Bridge, the island’s angel investor network and business accelerator, hosted a private event to celebrate its second birthday and entrepreneurship in the island.

Lieutenant Governor Sir Richard Gozney attended the event at the Bath and Bottle, Douglas.

It was organised with the aim of bringing together almost 100 guests including investors, entrepreneurs and senior members of the business community, who have worked with or supported Bridge since its formation in May 2016.

His Excellency said: ‘It is great to see Bridge reaching its second birthday; they’re going from strength to strength.

‘Bridge does an excellent job in the business community by bringing together entrepreneurs and potential investors through its many networking events. They are helping to promote the Isle of Man and to grow the Manx economy longer term’.

Bridge has met with more than 140 start-ups and entrepreneurs, 53 per cent of these represent the tech and biomed/health sectors and 60 per cent have received free mentoring and assistance from Bridge’s sponsors and team of volunteer mentors.

Bridge provides free mentoring, networking opportunities and pitch events. It also shares viable business opportunities with its long list of registered Bridge investors.

Bridge chairman, Simon Nicholas of KPMG, said: ‘Bridge has had a very busy two years and we’ve met a wide range of businesses from a variety of sectors, many of which have received support and investment from registered investors, as a result of our involvement. Bridge also works closely with its corporate sponsors, who have donated a combined £112,500 to support Bridge (a not for profit) with operational costs.

‘They’ve also donated more than 420 hours of mentoring for start-ups and entrepreneurs in the past two years which is invaluable in helping start-ups become ‘investor-ready’ and develop their business models, to improve their chance of success.

‘Of the start-ups introduced to the Bridge investor network, 19 per cent have received local investment funding, which compares favourably to the UK figures’.

Simon added: ‘UKBAA (UK Business Angels Association) research suggests that only one per cent of UK opportunities actually receive investment, which demonstrates the positive impact Bridge is having on the Isle of Man entrepreneurial ecosystem by comparison. Our mission is to continue to bridge the gap between entrepreneurial talent and the crucial support start-ups need, to reach their full potential and thrive’.