Business Gateway Shetland provides support to individuals and businesses in Shetland with quality, practical advice and guidance. Whether you are starting or growing a business, we provide access to a range of publicly funded business support services.

Here in Shetland we offer a range of initiatives to help your business - whether you are considering an idea, taking the first steps or have been running a business for years, we have the experience to advise you at every stage and help you develop your business.

Through Business Gateway you can access:

  • Free advice from our experienced business advisers to help you start a business or if you are already in business, support you to develop ideas and find other ways of doing business
  • Free webinars - ranging from start-up sessions to specific skills events - covering marketing, finance and e-commerce
  • Free business information. The team offers information on all aspects of starting and growing a business. We are in partnership with other professional organisations - so you can be sure you will receive the best possible support.
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 resources and one-to-one support can help you strengthen your business.

Whether you’re looking to take on premises or learn more about digital marketing, we can help you take the next step. Get started by taking 10 minutes to complete our Strengthen Your Business Tool and get a personalised dashboard of online resources and webinars.

We know that your time is in short supply, so we also offer one-to-one 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

Access webinars, online guides and a Digital Health Check.

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

Our Digital 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.

Local Advisers – Start-Up

There's a lot to think about to get your idea to become a reality. But you are not alone. Our local advisers and services are here to help.

We offer lots of guidance and support to help make ‘being your own boss’ a reality. Covering everything from advice about whether self-employment is right for you, how to register your business, funding guidance and application assistance, business planning and marketing advice, to avoiding common mistakes and researching and planning.

Local Advisers – Growing your Business

If you have an established business in Shetland, our business advisers will work with you to determine the best strategy for your business to grow.

We can offer a range of professional resources, support and tools to help you develop and grow your business. Whether you need to learn new skills, create new opportunities or develop sustainable strategies for growth, we've something to help.

Specialist Support – HR and Employability

Recruiting staff or managing people? We have a dedicated HR Adviser who can assist you with a range of recruitment and staffing queries.

Financial Support

There is a range of financial and other support available to new and growing businesses in Shetland so please contact your Business Adviser to discuss eligibility.

Useful Connections

As well as providing our own services, we often signpost or refer our clients to other organisations that we work closely with, and who can provide further support tailored to our clients’ needs.

Local Financial Assistance

There is a range of financial assistance available through the Economic Development Department, at Shetland Islands Council, to assist new start and existing business clients with the costs related to developing projects which meet key eligibility criteria and will result in extensive local benefits.

Local Research, Surveys and Strategies

The Economic Development Department at Shetland Islands Council contributes and commissions a variety of local research reports, surveys and strategy development work which may help with your market research.

You can find current and archived documents here.

Council Services

The Council has a range of other services that are useful to new start and existing businesses.

These include:

  • Environmental Health - Free advice and support on food safety and registration, health and safety at work, pest control etc. Call 01595 744802.
  • Licensing - Find out if your business needs a license to trade and how to apply. Visit the Shetland Islands Council website
  • Business Rates (Non-Domestic Rates) - For information on the billing and collection of business rates call 01595 744683.
  • Small Business Bonus Scheme and other rates relief - this scheme offers reduced non-domestic rates on qualifying business premises. More information is available on the Scottish Government website and rates relief forms can be found here.
  • Trading Standards - Free business advice and trading on product safety standards. Call 01595 744887.
  • Planning, Development Management & Building Standards – Free 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’s has been made, or find out more about long term policies such as the Local Plan. Call 01595 744815.
  • Community Planning & Development – The Shetland Community Directory provides contact details for many of the diverse range of community groups and services in Shetland, you can find it here. You can also find the Shetland Partnership Plan using this link.
  • Rubbish & Recycling – Collection, disposal and costs associated with commercial waste is available here or call 01595 744891.
  • Public Sector Contracts – If you would like to tender for public sector contracts, please register on the Public Contracts Scotland website or call 01595 744595 for more information. You can also access support through the Supplier Development Programme, by using this link.
Business Improvement District (BID)

Business Improvement Districts have been set up to help build stronger communities in Scotland. These business improvement districts are about businesses working together and investing collectively in local improvements, which will benefit the businesses involved and the towns they are based in.

Shetland has a BID run by Living Lerwick Ltd. If you would like to know more or want to get involved, visit Living Lerwick for more information.

Promote Shetland

Thinking to move and set up or relocate a business in Shetland?

This website will provide you with details about living and working in the isles, including housing, education and schools.

Social Media

Don’t forget to like or follow us on Facebook for regular updates and interesting business information.

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.

Local Support for Female Business Owners

Programmes offering support for female business owners and managers in Shetland are ongoing, with up to eight entrepreneurs selected per cohort to take part over six months.

The latest cohort is underway, with another due to start in September 2023. A further intake is planned in the spring of 2024. For more information about how Business Gateway can support your business, please get in touch.

Supplier Development Programme (SDP)

The Supplier Development Programme provides support through a range of free tender training, e-learning modules and Meet the Buyer events to help Scottish SMEs, social enterprises and third sector organisations in bidding for public sector opportunities.

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 Lerwick

3 North Ness Business Park
Get directions
01595 745 945

Opening hours:

Monday to Friday

09:00 to 17:00