Outer Hebrides

Whether you are starting or growing a business, we provide access to a range of business support services.

Business Gateway Outer Hebrides is part of the Economic Development team at Comhairle nan Eilean Siar (Western Isles Council). We offer a variety of initiatives which provide support for new and existing businesses in the Outer Hebrides.

Thinking of Starting a Business?

There are many ways we can support your start-up journey.

Our Planning To Start tool is a great place to begin. It takes just 10 minutes to complete and provides you with an instant toolkit with key resources & information. We'll then connect you with a member of the team at our local office for further support.

Our website offers a business plan guide and template to download when you’re ready, market reports and research, as well as handy online guides and articles, video tutorials and podcasts. Plus, we have a great range of webinars to hone your start-up skills – from writing a business plan to marketing on a budget.

With our help, you could be in business sooner than you imagined.

Running a Business?

Our 1:1 advice, online resources and webinars can help you plan, adapt and grow.

We know that your time is in short supply, so we offer 1:1 advice at a time and day to suit you. Together, you and your business adviser can create a strategic action plan to suit your ambitions.

Our online resources and webinars can help you learn new skills, create opportunities and gain confidence. From HR to restructuring, innovation and digital marketing - we can help. And if specialist input is required, we can connect you to other sources of support.

Improve your Digital Skills with DigitalBoost

Access webinars, online guides and a Digital Health Check with our DigitalBoost programme.

From digital marketing strategy to social media, e-Commerce, cyber security and more, we can help boost your digital performance.

Our DigitalBoost Health Check is a great place to start. It will help pinpoint your digital strengths, areas you could improve, and how we can help, and it only takes 5 minutes to complete.

Meet an Adviser

Business Gateway offer FREE advice and support to help you develop your ideas into an effective and practical plan. With a network of experienced business advisers we can work with you in confidence, to help you reach your full potential.

As an example you can get help in the following areas:

  • Creating your business plan
  • Getting the most from your advertising and marketing
  • Thinking about taking on staff
  • Researching your business idea
  • Find out what funding you can apply for
  • Registering with HM Revenue and Customs
  • Finding and keeping customers
  • Access to professionally-drafted contracts and legal document template

Our advisers cover the area and are happy to come and meet you locally or support you by phone or email. All you need to do is get in touch to arrange a convenient time.

Business Information and Funding

With access to a wealth of FREE information, Business Gateway can help businesses grow or develop. With research and information sourced from commercial, government and industry bodies we can help you source market intelligence, stay up-to-date with the latest news in your industry, identify competitors and potential customers and whether a potential supplier is reliable.

Micro Business Loan - (CnES - RLF)

This 'Interest-Free' loan of up to £2,000 aims to encourage the creation and growth of small businesses, which can contribute to new jobs in the local economy. The loan programme is funded by Comhairle nan Eilean Siar.

Business Loan - (CnES - RLF)

This loan of up to £50,000, repayable up to 7 years at an interest rate between 4 and 6% (depending upon amount/security), is to encourage business start-up and enable business and community developments by assisting with long-term sustainability in the Outer Hebrides. The loan programme is funded by Comhairle nan Eilean Siar.

Outer Hebrides Fisheries Investment Scheme

Funding available for the purchase of fishing vessels. Loans of up to £100,000 (commercial interest rates apply).

Community Support

The Community Regeneration team offer tailored advice and support to new and developing community businesses and social enterprises.

Business Property Portfolio

A list of business units, properties and land for lease / sale by the Comhairle is available here. Highlands & Islands Enterprise may also have business units for lease and should be contacted on 01851 707 300 for further information.

Outer Hebrides Business Directory

Free online directory for all business based in the Outer Hebrides. Find out more.

Help with Business Rates

There are a number of relief schemes available which offer reduced non-domestic rates to qualifying business.

These include reliefs for small businesses (Small Business Bonus Scheme), empty properties, charities, rural businesses, renewable energy producers and nursing care establishments.

Planning and Building Standards

Advice and guidance on planning issues is available.

Find out online if you need planning permission or a building warrant, make an application, find out about an application that has been made, or find out more about long term policies such as the Local Plan.


Find out if you need a licence, permit or permission for your business, and get information on making an application

Find out more here. Many licences can be applied for online.

Environmental Health

The work undertaken by Environmental Health includes food safety, environmental protection, public health and housing, environmental health licensing, animal health and welfare and occupational health and safety.

Advice and information is available to help businesses within the Outer Hebrides ensure compliance with this legislation.

Trading Standards

Trading Standards helps to maintain a fair and safe trading environment where local businesses and consumers can thrive.

Advice and information is available to help businesses within the Outer Hebrides ensure compliance with this legislation.

Arts Funding Advice

Arts funding information for individuals, businesses and groups is available from Comhairle nan Eilean Siar.

Outer Hebrides Factfile

The Outer Hebrides Factfile contains information and facts on all aspects of life and culture within the Outer Hebrides.

Outer Hebrides Chamber of Commerce

The Outer Hebrides Chamber of Commerce is an independent, not-for-profit organisation providing valuable services to businesses of all sizes across the islands.

They serve a vibrant and diverse business landscape, working in partnership with their members to benefit the region.

The Chamber strives to develop an economy that is sustainable and successful. Their focus is to protect and promote the interests of local businesses and the wider community and is dedicated to promoting, strengthening and connecting the growing business community.

The Women's Business Centre

The Women's Business Centre is a website designed to support women at the pre-start and start-up through to growth stages of their business journey.

Operated by Women’s Enterprise Scotland, the Women's Business Centre website is free to access and offers dedicated, needs-based content on starting and growing a business, including stories, encouragement and top tips from leading business owners across Scotland.

Supplier Development Programme (SDP)

SDP is a public sector partnership which delivers a variety of free tender training.

Registration for SDP events is free for Scottish SMEs, and will connect your business with your local authority’s SDP Rep who can offer your business additional support.

Redundancy Support

Your local Business Gateway office can offer free support to any business considering making redundancies.

Our advisers can help you look at your business challenges and then help you make the next practical steps. Along with that we can introduce you to PACE – Partnership Action for Continuing Employment.

Other Business Support across Scotland

Information on the free advice and support available from Scotland’s public sector business support organisations is available to find, all in one place, at Find Business Support.

Find your nearest office

Business Gateway Stornoway

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar
Sandwick Road
Get directions
01851 822 775

Opening hours:

Monday to Friday

09:00 to 17:00

Business Gateway Balivanich

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar
Isle of Benbecula
Get directions
01851 822 775

Opening hours:

Monday to Friday

09:00 to 17:00 (by appointment)