

Kinley Legal’s Leah Sizova explains which business ideas are likely to be endorsed for the Isle of Man Start Up and Innovator route

Perhaps you had that wonderful business idea for years and decided that 2022 is the year to implement it! You also dreamt about relocating to the Isle of Man and setting up a business there. The good news is there is an immigration route that is an ideal match for you – Start Up and Innovator.

Start Up and Innovator is one of my specialities, and I find myself discussing people’s business ideas on a regular basis. You may have a great and workable business idea, but we still need to work out whether it has a reasonable chance of being approved and eventually lead you to fulfilling your dream of running a business and living in the beautiful Isle of Man.

The first step is to identify whether the idea meets the requirements of the Endorsement Policy, and so is likely to be acceptable for the purposes of Start Up and Innovator immigration.   

As part of the application process, your business idea will have to be set out as a compelling business plan, then be approved by the Isle of Man Government Department for Enterprise – the only endorsing body for Start Up and Innovator applications in the Isle of Man. The Department is the government agency responsible for encouraging inward investment and business migration into the Isle of Man. In the UK, endorsing bodies can charge substantial mentoring and support fees as part of the price of being endorsed for Start Up or Innovator. In the Isle of Man, the opposite is true: the Department for Enterprise operates several financial support schemes and incentives for businesses that are new to the Isle of Man.

The Endorsement Policy is flexible, meaning that a wide variety of business ideas can potentially be successfully endorsed in the Isle of Man for the Start Up and Innovator routes. While the endorsing Department for Enterprise has a well-established interest in e-business and technology, it is able to endorse other business ideas, with the clear focus on original ideas and working methods, as well as the potential for businesses to create employment and benefit the island’s economy.

The Endorsement Policy requires that the Department must be satisfied that the business idea must be of benefit to the Isle of Man. This means that originality and market research are always key: a business idea is unlikely to be endorsed if it simply competes with one or more existing businesses in the island.

Innovation, viability and scalability or IVS for success!

In order for your business proposal to be successfully endorsed, the Department will need to be satisfied that the business meets all of the relevant criteria:


You have a genuine, original business idea that meets new or existing market needs and/or creates a competitive advantage.

Endorsement is not limited to technology and cutting-edge businesses which might typically be considered “innovative” in the normal meaning of the word. Businesses which have been capable of endorsement to date include everything from software development, to manufacturing new products, to providing professional services not previously available in the Isle of Man market.


You have, or are actively developing, the necessary skills, knowledge, experience and market awareness to successfully run the business.


There is evidence of structured planning and of potential for job creation and growth into new or existing markets.

What’s next?

I hope this post gave you a food for thought. If you would like to make an appointment for a call or online meeting to discuss your business idea for Isle of Man Start Up and Innovator route  please get in touch by e-mail at immigration@kinleylegal.com or complete our simple contact form, and we would be pleased to help.