Business Support

Business Support

Business Gateway

Business Gateway is the first point of access for information and advice on all services offered to business and social enterprises in the Highlands. Business Gateway helps new and existing businesses grow and prosper through a combination of online support, access to finance, local workshops, training, impartial advice and specialist advisory services. Its services are free of charge and are available throughout the Highlands.

Advice on growing your business from Business Gateway can be found here:

Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE)

HIE is the Scottish Government's economic and community development agency for the north and west of Scotland. In line with the Government Economic Strategy, HIE's purpose is to generate sustainable economic growth in every part of the Highlands and Islands.

HIE can offer an extensive array of business support and advice, including:

  • Digital support
  • Leadership support
  • Advice on innovation and R&D
  • Export advice
  • Manufacturing advice
  • Property for rental, and advice on property options
  • Grants - subject to European State Aid constraints

HIE's four strategic priorities are as follows:

  • Supporting businesses and social enterprises to shape and realise their growth aspirations
  • Strengthening communities and fragile areas
  • Developing growth sectors, particularly distinctive regional opportunities
  • Creating the conditions for a competitive and low-carbon region

Skills Development Scotland (SDS)

SDS is a non-departmental public body that acts as the national skills body. It plays a key role in driving the success of Scotland's economic future and works with partners to:

  • Support individuals to reach their potential
  • Help make skills work for employers
  • Improve the skills and learning system.

SDS’ Skillsforce brings together a wide range of support from multiple areas into one area in order to help the development of the skills needs of businesses.

Chambers of Commerce

The region has four chambers of commerce, located in InvernessLochaber, the Cairngorm National Park and Caithness. These membership organisations support the business activities of their members through a broad number of services. This can range from promotion and marketing of their areas as destinations to conduct business to lobbying for infrastructural improvements that will improve the operating environment of their members.

Federation of Small Businesses (FSB)

The FSB is the largest group in the UK that campaigns on behalf of self employed, micro and small businesses. Within the region, the FSB lobbies and liaises with the government and public sector in order to enhance the region’s ability to increase the numbers of small businesses and foster the  growth potential of existing companies and traders. The FSB also provides services to members that ranges from tax advice to legal opinions from law professionals.

Scottish Council for Development Industry (SCDI) 

SCDI is an independent development network that aims to influence government and key stakeholders in order to create sustainable economic growth for Scotland. SCDI is also committed to supporting the strengthening and development of the Highland economy. It organises networking and membership engagement events across the region as well as a number of Influencers’ Series dinners. SCDI also organises the Highlands & Islands Business Excellence Awards and Annual Dinner that recognises and celebrates the successes of businesses in the Highlands and Islands.

The site provides businesses and enterprises a range of advice on a variety of topics including starting up, employing people, managing a business, taxation, finance and accounts and licencing. 

Visit Scotland Business Support

Visit Scotland Business Support offers to help to Scottish tourism businesses through access to:

  • Advice materials on funding opportunities (such as the Visit Scotland Growth Fund)
  • Training and marketing opportunities
  • Events and training
  • Quality assurance advice
  • Sustainable tourism resource centre
  • A local business manager for a more personalised service.