500th Request For Business Assistance
The Business information and advice service for the Highland and Moray Councils which is delivered by The Highland Council's Enterprise Trust, Highland Opportunity Limited, has just reached its first major milestone today with at total of 500 requests for advice and assistance having been received since the service started on 1st April.
Enquiries to Business Gateway have come via the national website www.bgateway.com and the national telephone number 0845 609 6611 and 30% of enquiries have come from people visiting the walk-in shops in Inverness and Elgin where business advisers are on hand to answer queries and provide information.
Of the 500 enquires, 63% are new business start up enquiries and 37% are queries from existing businesses.
Business advice has ranged from food retail businesses to online sales and from recording studios to innovative life sciences projects. Advice on marketing especially e-commerce has been in great demand. Also popular have been requests for assistance under the Prince's Scottish Youth Business Trust (PSYBT) which is managed by Highland Opportunity Limited.
Councillor Helen Carmichael, Chair of Highland Opportunity Ltd said: "A business has contacted the Business Gateway every hour since we opened 10 weeks ago. We are pleased that businesses right across the region have been so willing to come and ask for advice and assistance."
Nine free two day workshops covering topics such as personal and business planning, managing resources, VAT and tax requirements, setting sales targets and marketing have proved to be popular with all available places fully booked well in advance. Due to their success, it is hoped that further workshops aimed at helping people who are considering starting their own business can be organised in venues across the Highlands over the next few months.
Donald Mackenzie, Business Gateway Services Manager said: "We are delighted at the response during the first two months of operation and are looking forward to a busy summer assisting the business community right across Highland and Moray."
Business Gateway offers informed and impartial free advice on every aspect of starting, developing and running a business, from feasibility to financial planning to market research. There is also an ongoing supporting programme of free workshops and events where entrepreneurs can network with other like-minded people and develop the skills they need to run their business from day to day.
Ten Business Gateway advisers are based throughout Highland and Moray to help businesses at every stage. They can also connect business to the Prince's Scottish Youth Business Trust and the Enterprise Europe Network, as well as provide access routes to finance.
Since April 2009 the Business Gateway service has been delivered in Highland and Moray by Highland Opportunity Limited, Highland Council's own Enterprise Trust.
Two fully staffed Business Shops are;
81 Castle Street, Inverness (01463 713889)
and 17 High Street, Elgin (01343 563634)
In Caithness Wick Enterpise Centre offers a range of services
Contact Jennifer Irvine
Tel 01955 605360
More than 15,000 homes and businesses across Highland will benefit from the next phase of fibre broadband roll-out, as part of the £146m Digital Highlands and Islands project. Work over the next six months will bring next generation broadband to 15 new communities in the Highlands and Islands, and roll-out is extending into Caithness for the first time.
The Caithness & North Sutherland Regeneration Partnership (CNSRP) is organising an event to allow companies to better understand the Investment and Supply Chain opportunities in the Caithness area. This one day programme is suitable for Oil & Gas companies who either need capacity for servicing West of Shetland / Atlantic Frontier opportunities, or want to explore the excellent skills base in the area.
Local business support organisations are coming together this month to host a unique event as part of an ongoing initiative to help local businesses find out about, and harness, the support available to do business overseas. This comes after two recent surveys found that Scottish businesses want to grow internationally, but feel that they are held back by a lack of resources.
Three Business Gateway specialist advisers are coming to Thurso next week (Tuesday 2 September 2014) to offer local businesses advice and practical guidance on three topics: Accessing Finance Winning Public Contracts Taking on Staff You can book a one-hour appointment with any or all of these advisers. All appointments will be based at the Naver Business Centre in Thurso.
In the Highlands over the last 3 months 149 employment opportunities have been created through the Council's advisory and business support services. During a meeting of the Council's Planning, Development and Infrastructure Committee held today (Wednesday 20 August) members heard that 71 new businesses have been supported by Business Gateway to start up and a further 122 Highland businesses already serving local markets have accessed advice over the last quarter.
Three Business Gateway advisers specialising in helping businesses to develop through accessing finance, winning public contracts, and recruiting staff will be available for one-to-one clinics in Brora, Thurso or Lochinver on 26 August, 2 September and 3 September, respectively. Local small to medium sized enterprises can book one-hour meetings with these advisers throughout these days to get advice and practical guidance tailored to their business.
Entrepreneurs in Highland and Moray are now able to access personal loans to help start their own business thanks to the new government-funded Start-Up Loans scheme which is locally delivered by Business Gateway and Highland Opportunity. For Moray businesses, this is an especially important development.
The biggest fibre cable laying project undertaken in the UK in recent years has begun on the West Coast of Scotland to deliver superfast broadband to some of the country's most remote island communities. Thousands of homes and businesses are set to benefit from the publicly funded digital network being built to bring world class connectivity to Scotland.
Twenty-one food and drink businesses from the Highlands and Islands will attend an unprecedented ‘meet the buyer' event ahead of the Commonwealth Games. The Showcasing Scotland event is the first large scale event of its type to be run for the Scottish food and drink industry.
Four Highlands and Islands companies won a total of £173,500 last week in the fourth round of the Scottish EDGE competition. The Scottish EDGE competition is designed to help innovative young Scottish companies to expand and grow by creating more jobs in Scotland and taking advantage of opportunities to move into international markets.
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