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Business leaders map out innovation vision for Jersey

Business leaders map out innovation vision for Jersey

Wednesday 16 December 2020

Business leaders map out innovation vision for Jersey

Creating a new Innovation Centre for start-ups, driving sustainability, and building world-class infrastructure that promotes civic pride are among the key tenets of a new vision for Jersey laid out by the island’s top business minds.

The vision is mapped out in a report entitled ‘New Perspectives – Critical Considerations for Sustainable Economic Growth’ published yesterday by the Economic Council.

The 16-strong group of community and business representatives from a range of sectors, which is chaired by Economic Development Minister Senator Lyndon Farnham, was set up in June to come up with short and long-term ideas to stimulate the island’s recovery from the covid crisis

Chamber of Commerce President Jennifer Carnegie, IoD Chair Lisa Springate, Durrell CEO Lesley Dickie, ArtHouse Jersey Chair Philip Hewat-Jaboor, Visit Jersey NED Kevin Keen, Carey Olsen Group Managing Partner Alex Ohlsson, and Tony Taylor of Jersey Sport, Jersey Dairy and Jersey Electricity were among those invited to join the panel. 

Minister for International Development Carolyn Labey, who has responsibility for the island's international reputation and public realm, is also a permanent member. 

The document lays out the opportunities that the island should seize on in a series of essays focused on five themes: 

  • Jersey should stimulate growth by encouraging a more vibrant entrepreneurial culture and enhancing local innovation
  • Sustainability is a huge force in shaping society and economies globally, which Jersey needs to place at the centre of its economic policy
  • Jersey must truly embrace the importance of the ‘new economy’ being created globally through technology, artificial intelligence and data
  • For Jersey’s economy to flourish, the island needs regeneration from an infrastructure and quality of life perspective
  • Unless Jersey innovates and aspires to the highest levels in education and skills development across our entire population, our economy will not prosper

Express will be publishing each of those essays, in full, each weekday from tomorrow.

While the report is intended as a high-level vision, some of the few concrete proposals it suggests are funding for re-skilling local talent, the development of an international marketing communications programme "to promote the infrastructure and sectoral capabilities to attract appropriate entrepreneurs to the island", and the creation of a Jersey Innovation Centre.

The Innovation Centre, the report says, should "act as a beacon for start-ups and scale-up opportunities, providing enabling commercialisation skills and resources." It continues: "There are many examples that work elsewhere including the Sussex Innovation Centre, where all members are involved in developing new ideas to create a dynamic and vibrant community of entrepreneurs, technologists, creative designers and scientists. Some of the most exciting new projects result from the transfer of ideas across different sectors."


Pictured: The Economic Council hope the report will help steer the direction of Government.

The Council’s hope is that the document will feed into Ministers’ thinking when developing any short-term policies by ensuring that they are future-focused. 

They also hope that the vision will provide a level of continuity after the next election by helping steer the direction of the future Government.

The report has already been shared with Institute of Directors members and other business colleagues, but the Council say they hope their report will spark “fresh debate” in the wider island community about their wishes for the island’s future. 

In their report, the Council suggests that it should have an ongoing relationship with Government to provide it with an “ongoing source of challenge and guidance”, though it’s not yet clear how that future relationship will work.

Spokesperson for the Council, Tony Taylor, commented: “At a time when there is huge focus on major short-term issues, New Perspectives addresses Jersey’s long-term economic prosperity. In publishing this paper, the Economic Council’s ambition is to provide fresh perspectives on a number of critical themes that are affecting economies worldwide, regardless of covid-19, with specific focus on the opportunities and challenges these represent for Jersey.” 

He added: “Our purpose is to focus attention on Jersey’s future prosperity over the next decade and beyond. This work should ultimately benefit all Islanders, particularly future generations, by helping to nurture a thriving economy, with strong and diverse employment prospects and an ability for the Island to afford the first-rate public services and facilities it craves.”  

Economic Development Minister Senator Lyndon Farnham said the document largely aligned with many of the priorities underpinning the existing Government Plan, but would help focus minds on the key issue of reversing the downward slope of Jersey’s productivity levels – the problem of which has puzzled successive Governments.


Pictured: One of the Government's key aspirations should be to help boost productivity.

Much of that, he said, would be linked with upskilling the population, citing the Digital Jersey Academy as a good example of this.

 Welcoming the plan’s publication, he said: “We’re incredibly grateful to the voluntary, independent members of the Economic Council for producing this paper, which contains an inspiring vision for our economy and some very helpful advice and challenge to the Government. In addition to nurturing our existing industries we need to achieve higher levels of innovation. The Economic Council also provided us with valuable input during our early covid-19 response planning and into the new Government Plan, so this has proved to be a highly worthwhile initiative.” 

CLICK HERE to read 'New Perspectives' in full.

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Comments on this story express the views of the commentator only, not Bailiwick Publishing. We are unable to guarantee the accuracy of any of those comments.

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Posted by nigel pearce on
Maybe I’m an old cynic, but isn’t this yet another document full of blatantly obvious ideas that we already knew?
Posted by Tim Stone on
The statement "In their report, the Council suggests that it should have an ongoing relationship with Government to provide it with an “ongoing source of challenge and guidance”, though it’s not yet clear how that future relationship will work." says it all....."not yet clear" !
They do not need outside brains...they need to develop opportunities within!
Posted by Jon Jon on
Start with the removal of all States Members ,trouble with that council is they havn’t a clue how the real islander lives,they live in their rosy world where everything is ££££!
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