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What We Do

What we do

We help build a prosperous, sustainable and inclusive economy across the Highlands and Islands, attracting more people to live, work, study, invest and visit.

We work with businesses, social enterprises and communities across our region, which extends from Shetland to Argyll, and from the Outer Hebrides to Moray.

We also support businesses looking to locate and expand in our region.

You can find out more about our purpose and priorities in our strategy and operating plan. 


How we work with clients

We work with businesses, social enterprise and communities of all sizes to help them develop and grow.

We take a place-based approach to supporting organisations. This means that we don’t take a one-size-fits-all approach, we tailor support to capitalise on the unique opportunities presented across the region to help each community reach its potential. 

We take a collaborative and flexible approach to engaging with our clients. We aim to provide support that ensures your project is successful, sustainable and delivers economic and social benefits for the Highlands and Islands.

Depending on your needs and the project in question, we can direct you to online support and diagnostics; work with you directly on a programme of development or collaborate on a longer-term basis.

Who we work with

We welcome enquiries from businesses, social enterprises and community groups from across the Highlands and Islands.

We also support businesses looking to locate in our region and take forward many projects at our own hand.

We want to help create a fair and prosperous region that benefits everyone. For this reason, we prioritise our support to achieve the most beneficial and sustainable impacts.

We work with organisations that:


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Create or retain well paid jobs

We work with organisations that pay the real living wage and apply fair work conditions.

Create or retain green jobs

Cutting CO2 emissions is an overarching goal. Green jobs can involve the production of goods or services that benefit the environment or conserve natural resources.

Increase efficiency and outputs

We support organisations to increase productivity by investing in new products, processes or services. This can be achieved through innovation, R&D, technology or reductions in carbon emissions and waste.

Focus on sustainability and growth

We aim to achieve long-term benefits with organisations that can grow sales, increase turnover and reach new markets in Scotland and beyond.

Deliver social and economic impacts

We support organisations that contribute to the social and economic wellbeing and growth of the region. This includes helping communities to acquire and develop income generating assets to provide sustainable services and infrastructure in remote, rural and island areas.

About our support

Our support can include specialist advice across a range of key topics including innovation, R&D and improving productivity, as well as access to property, and funding in the form of equity, loans and grants.

The support we offer is diverse and we tailor it depending on need, opportunity and impact.

Every client that we work with will have the opportunity to benchmark their performance in terms of levels of innovation; progress towards net zero emissions; and organisational values.


Any organisation applying for grant funding from HIE must comply with our fair work conditions for financial support. This includes: 

  • Paying all employees, aged 16 years and above (including apprentices), the Real Living Wage (currently £12.00* per hour) as a minimum.
    If you cannot meet this criterion, please contact us before you apply for funding, email
  • Having a flexible working policy
  • Be able to demonstrate how you support workforce development and foster employee engagement.

* The Real Living Wage increased from £10.90 per hour to £12.00 per hour on 24 October 2023. Employers have 6 months, until 01 May 2024, to implement the increase.

If you would like to speak to someone about the fair work requirement, or need more information, please email


We work closely with several other enterprise and skills bodies, such as Business Gateway and Skills Development Scotland. If we can’t help you we will identify whether any of our partner agencies can help you.

Contact us

Find Business Support

Find Business Support is a national website signposting towards public sector support across Scotland. 

Find Business Support

Fair work conditions for financial support

Any organisation applying for funding from HIE must comply with our fair work conditions for financial support. This includes: 

  • Paying your employees aged 18 years or over the Real Living Wage as a minimum (currently £10.90 per hour).
  • Having a flexible working policy in place and appropriate use of Zero Hours contracts, if you have to use them.
  • You must also be able to demonstrate how you support workforce development and foster employee engagement. 

If you'd like to chat to us about this condition, please get in touch

Fair Work support


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