Small business bulletin for Highlands and Islands

Local News 26 Jun 2024

Local small business news from David Richardson, your FSB Development Manager. Updates cover Highlands, Orkney, Shetland, Outer Hebrides, Western Isles, Stornoway, Caithness, Sutherland, Ross-shire, Inverness, Badenoch & Strathspey, Lochaber, Fort William, Skye, Argyll, Oban. 26 June 2024

In summary

June was a very varied month, highlights including a two-day visit to the Highlands by FSB’s UK Chair, Martin McTague OBE and a three-day visit to Orkney. And aside from that we were also very active in the media (broadcast, print and online), this being the best was of getting the FSB’s message out to politicians and policymakers across the region, and we attended some significant meetings and got out and about to meet members. More below.

Featured news and events

UK Chair Martin McTague OBE visits the Highlands

The FSB’s National Chair, Martin McTague OBE, gets out and about whenever he can, and it was a pleasure to introduce him to just a few of our amazing Highland members during his two-day visit in June. The agenda was simple: to demonstrate both the amazing variety of businesses in our region; the high degree of professionalism; and the passion for and commitment to the Highlands by its business community.

Day one saw us head north from Inverness Airport to Dornoch, dropping in on five members on the way, and meeting more at a small roundtable dinner in the Royal Golf Hotel that evening. Day two saw us head south, visiting six more members in Carrbridge, Nethy Bridge, Grantown-on-Spey and Aviemore.

So, was the aim achieved? Did Martin leave with a better understanding of why two of the first four winners of the overall FSB UK Small Business of the Year award came from the Highlands? Yes, judging from our conversations in the car between visits he did indeed. But more than that, he got an invaluable insight into business in the Highlands – both the opportunities and the problems and pitfalls- and that is all to the good.

Scotland Virtual Networking

Chat to old and new contacts from right across the country and build your network. Why not join us on 23 July where your host will be FSB member and local business owner Spencer Thomson, who will also make sure you’re up to speed on FSB member benefits. This free FSB virtual networking is open to all businesses - both FSB members and non-members are welcome to attend - so please feel free to share with your networks.

Book your free place now

In other news

A Visit To Orkney

June also saw a visit to Orkney by Highlands & Islands Development Manager, David Richardson.

David writes, “On landing in St Margaret’s Hope I headed north to Kirkwall’s Pickaquoy Centre, where Business Gateway Orkney hosted a networking lunch for me. This was an excellent opportunity for me to talk about the work of the FSB and the benefits of membership, and for those present to raise key issues of concern. It was a very stimulating 90 minutes.

“Over the three days I met more members and non-members, and I enjoyed detailed discussions with Constituency MSP Liam McArthur; HIE’s Orkney Area Manager, Graeme Harrison, and Head of Business Growth in Orkney, Ruth Kirkpatrick; Orkney Islands Council’s Economic Development Manager, Gavin Barr; and VisitScotland’s Orkney Development Manager, Cheryl Chapman. And last, but certainly not least given the importance of the media to our role as ‘The Voice Of Smaller Businesses’, I met reporter for ‘The Orcadian’ newspaper, Ethan Flett.

“Visits like these really are incredibly important to a campaigning organisation like the FSB, for surveys can only tell us so much. Scotland is far from being one homogenous country, and it’s vital that voices from all parts are taken onboard.”

Federation of Small Businesses calls on Ofgem to take action on standing charges paid by small firms

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has called for the energy regulator Ofgem to take action on the standing charges paid by small businesses, many of whom have seen the daily fixed price they pay, regardless of usage levels, soar over recent months. FSB has written to Ofgem’s chief executive Jonathan Brearley to draw his attention to the issue, and to recognise the “specific, negative impact standing charges are having on small firms”, the letter says. 

Find out more here.  

Consultation on business lease for retail, hospitality, and beauty premises

On 30 April 2024, the Scottish Law Commission published its Discussion Paper on Aspects of Leases: Tenancy of Shops (Scotland) Act 1949. It discusses these questions in relation to the law as it stands. It puts forward ideas on what the law should be. You can respond to the Discussion Paper and give your input into what a future low might look like. Responses can be made until 31 July 2024.

Find out more here.  

Still in the news

FSB report highlights the impact of shoplifting

One in ten independent shops lost more than £10,000 to shoplifting in the last two years, according to a report by FSB. Tina McKenzie, policy chair at FSB, said shoplifting is a “major source of stress for small retailers”. “Traditional crime, including organised shoplifting, took away more than £1,000 from over half of small business victims across England and Wales in the last two years, with one in ten losing more than £10,000.”

Read more here.

Business Support Grants & Funds

Find Business Support provides an overview of all funding and services offered by public sector organisations across Scotland, making it quicker and easier for business owners to find the information, advice and support you need. Information is available for businesses of all sizes and types – from start-ups to established companies, sole traders to large enterprises, and commercial businesses to social enterprises.

Read more here.

More news and activity near you 

Get in touch

David Richardson

Your FSB Development Manager for the Highlands and Islands is David Richardson. If you'd like more information about the topics above, or if you have news about this area that you'd like to share, please get in touch.