Highlands and Islands Business Survey - Latest Findings Published
21st December 2016
The latest findings of the Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) Business Panel survey have been published (Tuesday 20 December).
A total of 1,004 businesses throughout the region took part in the survey between 29 September and 3 November.
While overall confidence in Scotland's economy remains low, over four fifths (82%) of respondents reported good or steady performance in their own business over the past 12 months, and 89% anticipate growth or stability in the next two years.
Over a third (36%) of companies that export from the region reported an increase in exports in the past six months.
There are varying views from businesses in the Highlands and Islands on the importance of access to the European single market and free movement of people across the European Union. While many do not currently see these as being important to the operation of their business, there is a clear cohort that do.
Most (65%) of exporting companies felt that access to the single market was important. More than half (55%) of tourism businesses and larger businesses (57%) with 25 or more employees felt free movement of people across the EU was important.
Larger companies also expressed concern over potentially shrinking labour markets following the UK's departure from the EU. The vast majority (91%) of non-UK EU nationals employed in the region are permanent staff. Larger firms and companies in the tourism sector are more likely to be employers of this group.
Carroll Buxton, HIE's director of regional development, said: "The feedback that businesses across the region have been performing well and are optimistic about the future is good news. Clearly there are uncertainties and concerns over what lies ahead but the evidence suggests continuing resilience in the business community. This will be linked to the diversity of small to medium sized companies and the strength of our growth sectors, such as tourism, food and drink and life sciences. We look forward to continuing our work in supporting these growth businesses and sectors and maintaining that resilience, which will be crucial as we move forward.
The panel survey findings build understanding and track the potential implications of the UK's vote to leave the European Union for businesses in the region. Findings are shared with Scottish Government and other partners to ensure that they are kept informed of the impacts on the Highlands and Islands business community.
The HIE Business Panel Survey report is available at http://www.hie.co.uk/businesspanel
Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) has appointed a new director of business and sector development. Originally from County Durham, David Oxley joined the organisation in 2004 as head of operations in Lochaber before moving to Forres with his wife and son in 2011 to take up the role of area manager in Moray.
The development of Inverness Campus moves another step forward with tenders being invited to build a second life science building. Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) is leading on the development of the campus.
Aerospace and defence sector opportunities in the region highlighted at event Businesses in the Highlands and Islands are being invited to a free workshop to find out how the region can benefit from opportunities in the aerospace, defence, security and space industries. It will be held in at An Lòchran, Inverness Campus on Tuesday 26 September 2017 The event is organised by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) and ADS Scotland which is the Scottish branch of the aerospace, defence, security and space industry trade organisation, ADS.
Over 250 community leaders from across Scotland will meet in Aviemore today and tomorrow (21-22 September) at a national conference to look at the impact and future role of community-led development on Scotland's social and economic fortunes. The event, hosted by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) and supported by the Scottish Government, brings together community groups, academia and experts to discuss the vital contribution communities make to Scotland and consider how to support their continuing and increasing ambitions.
Wave Energy Scotland (WES) has just announced over £660K of funding for 13 new projects aiming to develop innovative control systems for wave energy converters. This initiative brings together control systems specialists from mature sectors such as aerospace and oil and gas, to work with Scottish technology developers in addressing the challenges of controlling and integrating Wave Energy Converter (WEC) systems and their components.
Highlands and Islands Enterprise is offering its clients across the region support to protect themselves from cyber attacks, by launching the Cyber Strong business project. Co-inciding with Digital Leaders Cyber Resilience Week (11-15 September 2017), the agency is launching a programme to help local businesses and social enterprises achieve national Cyber Essentials accreditation.
Food and drink businesses looking to grow through innovation are encouraged to register for a free workshop which takes place in Inverness on 31 August. The event will focus on the new ‘Make Innovation Happen' service which provides a single access point for all innovation support to the Scottish food and drink industry.
Twenty-three Scottish companies are travelling to Norway this week to highlight the country's expertise at the world's largest aquaculture technology exhibition. Aqua Nor 2017 gets under way in Trondheim on Tuesday (15 August 2017), and runs until Friday (18 August 2017).
The successful North Coast 500 tourist route will need strong co-ordinated support from the public sector to ensure its long term sustainability. Experiences of the initiative should also be shared with groups around the country looking to develop similar projects.
The North Coast 500 (NC500) tourist route, launched in 2015, has had a positive impact on both visitor numbers and business trade. This is according to a new report commissioned by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE).
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