HIE is an ambitious organisation with a unique remit from the Scottish Government that integrates economic and community development.
They work in a diverse region which extends from Shetland to Argyll, and from the Outer Hebrides to Moray, covering more than half of Scotland’s land mass. They want Highlands and Islands to be a highly successful and competitive region in which increasing numbers of people choose to live, work, study and invest.
HIE is keen to work with businesses whose development plans will lead to a measurable increase in turnover, particularly in international markets, alongside increased employment, especially for young people. They have an account management approach and provide bespoke solutions incorporating a wide range of support, including access to national and international services and expertise.
They invest in building community capacity and confidence; empower communities to acquire, manage and exploit community assets for community benefit; enable sustainable growth in the social economy through strong social enterprises.Visit Website
They focus on the sectors identified in Scotland's Economic Strategy: Food and drink, business services, life sciences, energy, tourism and the creative industries.
They provide sectoral support through a range of interventions: direct support to businesses and social enterprises, specialist programmes and interventions to create the conditions for strong sectoral growth, and influencing sectoral and public policy.
HIE also offers a specialist support service to creative businesses including screen. This offers bespoke support to businesses whether they are account managed or not. this takes the form of industry networks and the international business to business conference and showcase XpoNorth.
The specialist network managers provide an opportunity for the sector to say what support it needs, and provides a range of support from, advice, networking and access to industry nationally and internationally, through to finance and creating direct business opportunities. XpoNorth, held annually in June in Inverness, attracted almost 2,500 attendees in 2017, and was created to bring creative businesses together to look at opportunities and challenges, changes in markets and also to do business. Attendees come from around the world, and has included companies ranging from Sony, Universal, Fox Broadcasting and MTV, through to local sole traders. The event also includes around 100 short film screenings.