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Caithness News Bulletins July 2007

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Highland Opportunity Ltd

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Bill Fernie Is New Chairman For Highland Opportunity Limited
Councillor Bill Fernie, Highland Councillor for Wick, was recently elected as Chair of the Board of Directors of Highland Opportunity Limited and Councillor Helen Carmichael who represents the Aird and Loch Ness Ward was elected as Vice-Chair.

Highland Opportunity Limited is a Highland Council company, limited by guarantee, with a Board of Directors drawn from the Council's elected members.

It is the Enterprise Trust for the Highlands providing discretionary financial assistance, professional business support, youth enterprise services and European connections to small and medium-sized enterprises. It has a particular interest in helping new and developing businesses. (For more about the company see About Highland Opportunity Ltd )  The company currently has 28 staff (9 Core, 5 European Business Services and 14 in the Working For Families Project).

The company has been providing financial and professional assistance to Highland businesses since 1985, and has assisted around 1,300 businesses in that time.  The company has 5 million of net assets with around 3.5 million investment, 0.5 million in property and 1 Million in working capital.

The new chairman, Councillor Bill Fernie said: "I am very pleased to be joining the board as chairman at a very exciting time for one of The Highland Council's companies. Since 1986 Highland Opportunity Ltd has been helping companies to move their businesses forward. The company is involved in a diverse range of activities trying to help businesses improve, expand and create more jobs."

Councillor Fernie continued: "Highland Opportunity Ltd offers a diverse range of products and services from low cost loans to business advice. I will be working with the directors and staff to try to ensure that more people are made aware of what the company does."

In the summer of 2009 Highland Opportunity is organising a major Housing Fair involving the building of 50 new homes, all different, as part of a competition. The whole site when completed will be open to the public. It will be the first such Housing Fair in Scotland attracting tens of thousands of visitors from the UK and Europe.

Highland Opportunity Ltd is also involved in a consortium with Scottish Enterprise and HIE to operate a new Competitiveness and Innovation Programme (CIP) and this will help Highland businesses keep in contact with what is happening in Europe if the bid to run the new centre is successful.

The site at Balvonie Braes covers 5 hectares and in addition to the houses will have exhibition space for everything to do with housing. After the Housing Fair, the homes will be sold or available to rent. There will be four themed zones and a large number of stands for exhibitors. Highland Opportunity Ltd is in partnership with Highland Housing Alliance in this venture and has set up a new company called Highland Housing Fair Limited for this major investment.

Highland Opportunity is also involved support for Community and Social Enterprises through a fund to provide bridging finance for business buy-outs.  Highland Opportunity also controls the Caithness Fund originally set up by the former Caithness District Council and in that fund has around 300,000 available for low cost loans to businesses in the Caithness area.

Councillor Fernie added: "Highland Opportunity Limited has been a dynamic company from the outset and many of its activities are little known to the wider public. We will set out to ensure that the company continues to contribute to improving economic activity in the Highlands."

For more information about Highland Opportunity Limited see http://www.highland-opportunity.com/
About Highland Opportunity Ltd
More About Bill Fernie