On Air The Morning Show Chris Williams | 9:30am - Noon

£50 million Enterprise Development Scheme 'failed to meet expectations'

The economy has changed says Minister Skelly

The £50 million Enterprise Development Scheme had to be dropped in its current form due to a changing economy says  Laurence Skelly, Minister of the Department for Enterprise.

It was announced last Friday (21 Sep) that the department and current fund managers SPARK Impact had reached a mutual agreement to terminate their contract.

Minister Skelly says the scheme failed to meet expectations on both sides, and the needs of the Manx economy have now changed.

The Liverpool-based company will continue to manage the fund until January, whilst the DfE will examine what support it should offer next to boost the economy.

The fund was first created to support growth of new business in the Island, after some companies complained of financing issues.

SPARK were awarded a five year deal in April 2016 to manage the scheme, but faced significant competition due from UK funds such as the 'Northern Powerhouse'.

Investment director at the company Mark Borzomate said 'SPARK met around two hundred companies over the past two and half years'. Despite this only £3 million in loans was ever handed out from the £50 million pot.

Mr Skelly says the decision was made whilst the department's eleven grant schemes were under review, a requirement under the Programme for Government.

[Local Democracy Reporter Ewan Gawne]

More from Isle of Man News