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Caithness News Bulletins May 2004

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TRIO OF NEW BUSINESSES IN THE FAR NORTH

Caithness and Sutherland Enterprise (CASE) has helped three new businesses aimed at the tourist trade get off to a good start.

The trio of new enterprises - a mini bus tour guide service; tea room and hand craft business and a cycle hire business - have all been supported through CASE's business start-up scheme.

Dane Miller from Wick has secured a financial package totalling 4,100 to help him establish Caithness Tour Limited.  The business is offering visitors guided tours to places of interest in Caithness and the North Sutherland coast using an eight-seater mini-bus.

He has started the business with his partner Karen Spruce who will look after the administration side of the operation while Dane will be responsible for driving the mini-bus and acting as a tour guide.

The couple have already contacted various tourist accommodation providers and local tourist information centres in the area and all expressed a need for such a service in a bid to encourage visitors to stay in the area longer.

Dane commented: "There is a lot to see in Caithness, most it just off the beaten track and in wonderful settings.  We would like to take people to see these little known places, to enjoy and learn something of them."

Stephanie Prince from John O' Groats has also received a grant package worth 4,100 to establish a hand crafts business and tea room at her home, Puffin Cottage.  Stephanie, who moved to the far north from London in 2003, is making hand crafted goods such as soft toys and fabric bags.  Her products will be sold in the tea room she is setting up to compliment her craft business.

A part-time cycle hire business is also being established in John O' Groats by Geoff Baker.  CASE has awarded Mr Baker business start-up assistance totalling 2,300 to help with the costs of setting up the new enterprise.  Initially Geoff will have six bikes available for hire but aims to increase that to ten cycles by the start of the summer.

Business counsellor at CASE, Ian Thomson said: "We are able to help a range of new enterprises, both full and part-time, through our business start-up programme.

"With tourism being a key economic driver in the region it is important that we can boast a wide range of businesses and services aimed at this sector."