HIE has launched an initiative which will call on high profile leaders to promote the advantages of doing business in Caithness and North Sutherland.
A number of top executives working across the UK, who already have business or personal connections with the area, have pledged their support as ambassadors to encourage new inward investment opportunities.
Senior figures in multi nationals like BP and AMEC are amongst those playing a part in promoting the area. Andrew McCree, of energy and environmental company AEA Group, commented: "This is an innovative approach. Caithness and North Sutherland has a number of strong business connections and it is important that these are fully utilised to the benefit of the local economy.
"It is a remarkable part of the world with a talented population and anything that can be done to encourage people or companies from outside the area to invest should be done. We should also not underestimate the ability of people from this area to start up and create their own businesses and I hope the Caithness and North Sutherland Industry Ambassadors can play a part in helping them succeed."
Roy Kirk, HIE's area manager, has held initial meetings in Scotland and in London to help the project gather momentum. As well as the business community these discussions have also drawn on the international experience of Scotland Development International, which creates business links across the world.
Mr Kirk commented: "There are some very talented and well connected business people already working in or with our businesses in Caithness and North Sutherland. We want to encourage these individuals, who are passionate about what the area has to offer, to help us build a business network. Working through HIE we can share information widely on the valuable natural resources we have here, the highly skilled nature of our workforce and the investment opportunities available."
"We have already developed key inward investment material for Caithness and Sutherland. This, plus information from the people and businesses of Caithness and North Sutherland themselves will help us keep our ambassadors up to date with latest developments.
"We can also get feedback on industry perceptions of our area. Having industry experts not only informed on what we have to offer but actively promoting our infrastructure and services is hugely valuable. We are convinced that promoting our business' skills and adaptability is key in showing how we can meet the needs of new business developing here."
Anyone who knows a senior contact in a relevant business outside of the area who might be able to help develop the network can get let HIE know by contacting Eilidh.Gunn@hient.co.uk
HIE is a member of the Caithness and North Sutherland Regeneration Partnership. The partnership comprises of HIE, the Highland Council, the NDA and Scottish Government.