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HIE leaders see how support is helping local ventures in Lochaber

16 September 2011

Community leaders and business people in west Lochaber met senior staff and Board members of Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) on Wednesday 14 September.

Morvern Community Development Company, Lochaline Dive Centre and the Glenuig Inn were all on the itinerary for the HIE visitors, including Chair Willy Roe, Chief Executive Alex Paterson and Board members Professor Mary Bownes and Craig Spence.

All three local enterprises are 'account managed' clients of the HIE area team based in Fort William.

HIE introduced account management three years ago as a means of working more closely with hundreds of local businesses, social enterprises and community groups throughout the Highlands and Islands.

Every client has a dedicated contact within HIE's area teams who works alongside them on a long-term basis to support sustainable growth.

"HIE has always believed that community development and economic development go hand in hand," said Alex Paterson, HIE's Chief Executive.

"That's really evident in an area like the West Highlands. Each of the projects we visited today plays a vital role in its local community and contributes to economic growth at the same time.

"It's always valuable to meet the people behind these ventures, to see how HIE's support is helping them succeed, and to discuss how we can work with them in the future.

"At Lochaline, we've worked with the dive centre for several years, and helped Morvern Community Development Company create new pontoons to attract sailing business, contributing our own investment as well as attracting European Union funding.

"HIE support also helped Glenuig Inn install a revolutionary green energy system as part of a major refurbishment.

"Projects like these can make a big difference to people's lives in small communities, and help attract visitors and future investors."

HIE Area Manager Robert Muir, and Head of Operations David Oxley, accompanied the visitors at their local meetings.

The pontoons created by Morvern Community Development Company were supported by HIE, Highland Council and Sail West. European funding was awarded through the European Regional Development Fund.



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