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Business Panel

Our business panel provides a valuable window into business confidence and economic optimism direct from businesses and social enterprises in our region.

About our business panel surveys 

Our regular business panel surveys include questions on performance and growth aspirations, and also explore relevant topical issues with businesses and social enterprises throughout the region.

The findings provide a temperature check of business confidence and help identify regional challenges and opportunities.

As panel membership is representative of the Highlands and Islands business population, it provides a strong evidence base that facilitates robust regional, sub-regional and sectoral information. 

Panel surveys are undertaken by Ipsos MORI on behalf of HIE. 

This latest report ‘Responding to Economic Challenge’, published in March 2021, presents findings from the survey carried out in February 2021. In an environment of continued disruption and uncertainty with ongoing coronavirus restrictions and the end of the EU exit transition period, the survey sought to understand the operating status of businesses, confidence in and steps to ensure viability, risks and opportunities. It also explored import and export challenges and associated impacts.

> Report

> Summary

All of the results of our surveys are available to view below.

Questions and Answers

Have a look through our Q&A section below to find out a bit more about the Business Panel, how it works and how you can take part.

What will the panel do?

The information gathered through the panel will help us to understand what's happening across the Highlands and Islands economy by providing detailed insight into the challenges and opportunities that are currently presenting themselves across the region. 

How will the panel work?

Panel members will be asked to take part in a series of surveys covering topics such as business confidence, access to finance, changing markets, operational constraints, labour market issues, exporting, etc. As demographic details are already held, the surveys will be short and focused and turnaround time will be quick, meaning that information can be gathered rapidly which is extremely important in times of economic uncertainty.

How often will I be contacted?

We aim to survey around three times a year.

Do I have to take part in every survey?

We strongly encourage participation but it is by no means compulsory. All panel members can expect to be sampled at some point in the given year although the frequency of contact may vary depending on the topics being explored, especially when looking at particular sectors or geographic areas. Contact with panel members will be restricted so that you are not overloaded with surveys.  

How will the research findings be used?

Research findings will be used to inform planning, prioritisation and decision-making within HIE. The information you provide will help keep us informed of the needs of our wide range of customers and  ensure that we are well placed to support the businesses, social enterprises and communities we serve.

How will panel membership benefit my business/organisation?

Participating in our surveys means that your voice and the issues that face your business or community are represented within those being shared with HIE. You will also receive the results of all surveys in which you take part. This means that you’ll be able to compare the issues affecting your business with others in the region.

How do I join?

Please follow the link below to complete our online form.


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