Funding and Infrastructure Funding and Infrastructure

Funding and Infrastructure


The first point of contact for a new or growing business is the Orkney Business Gateway office. The Business Gateway offers advice about funding, tax, finance, health and safety, environment and efficiency, IT and e-commerce, business events, networking and business contacts and also organises training courses in business start-ups and other relevant topics. Visit the Business Gateway website or call into the office at 14 Queen Street in Kirkwall for more information.

The local office of Skills Development Scotland provides advice on training and education and the Scottish Agricultural College provides a support service to the agricultural industry.

Grant funding is available for businesses in certain circumstances in Orkney. The first port of call for advice on what you might be eligible for is the Business Gateway office where the staff will signpost you to potential funders. You can also visit the Business Gateway website and through its Business Support Finder, you can search for organisations that give grant funding, including the Scottish Government, and you will find advice on how to apply for a grant.

Orkney Islands Council gives grant funding to local businesses through its Economic Development Fund. There are strict criteria for assistance for new business start-ups, expansions and sectoral schemes. Funding may be available of up to 30% for the construction of new buildings or the improvement of existing buildings, machinery and equipment, up to a maximum of £55,000. Expansion in areas including manufacturing for export, tourism accommodation in certain areas and the service sector if the service is not currently available in Orkney may be eligible. The council encourages business innovation and sector-wide schemes that spread the benefit across a whole sector of an industry.

Highlands and Islands Enterprise has an area office in Kirkwall and this organisation also supports business growth through funding and advice.

There are many business and community development organisations in Orkney that apply for grant funding to support community projects which generate business and growth. These groups also manage such projects on behalf of their areas, and include many isles and mainland-based development trusts and groups.

General infrastructure

  • excellent schools and educational attainment levels
  • further education college
  • brand new hospital to be complete for 2018
  • good road network
  • reliable and regular air and sea links to the rest of the UK for both passenger and freight transport
  • good quality housing
  • superfast broadband roll out taking place during 2015
  • excellent leisure facilities

Port infrastructure

An ambitious three port strategy to refurbish and build new pier and supporting infrastructure with the support of the European regional Development Fund and the Scottish Government is now complete and open for business.

Lyness in Hoy, Hatston Pier outside Kirkwall and Copland’s Dock in Stromness were the 3 main components of the three port strategy along with Vessel Traffic Services software upgrades and 2 new radar sites and supporting land acquisition.

The strategy was based on the demands for additional infrastructure support for the marine renewables industry, but it is clear that the more traditional industries of oil and gas, cruise ships, and freight and supply vessels also appreciate the new infrastructure developments.


Six thousands premises in Orkney can now access superfast broadband thanks to the Digital Scotland scheme. The aim is to have 75% of premises in Orkney connected by the end of 2016 but planning for the next phase in the project to extend reach is already underway.

4G mobile internet is also now available in Kirkwall. EE has switched on the first of its 4G sites in Orkney with more set to go live during the summer of 2016. Those upgrades will see improvements outwith the town, including the north and south isles. 3G and 2G services have also been upgraded. Vodafone UK and O2 have also rolled out 4G services to customers.