Caithness Map :: Links to Site Map Paying too much for broadband? Move to PlusNet broadband and save£££s. Free setup now available - terms apply. PlusNet broadband.  


Financial boost for start-up ventures in Highland and Moray

31st July 2014

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. It is the first funding scheme available through the Business Gateway Moray service.

Loans are available to fund businesses that have not yet started trading, or have been trading for less than 12 months, and that cannot get finance through a bank. There is no arrangement fee for the loan, and the interest rate is fixed at 6%. Applicants must be UK residents, based in the UK, and over 18.

Loans will be available through Business Gateway - a lead partner in this new initiative from the Start Up Loans Company (SULCo). Highland Opportunity will be assessing applications and recommending the loans.

Marie Mackintosh, Chief Executive of Highland Opportunity said: "This new Start-Up Loans scheme is a welcome addition to the existing services Highland Opportunity offers - including Highland Opportunity loan funds, Business Gateway, Enterprise Europe Network, and Prince's Trust Youth Business Scotland.

"Whilst the approval of a loan is ultimately decided by SULCo, our Business Gateway team will help clients to develop their business ideas, plans and skills, and Highland Opportunity will be assessing and recommending applicants to SULCo - increasing their chances of success. We have already had several applicants for this scheme who are progressing well with our assistance, and we look forward to welcoming more."

Start-Up Loans is a national scheme, and there are other delivery partners offering these loans in Highland and Moray. Highland Opportunity and Business Gateway are uniquely placed, however, to offer a range of assistance and have unrivalled experience of providing local business support that will not only help clients to find the funding best suited to them, but to support them to make their business a success.

Highland Opportunity has been providing business loans and support for Highland businesses for nearly 30 years and awarded £557,500 of loans last year. Its Business Gateway Highland and Moray staff also have extensive experience of assisting new businesses - helping over 380 businesses to start-up last year.

Wick councillor Bill Fernie, a director on the board of Highland Opportunity Ltd said, " This offers another opportunity for north businesses in particular at time when a huge amount of activity is taking place in the Caithness economy from announcement about the Beatrice wind Farm to school building and infrastructure projects in Wick. Starting a new business is not easy but with this additional source of finance available it may mean more can get started and put their ideas into action."

Councillor Thomas Prag, Chairman of The Highland Council's Planning, Development and Infrastructure Committee and Vice-Chair of the Highland Opportunity Board, said: "This is a fantastic example of Highland and Moray Councils proactively working together to support local businesses and the local economy. Through our Business Gateway services, we are confident that clients will receive the highest standard of impartial and local support every step of the way: from guidance through the process and securing a loan, to developing a robust business plan, to skills training, to launching a sustainable enterprise, to ongoing support to help make their business a success. We are all eager to see the results."

Councillor John Cowe, Chair of the Economic Development and Infrastructure Services Committee, Moray Council, said: "It is brilliant to see the launch of a scheme that is designed to assist new businesses, support the local economy, and stimulate enterprise and job creation. This provision of financial assistance through Business Gateway is new in Moray, and a very welcome development. I look forward to hearing about the new ventures this scheme assists and the benefits it, along with our existing services, brings to our area."

Highland businesses can find their local office at or by calling the Inverness office on 01463 713889.

Moray businesses can contact the Elgin office on 01343 563634 or can find out more at

Contact information to find out more -

All of Moray - Elgin office: 01343 563634
Inverness and Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey, Ross-shire – Inverness office: 01463 713889
Sutherland – Bonar Bridge office: 01863 766128
Caithness – Wick office: 01955 605360
Skye & Lochalsh – Portree office: 01478 611501
Lochaber – Fort William office: 07787 283216

Background information
Highland Opportunity is the Enterprise Trust for the Highlands and the business support arm of The Highland Council.

Business Gateway is the national business support service that is delivered by local authorities. In Highland and Moray, this service is delivered on behalf of The Highland Council and Moray Council by Highland Opportunity.
The Highland Council and Moray Council signed a Memorandum of Understanding formalising Business Gateway and Highland Opportunity's delivery of the Start-Up Loans scheme in July.
Start Up Loans is a government-funded national scheme that funds and mentors entrepreneurs. The Start Up Loan Company works through a national distribution network of Delivery Partners who operate across the UK – of which Business Gateway is one.

All loans ultimately need to be approved by SULCo, but Business Gateway will help applicants develop their business ideas and skills, and Highland Opportunity will be recommending loans to SULCo. This will increase their chances of success.


Related Businesses


Related Articles

Council gets tough on unlicensed HMO
Last week, The Highland Council issued rent suspension orders (RSO) in relation to a number of properties being operated as unlicensed houses in multiple occupation (HMO).   The orders, which have been served on the owners and tenants, mean that the tenants are no longer under any obligation to pay rent to their landlord.  
Council Leader Welcomes Scottish Government's Rural Tourism Infrastructure Fund
The Leader of The Highland Council Councillor Margaret Davidson welcomed the First Minister's announcement of a Rural Tourism Infrastructure Fund to deliver much needed improvements to tourist infrastructure to support the rising numbers of visitors to the Highlands.   This comes the week after figures were published for August which showed Highland visitor attractions were performing 17% higher compared to August last year, a result that is backed by accounts from residents and businesses that the area has been hugely popular with visitors this season.  
Highland is ready for winter - are you?Thumbnail for article : Highland is ready for winter - are you?
The Highland Council is ready for winter and prepared to grit council roads as the council's winter maintenance programme starts on 14 October.   Trunk roads in Highland are the responsibility of Transport Scotland and their operators Bear Scotland.  
Trading Standards are looking for Test Purchasers
Trading Standards are looking for young people to take part in test purchasing exercises.  We want to find out which shops are breaking the law by selling age restricted products to young people under 18.  
Killimster Moss Road OpeningThumbnail for article : Killimster Moss Road Opening
Caithness Civic leader Cllr Willie Mackay (centre) cuts the tape at the opening of the newly refurbished half mile Killimster Moss stretch of the B876 Wick to Thurso road.   Looking on are some of the Highland council workers praised for the project which was done on time and within budget.  
Praise for B876 Killimster Moss road refurbishmentThumbnail for article : Praise for B876 Killimster Moss road refurbishment
Caithness Civic Leader Cllr Willie Mackay has welcomed the reopening of the B876 Killimster Moss Road.   A stretch of the Caithness Wick to Thurso road at Killimster Moss was refurbished over a four week programme of improvement and reopened on Friday 29 September.  
Consultation on review of Highland polling stations
A chance to have your say.   Voters are being invited to have their say on a review of polling places throughout the Highland Council area The Council has today (Monday 2 October 2017) launched a consultation over its review of election polling districts and polling places.  
£1 million for school libraries over 3 years
The Scottish Government is allocating £1 million to improve school libraries over the next three years.   Launched today by the Deputy First Minister, the School Library Improvement Fund will be open for education authorities to apply for funding on behalf of school libraries in their area.  
Highland Council responds to SPA decisions on the Inverness Police Control Room
The Scrutiny Lead for The Highland Council, Cllr Matthew Reiss responded to the decisions made today by the Scottish Police Authority (SPA) at their meeting in Inverness.   He said: "We are naturally deeply disappointed by the decisions today to close the Inverness Control Room and to spread the National Database Enquiry Unit between Inverness and Govan.  
Independent councillor returns in by-election - Tain and Easter Ross by-election resultsThumbnail for article : Independent councillor returns in by-election - Tain and Easter Ross by-election results
The by-election for a councillor to represent the Tain and Easter Ross Ward on The Highland Council has been won by Alasdair Rhind (Independent) who was one of six candidates who contested the vacancy.   The bi-election was brought about by the resignation of Jamie Stone following his success in the Westminster elections He joins Councillors Fiona Robertson (Independent) and Derek Louden (SNP) in representing Ward 7 on The Highland Council.  

[Printer Friendly Version]