scientist looking through a microscope in a lab at UHI

Base your business here

Find out why you should set up in the Highlands and Islands.

Highlands And Islands Investment Proposition

""

Thinking about doing business in the Highlands and Islands?

We can help. We can provide you with access to the complete range of services, information and the advice you’ll need when choosing to locate here. 

You can rely on expert support at every stage of your investment decision. From setting up local connections to helping you understand the local jobs market, and from finding the ideal location to accessing critical funding, we have valuable knowledge and insights to share with you.

What’s more, our committed partners are ready with everything you need to invest here – whether that’s business advice, finance, IT, recruitment, property, or product and skills development.

Explore more about our region below or if you want to know more about why our region could work for you, please get in touch. We’ll make sure you get the very best package of support.

Make an enquiry

Why the Highlands and Islands? Hear from people who have already made the move

Why the Highlands and Islands

The Highlands and Islands is a vibrant region with a thriving economy and a wealth of natural assets. As rich in development opportunities as it is in culture and heritage, our region offers the ideal location to live, work, study and invest.

Inverness is one of Europe’s fastest growing cities with culture and convenience, contrasted by striking mountains and coastlines. Charming towns like Fort William, Oban, Portree, Stornoway and Grantown-on-Spey dot the landscape and locations such as Orkney, the Outer Hebrides and the Highlands often rank amongst the top UK locations for work-life balance.

Across all sectors, new opportunities for regional innovation and prosperity are underpinned by strong educational infrastructure, while affordable property options and easy access to the great outdoors come together to create an exceptional quality of life.

We have a highly talented and diverse workforce as well as an excellent network of suppliers, industries and supply chain operations. We have a strong labour market with higher employment, lower unemployment and more employees in high or medium skilled occupations than Scotland as a whole.

A great pace of life, vibrant culture, thriving business sectors and communities, an expansive outdoor adventure playground and a location well connection locally, nationally and internationally are just some of the reasons to base yourself here.

Speak to us today about how to base your business here and enjoy all the Highlands and Islands have to offer.

It’s a unique set-up here, with academics, the public and private sector working together and sharing knowledge and facilities. It’s very much about creating connections – we help them, and they help us. It’s been the ideal place to grow our company.
Pawel de Sternberg Stojalowski, Aseptium

Read More

white and red tidal device

Key industries and assets

Businesses operating in marine science, oil and gas, health tech, space and renewable energy thrive here thanks to an abundance of natural assets.

Tourism and our food and drink industries are world-renowned, and investor attractiveness is boosted by the growing international reputation of the life sciences and aerospace sectors across the region.

More about key industries

A talented and skilled workforce

When it comes to finding the talent you need, the Highlands and Islands benefit from a strong talent pool of well-educated, skilled and knowledgeable professionals across a broad range of sectors. From apprenticeships to industry leaders, the region offers a dynamic workforce with a higher number of people
in high or medium skilled occupations than in Scotland as a whole.

Seven Universities have a presence in our region producing 10,000 graduates per year, giving your business access to a constant supply of highly educated, quality talent across a range of disciplines.

  • University of the Highlands and Islands
  • Glasgow School of Art
  • University of Stirling
  • Heriot-Watt University
  • University of Aberdeen
  • Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC)
  • Robert Gordon University

UNIVERSITY OF THE HIGHLANDS AND ISLANDS 

The region is home to Scotland’s newest university – the University of the Highlands and Islands. A campus based university, it offers a range of courses at 13 locations across the region. It also provides local and online access to over 40,000 students.

Inverness College UHI opened its doors to students at Inverness Campus in August 2015. The new facility which represents a £50 million investment occupying 18,500 sq.m, enables Inverness College to realise its ambitious vision of creating an iconic, modern, tertiary education environmet.

main atrium in Inverness College UHI
Moving here was first and foremost a lifestyle decision for me, though the business benefits have turned out to be excellent too. It’s been great for the whole family – we have excellent schooling here and it’s a good quality of life.
Brendon Wallace, Founder and partner, BC Technologies

Read More

Inverness Campus 2019

Find the right property for you

As the region's economic and community development agency, we have land and property developments right across our region that can often be tailored to fit your specification. 

Explore property and land

We also invest in large scale developments such as Inverness Campus and the European Marine Science Park

View prime property developments

Passengers arriving at Inverness Airport

A globally connected region

The Highlands and Islands region covers almost 27,000 square kilometres and has comprehensive transport links that keep people and businesses well connected. Strong road, rail and air connections underline the global interconnectivity of the region, making travelling to, from and around the Highlands and Islands easy.

By Air: There are nine national and international airports spread across the region, with direct flights from Inverness airport to major European cities such as London, Amsterdam, Dublin and Belfast. 

By rail: The region has an excellent railway infrastructure which traverses the whole of Scotland and major train stations in the UK. Inverness acts as the primary railway hub for the mainland north of Scotland, connecting the region to Edinburgh and Glasgow in the south, Aberdeen in the east, Thurso and Wick in the north and the Kyle of Lochalsh in the west.

By road: Major trunk roads connect the Highlands and Islands with the rest of Scotland and the UK. There is a direct highway corridor to Inverness or a more scenic route via Loch Ness. The Highlands and Islands has a well-developed electric vehicle infrastructure network with an impressive number of publicly available charging points relative to the region’s population size.

By Sea: A network of regular ferry services provides access to and from the region all year round, connecting the mainland with some of the islands and the more rural communities.

Digital connectivity: Commercial and publicly funded fibre broadband rollout has delivered access to superfast speeds for over 80% of homes and businesses across the Highlands and Islands. Ultrafast full fibre is available to around a quarter of the region’s premises.

Regional projects and investment opportunities

We invest in significant developments across the region where we can take advantage of our distinct regional opportunities, natural assets, skills availability and sectoral clusters to support the growth of thriving businesses and communities.

Inverness and Cromarty Firth Green Freeport

Inverness and Cromarty Firth Green Freeport - Building a world-beating floating offshore wind manufacturing sector with sites in the Cromarty Firth, Invergordon, Nigg, and Inverness.

Inverness Campus

Inverness Campus is the ideal location for Life Sciences and Technology companies to grow their business - working collaboratively with those in research and academia, and alongside the NHS.

European Marine Science Park

The European Marine Science Park The science park brings together innovative companies with the staff of a world class marine research institution and a skilled talent pool of graduates.

Orkney Campus

Supporting the growth of Orkney's world-leading marine renewables, energy and low carbon sectors.

Enterprise Park Forres

Our business park is already home to specialist companies who are leaders in their fields, including technology, manufacturing and engineering.

Bow Fiddle Rock in Moray sitting against purple and pink sunset over the sea

HIGH-QUALITY, LOW-COST LOCATION

The region is one of the most cost-competitive in the whole of Scotland – and the UK – affording you and your people greater lifestyle opportunities and welcomed financial freedom.

Businesses like yours will benefit from our unrivalled natural resources and ambitious cross-sectoral collaboration, while being connected to the rest of Scotland, the UK and the world.

From remote cottages and seaside villages, cosmopolitan flats and modern family homes, the Highlands and Islands has a wide choice of property to buy and rent, perfect for people of all budgets. Better still, the region is committed to building affordable homes for all.

Regional Growth Deals are set to deliver sustained, secure economic and community-wide prosperity and transform the region with a public and private sector cash injection totalling £775 million over the next 10-15 years.

GROWTH DEAL PROJECTS INCLUDE:

  • £105 million for the council area of Moray, supporting eight projects, including the development of the Advanced Technology and Innovation Campus (MAATIC).
  • £70 million for Argyll and Bute to position the area as a must-visit location for the international maritime leisure market.
  • £335 million for the Islands to boost green jobs and sustainable energy, health, tourism and food and drink sectors while supporting the decarbonisation of Orkney, Shetland, and the Outer Hebrides.

Highlights of our region

The Highlands and Islands is the perfect location to enjoy the best of both worlds: coastal or rural
living and bustling city life. When you choose the Highlands and Islands, you’ll experience one of the most distinctive and diverse landscapes anywhere in the UK. With scenic coastlines, sandy golden beaches and picturesque rolling hills, there’s so much to explore, right on your doorstep.

You’ll discover a treasure trove of global tourism attractions, from Loch Ness, the Isle of Skye and its Fairy Pools and the stone age settlement of Skara Brae in the Orkney islands to the Cairngorms, the mystical Callanish Stones in the Outer Hebrides, Urquhart Castle and Ben Nevis, the famous Bealach na Bà single-track road through the mountains of the Applecross peninsula, and Eilean Donan Castle. What’s more, there’s an endless number of sporting and outdoor activities on offer in the Highlands and Islands. From hiking and fishing to canoeing and mountain biking, the region presents countless opportunities for new experiences and exciting adventures.

Our region

Published on 09/05/2023

470,000

people in the region.

3.1%

low rate of unemployment in the region

1

our region is frequently voted as the happiest place to live

20

lower weekly cost of living than London

Get support

We can help you find funding to grow your business or project through targeted grants, or support from other sources. We can also can help you find opportunities to invest in early-stage and expanding companies with high-growth potential.

Browse all support services

We support businesses, communities and social enterprises through a range of support services, including advice, funding, events and property. Find out how we can help you.

Inward investment enquiry

If you’re interested in locating your business to the spectacular Highlands and Islands, we’re here to help.

About us

We're the community and economic development agency for the Highlands and Islands of Scotland. Find out what we do, how we work and how we can help you.

View of Inverness from the Castle turret

SO, WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR? IT’S TIME TO DISCOVER THE HIGHLANDS AND ISLANDS

Connected business support is available for you before, during and after you locate here, from a range of public sector partners.

We will make the connections you need to ensure your investment goes smoothly allowing you to focus on growing your business.

To find out more about why the Highlands and Islands is the right location for your company, or to experience the area for yourself, get in touch and we will be happy to arrange this for you.

Get in touch today

Global operators in the Highlands and Islands

Find out about some of the global operators who are already thriving in the Highlands and Islands.

BC Technologies

BC Technologies is a leading IT specialist that supports small to medium businesses with IT and security requirements based in Argyll.

ATOS

Atos opened its Moray Development and Innovation Centre in the town of Forres in 2013, and employs over 150 people delivering digital services across the UK and offshore

Fish Vet Group

Fish Vet Group provides services right across the aquaculture value chain, from producers and processors to retailors.

Aseptium

Aseptium, based on Inverness Campus, research, design, prototype, manufacture and evaluate products for healthcare and laboratory markets.

CorporateHealth International

CorporateHealth International is a healthcare services company with the mission to bring medical device innovation to scale.

Newsletter

Sign up for all the latest news, information on investments and development opportunities from across our region.