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HIE Launches Free Business Advice Line

5th January 2009

Photograph of HIE Launches Free Business Advice Line

Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) today formally launches a campaign to assist businesses to navigate their way through the current economic downturn.

The agency has set up a dedicated advice line with business experts on 08000 884 884 offering free tailored advice to businesses of any size and in any sector. Callers can also get contact details of other agencies such as HM Revenue and Customs or Scottish Development International which may be able to assist them with particular issues, or go on to book a free one-to-one consultation with a business adviser.

"We want everyone that could benefit from this service to be aware of it," said Carroll Buxton, one of HIE's regional directors. "We will be running advertisements in local newspapers and on local radio during the next few weeks and will be sending details of this service direct to 17,000 businesses in our area. We also have a downloadable podcast on our website homepage which tells people a little of what they can expect from our advice line."

"This is a time when businesses need to be taking a strong hold of their business plans, ensuring that they have a strategy fit for current trading conditions and that they are pursuing every viable opportunity. HIE can help with this and I would urge anyone who thinks their business could benefit from advice at this time, to get in touch with us."

The advice line is available from 8am until 6pm on weekdays and from 9am until 1pm on Saturday mornings. It is free to call from BT landlines but, as usual, mobile phone users may be charged by their service providers.

HIE's director of operations Douglas Yule said: "HIE aims to assist businesses to remain resilient throughout this period and to be in a good position to capitalise on the region's natural advantages as the economy recovers. Our 08000 884884 advice line and free one-to-one advice sessions are part of a wider campaign being rolled out by this agency to help the business community to achieve these ends."

Other HIE initiatives in its campaign include:
Web-based information - HIE's dedicated business website - - has been enhanced to provide advice specifically aimed at businesses experiencing difficulties - such as how to self-assess the well-being of your own company or how to defer tax payments.

Interest Relief Grant - For businesses of growth which find that borrowing rates have risen considerably, HIE will consider providing grant assistance towards the increased interest element.

Acceleration of capital spend - HIE has announced its intention to accelerate its capital spend by starting work on a 2.5m business unit in Forres, formerly planned for 2009/10. It is currently examining other projects which may similarly, be accelerated, for the benefit of the local construction industry and supply chain.

During 2009 first quarter - HIE intends to provide:
Business clinics - A series of afternoon business clinics will be run throughout the region, a minimum of one in each HIE local area, where partner business organisations such as business intermediaries, HM Revenues and Customs, local authorities etc, will present workshops on specific areas such as: bank finance, handling redundancy etc.

Business masterclass programme - In partnership with other business organisations, HIE will organise masterclasses held by high profile, respected presenters. This programme of presentations on sector or issue-specific topics which will be made available by webcast and, after the event, as a podcast via the HIE site.

HIE web site -
HIE Business web site -


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