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Lews Castle

Outer Hebrides Young Enterprise Support Scheme (OHYESS)

Highlands and Islands Enterprise Logo

Objectives and Assistance

The Outer Hebrides Young Enterprise Support Scheme (OHYESS) is open to entrepreneurs setting up a new business venture or developing a business established within the last five years.  Subject to budget, the scheme is expected to run from April 2024 to March 2026 and aims to fill the gap for business start-up funding for entrepreneurs and development funding for early-stage companies.

The scheme is financed by Highlands and Islands Enterprise and administered by Comhairle nan Eilean Siar’s Business Gateway service.

Please note that tourism accommodation developments are not eligible for support.

Projects should be in key sectors including:

  • Renewables and energy related activity;
  • Recycling;
  • Tourism (excluding accommodation projects);
  • Creative and culture-based activity;
  • Food and drink;
  • Information technology;
  • Life and health sciences;
  • Research and development;
  • Innovation;
  • Manufacturing and processing;
  • Childcare;
  • Construction;
  • Traditional industries indigenous to the Outer Hebrides.

Levels of Grant available

Full-time businesses

Maximum £5,000, towards capital costs.

Part-time businesses

Maximum of £1,500 towards capital costs.

Level of Support available

Normally up to 50% of eligible costs.

Up to 70% is available to projects that include any of the following:

  • Applicants under 30
  • Net zero
  • Cruise market product development
  • Uist repopulation zone
  • Childcare

Eligibility and Conditions

The Outer Hebrides Young Enterprise Support Scheme is subject to the following conditions:

  • Applicants must be based in the Outer Hebrides.
  • All grant funding support will be towards capital start-up costs only.
  • Applicants may be sole traders, partnerships, limited companies or other legitimate trading entities.
  • Part-time businesses will only be eligible to apply for a grant amount up to £2,500. Applicants cannot be in full-time employment.
  • The level of intervention will normally be 50%. Up to 70% will be available for projects that include any of the following: applicants under 30; net zero; cruise market product development; Uist repopulation zone and child minding services.
  • Applicant businesses must be within the first five years of trading.
  • Applicants must be able to demonstrate that their business is commercially viable.
  • All applications will require a business plan, financial forecasts, bank statements and any other supporting information considered necessary. Support with business plans and financial forecasts can be accessed through Business Gateway.
  • Existing businesses will be required to provide up-to-date accounts.
  • Applicants must be able to evidence the requirement for financial assistance. Projects over £50,000 will not normally be eligible.
  • Projects should be in key sectors that are expected to have the most impact in the local community, including job creation. Key sectors include renewables & energy related activity, recycling, tourism (tourism accommodation is ineligible), creative and culture-based activity, food & drink, information technology, life & health sciences, research & development, innovation, manufacturing & processing, child-care, construction and traditional industries indigenous to the Outer Hebrides.
  • Each application will be considered on its own merits. However, projects in areas which are adequately served by similar existing businesses are unlikely to meet the eligibility criteria.
  • Applicants must register with HMRC as soon as trading has commenced.
  • Applicants must not commit to any expenditure which is the subject of an application for financial assistance before receiving a formal offer of grant from Business Gateway. This includes the ordering of goods and services, the awarding of contracts and payment of invoices. Any expenditure so committed will be deemed ineligible for grant assistance.
  • Applicants must demonstrate that they are able to afford to purchase the items initially as the grant can only be claimed after the costs have been incurred and proof of payment provided.
  • Funding must only be spent on the items agreed as per your approved application or approved change requests. Any items with a value of over £1,000 will normally require three quotes.
  • All successful applicants must operate their business within the Outer Hebrides for a minimum of two years from receipt of award or Business Gateway may seek to recoup the grant.
  • Applicants must be prepared to submit to Business Gateway details of the projected benefits and impacts which have been achieved as a result of the grant support.
  • By making an application, applicants are agreeing to all information being shared between Comhairle nan Eilean Siar and Highlands and Islands Enterprise.
  • Business Gateway reserves the right to establish if any applicant is in arrears to the Comhairle. Funding applications will not proceed until such time as arrears have been cleared or satisfactory repayment arrangements have been put in place.
  • Business Gateway will make details of all grant approvals under OHYESS available to the public.

The following will be required:

New businesses: business plan and financial projections (three years).

Existing businesses: accounts, business plan and financial projections.

In addition, applicants will be required to complete an online application form, provide copies of bank statements, a credit check and any other supplementary information considered necessary to assess their application fully.

Scheme terms and conditions apply and may change from time to time.

For further information, please contact us on