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Our Innovate Your Business service 

We're working hard to support businesses through the challenges of COVID-19 and adapting our support and services to help businesses restart and recover. 

Now more than ever you may be considering how to do things differently to restart and recover - and our Innovate Your Business service can help you to get new ideas off the ground.  

Let’s explode a few myths about innovation first...

It doesn’t have to be expensive, it doesn’t have to involve an invention, and it doesn’t have to be big.

Innovation means different things to different businesses. At its core, it means making changes that will improve your business. This could be a process change to improve your productivity, adapting your business model to open up new ways of reaching customers, reducing waste and inefficiency to operate more sustainably, or opening up a whole new market through business diversification.

The positive thing about innovation is its flexibility - it can be applied to any part of your business, and delivers a host of wide-ranging advantages. Whatever your goal, our Innovate Your Business team is on hand to support you to identify or implement the changes you need to make in order to survive.  We can help with:

  • Research and development
  • Implementing new ideas
  • Improving existing services
  • Finding new areas for your business to explore
  • Developing a strategy for future innovation
  • Protecting your intellectual assets
  • Funding for businesses and communities that are responding to COVID-19 challenges.

In short, our Innovate your Business service can help if you are planning to do anything that helps your business stay competitive and deal with the challenges of change, particularly during COVID-19.

We've already supported a wide range of businesses throughout our region as part of our innovation support, for example: we've helped a business to reduce its carbon footprint and operate more sustainably; supported a business to make packaging improvements to increase shelf life so that a product could be shipped further, and helped a business increase the level of automation in its manufacturing process.

Innovate your Business - how to apply

Fill out our application form to access innovation support. Please tell us as much as you can about your idea and the type of support that may help.

Apply for innovation support

Watch our innovation video for more information on our support.

How do I apply?

Companies actively seeking growth through new ideas should approach HIE to make sure the first step in their innovation journey is in the right direction. If you have your eye on the future and a commitment to embracing new ideas we want to hear from you.

To qualify for support from our innovation team, you need to have a registered company with a business plan, or be working towards completing one.

You’ll need to fill in our form so we can make sure you get the right support from the beginning. It will take around 20 minutes. 

Apply now





Gillian Galloway standing in HIE's An Lochran office
It’s crucial for companies to embrace innovation if they want to remain competitive in their market.
Gillian Galloway, head of innovation, HIE


Our support in more detail


Funding of up to £15,000 is available to SMEs through our Small Innovation Grant Scheme. Your business can apply year-round, it must be based in the Highlands and Islands, and should employ no more than 250 people.

The award of this funding is discretionary, with priority given to innovation projects that are directly responding to the COVID-19 crisis. This could be a health-related solution, or something that helps other businesses get back to work - whether through diversification, use of technology, adapting business practices to adjust to the changing economic environment, or developing new products to continue to trade. Where a project has a significant impact on health or economic outcomes, additional funding may be available. Our team of advisers are happy to discuss your ideas and funding requirements so please get in touch.

Support through our Innovate your Business programme is free of charge however it is a form of State Aid and it may count towards your overall De Minimis allowance.

Expert advice

Get access to experienced advisers who can help you decide on the best course of action to move your innovation strategy forward. All advice given is completely impartial and kept strictly confidential. We employ advisers in-house at HIE, as well as external consultants who have a huge amount of experience in working with rural businesses and who have successfully passed our thorough vetting procedures. 


European Regional Development Fund (ERDF)

HIE's Innovation Programme is part-funded from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) under the ESIF Programme 2014-2020.

Innovation newsletter

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