Digital contributes as much as tourism to Jersey economy
THE digital industry is now contributing as much as tourism to Jersey’s economy and is growing fast, according to Tony Moretta, the chief executive officer of Digital Jersey.
The industry body has presented its 2018 annual review in true digital style – through a virtual reality experience created by local company Snap.je.
2018 was a busy year for the sector with 13 new tech businesses relocating to the Island.
In addition, 36 work permission licences were endorsed to bring advanced digital skills into existing Jersey companies – representing an annual tax contribution to the Island of £462,000. These roles and businesses will in turn create more local jobs.
While the numbers might seem small in comparison to the finance industry, Mr Moretta said the sector was growing fast.
‘We are going to surprise a few people in the coming months. We have been working with the Jersey Statistics unit and with Tech Nation, which is the government-funded body in the UK that measures their digital economy, to understand how we should measure the digital economy here. I think people will be surprised that as a separate pillar of the economy, the standalone digital sector is already up there with tourism in terms of the economic value to Jersey, so watch this space.’
Membership of Digital Jersey has also grown considerably in the past year, rising 48% for business members and 27% for individual members.
The new £1.7 million Digital Skills Academy will launch this year, boosting the Island’s digital expertise for both school-leavers and those wishing to retrain.
The Digital Jersey Hub, the co-working and events space for digital start-ups and individuals, is being expanded and this comes on the back of the opening of the DJ Xchange, which is focusing on internet of things research and development.
Mr Moretta said they would be working with Jersey Finance and the Jersey Financial Services Commission to shape a fintech strategy and promote the opportunities for using the whole Island as a sandbox, a compact testbed where companies can come and test their digital products and services using our world-class communications networks.