Argyll & Bute

We are here to support businesses based in Argyll and Bute. We offer free and impartial advice to anyone wanting to start up or develop their business.


Our team are committed to helping businesses in Argyll and Bute to flourish. We have an experienced team of professional and approachable business advisers, support officers and a network of expert contractors, available to provide the right support for your business.

Business Gateway Team


Business Adviser

Angela Vernel

Angela has a background in business investment, having worked for many years for Highlands and Islands Enterprise. She has also been involved in the property sector. Angela holds a BA in Accountancy, an MSc in Economic Development and the Premier Adviser qualification.


Business Adviser

Donald Melville

Donald joined the team in 2013 from Highlands and Islands Enterprise where he was a Development Manager for the Strengthening Communities Team.

Prior to that, Donald provided support to Business Start-ups and was previously recognised as Business Advisor of the Year for the Prince’s Scottish Youth Business Trust. He has qualifications in Business Counselling, Business and Enterprise Support and also Premier Adviser.


Business Adviser

Jen Smith

Jen has been a Business Gateway adviser for over 20 years. Having set up and operated small businesses including picture framing, craft manufacturing, cookery classes and several business consultancies, Jen understands the skills that business owners have to quickly learn to grow the business.

Jen has a background in catering and a passion for food and customer service. She has an HND in Hotel Keeping and Catering, a BA (Hons) in Service Sector Management and an MPhil in Social Science Research. Jen has been a Visiting Lecturer at Glasgow Caledonian University in Economics and Enterprise, has a Diploma in Business Advice and Counselling and is Premier Adviser accredited.


Business Adviser

John MacDonald

John joined the team in 2023 after working in consulting and investment management for 25 years advising a wide variety of businesses, large and small, as well as setting up two businesses himself.

With a PhD in Physics, an excellent understanding of the financial underpinnings of business and particular experience with private equity, including venture capital and growth equity, John is well placed to help Business Gateway's small business clients to set up, grow and potentially move on to the next level.


Business Support Officer

Sam Ford

Sam has been with the team since June 2009. Sam has a varied background having studied Fashion and Textiles, Business Administration and Digital Marketing and worked in a variety of different positions from PA for a design company to the buyer for a construction company. Sam moved back to Argyll in 2002 to join the Highlands and Islands Enterprise team, where her roles included managing the Business Start-up Programme and as a Development Manager working with businesses and social enterprises in the area.

Sam has also run a couple of her own part time businesses over the years as a nail technician, Zumba Instructor and property rental, she has also dabbled in the MLM industry with a couple of different companies.


Business Support Officer

Katie Rafferty

Katie joined the team in 2023 after being part of Economic Development and Business Gateway in another region for nearly 10 years.

She has a BA in Marketing and has been a Business Adviser in the Young Enterprise programme. Katie has a background in hospitality after running her family hotel in Kintyre and has a passion for social media.

Expert Help Team

  • Digital - NSDesign Ltd & Tuminds Ltd
  • Finance and HR - Delfinity Ltd
  • Growth Strategy & Intensive Growth programme - Uxl Ltd
  • Marketing & Internationalisation - Lornal Ltd
  • PR - Comsteria
  • Tendering & Supply Chain Development - Tinto Procurement

Find your nearest office

Business Gateway Lochgilphead

Argyll and Bute Council
(Please note this address is for postal enquiries only. Our advisers will be delighted to set up an appointment via the phone number below or our contact form)
PA31 8RT
Get directions
01546 808 009

Opening hours:

Monday to Friday

09:00 to 17:00