There was a moment, last October, when I just knew Jersey’s digital sector had come of age.
I took to the stage at the Jersey TechAwards, towards the end of our first hugely successful TechWeek, and told the audience of how I kept being asked how we were going to build a digital industry. My response to them, as those in the room may remember, is that we already have one.
It was in that moment, looking around the Chart Room at Castle Quay – the location for our awards ceremony – that I could see the pride and excitement on people’s faces, and during the night got to see and hear evidence of the breadth and depth of our digital industry. Its size, its capability, and its successes.
Thinking back to that night, and reflecting on the whole of 2018, I am reminded of the massive achievements of the past twelve months, thanks to the hard work of all my team at Digital Jersey, but also of those right across our sector who are breaking new ground with their own work on a daily basis.
A lot of last year was about working on strategy and policy, about getting the message out to the island and the world about what we’re doing, but also turning words into actions.
It’s why we launched our Digital Skills Strategy with the University of Exeter, from which we implemented key recommendations including an industry and government partnership to develop digital skills. That, in turn, saw us present an evidence-based data-driven business case to government for funding which means, this year, we open the island’s new Digital Skills Academy.
We took Sandbox Jersey to the UK and France, including a hugely well-received event in London attended by representatives of international embassies and financial institutions. Because they already ‘got’ Jersey’s strength as an international finance centre, they immediately ‘got’ the attraction of our island testbed proposition which gives access to our world-class infrastructure, well-regulated environment, and key decision makers. It’s about helping make things happen fast.
It’s in that same spirit our Start-Up Licensing Scheme is so attractive. Being able to bring talented entrepreneurs to Jersey helps new businesses grow. When they, in turn, need digitally-skilled staff as part of their expansion, everybody benefits.
And we’re doing all this with a really cool brand. We adopted a fresh new look in 2018, together with the launch of a new website, all created on-island. It means the Digital Jersey logo can now be adapted for the full suite of services we offer, from The Hub to Sandbox to our new Internet of Things base in St Brelade: DJX, the Digital Jersey Xchange.
It’s easy to take all this for granted, to see each moment in isolation and forget the magnitude of all that’s been achieved in the space of 12 months.
With that in mind, we start 2019 with a lot of momentum, passion and positivity. And I can’t wait to take to the stage at the TechAwards later this year to remind everybody in our industry and beyond of the digital sector’s ideas, innovation and incredible successes.