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500th Request For Business Assistance

21st June 2009

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 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
07921 758450


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