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Start a Business

Orkney has always had a strong entrepreneurial spirit.

There are around 1500 businesses based here, with more than 90% employing fewer than 10 people. The number of businesses in Orkney has increased in recent years as more people branch out on their own.

There are always opportunities to be found, but we know starting, growing or moving your business can be a difficult task. If you're planning on setting up a new company in Orkney, or you're already here and you want to develop your business, there's plenty of advice on hand to help you move forward.

The first point of contact for a new or growing business is the team at Business Gateway Orkney. They can offer advice on everything from funding, tax, finance, health and safety, environment and efficiency, to IT and e-commerce, business events, networking and business contacts. Business Gateway also organises training courses in business start-ups and other relevant topics, and delivers a New Business Start-up grant funded by Orkney Islands Council.

Visit the Business Gateway website, contact them on 01856 886 666 or email business.gateway@orkney.gov.uk for more information.

Orkney Islands Council has a range of Economic Development Grant schemes open to local businesses, targeted towards supporting diversification projects and much more. You can visit the Council's website for additional information.

Our industry groups provide support for businesses too. Creative Orkney, Destination Orkney, the Orkney Renewable Energy Forum and Taste of Orkney represent hundreds of businesses and can offer members a wide range of promotional activities and much more.

If you’re planning on moving your current business to the islands and improving your work/life balance then rest assured Orkney is an ideal place to make a fresh start. Our transport connections are excellent and there are regular flight and ferry connections, as well as excellent local haulage companies that can make sure goods can reach all parts of the UK and further afield. Postal services to and from Orkney are also incredibly efficient.

Digital connectivity has improved greatly in Orkney over recent years, so you could run your business from a croft in the North Isles or a townhouse in Stromness, whatever works best for you.