Leaders of Orcadian businesses and communities which are working with Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) are meeting the development agency's most senior people this week (w/b Monday 3 October).
HIE area manager for Orkney Ken Grant is hosting a two-day visit by Chair William Roe, Chief Executive Alex Paterson and Board members William Swann and Craig Spence.
The visitors are attending a dinner on Monday evening (3 October), and will be joined by local business leaders including representatives from the key growth sectors of energy, food and drink, creative industries and tourism.
Tuesday finds them travelling to Shapinsay to visit Balfour Castle, Shapinsay Development Trust and Copla. The end of Tuesday will see the senior HIE team checking progress at the new industrial units being constructed at EMEC's tidal operations base at Hatston and meeting at HIE's office in Kirkwall to get the latest update on marine renewable energy activity in Orkney.
Shapinsay Development Trust has recently installed a 900KW community wind turbine which will provide a sustainable income for the community. Part of the trip includes the HIE staff and Board members visiting the wind turbine and meeting with the turbine development officer to hear how it is affecting and benefiting the community. The trust is one of six being supported by HIE in Orkney through community account management.
Mr Paterson said it was important for HIE staff and Board members to meet their customers and partners face to face and listen to their views.
"Orkney is home to some fantastic opportunities, ambitious businesses and dynamic communities," said Mr Paterson.
"We will be meeting business leaders and community groups who are at the heart of the Orkney economy to hear their issues and see how best we can work together.
"Superfast broadband is also going to be a great enabler for communities and businesses in Orkney, as it will be in other parts of the Highlands and Islands.
"A big part of HIE's role across the region is to work with the ambitious people who are driving our businesses, social enterprises and communities, and to help them define and deliver their goals for growth.
"To do that effectively, it's important that we have regular contact, and discuss the issues that really matter to local people.
"Our area staff in Orkney are working closely day in, day out with a range of partner organisations and business and community leaders.
"That's how you really get to understand what drives people, and to shape what HIE can offer to help them grow and achieve their potential.
"It's incredibly valuable for our Board members, and senior staff to spend time in all of the areas we cover, both to see the impact that HIE's investments are making today and to inform our future decisions."