Outer Hebrides Youth Entrepreneurship Scheme (OHYES)

At tomorrow’s meeting of the Comhairle’s Sustainable Development Committee, Members will receive an update on the Outer Hebrides Youth Entrepreneurship Scheme (OHYES) during the 2018 ‘Year of Young People’ and will be asked to approve an investigation into options for a replacement.

The Comhairle submitted a successful application to the ‘Scape Reinvest Communities Fund’ in 2016 for a two-year grant funding scheme for young local entrepreneurs aged 18 to 40, providing market test grants up to £500 and start-up grants up to £3,000.

The initiative - the ‘Outer Hebrides Youth Entrepreneurship Scheme’ (OHYES) - complemented existing local support available via the Prince’s Trust through the Comhairle’s Business Gateway service. OHYES began in April 2017, and by June 2018 was fully committed. To enable OHYES to continue to the end of ‘The Year of Young People 2018’ the Comhairle agreed to commit an additional £30k in June 2018.

Chairman of the Committee, Cllr Donald Crichton, said: “OHYES has been extremely successful in supporting young local entrepreneurs with aspirations to start up in business – and in this comparatively short timeframe, 43 young entrepreneurs were supported to set-up businesses in a range of sectors across the islands. The economic impact for such a modest investment is considered to be significant. Without this source of funding it is unlikely that many of these projects would have proceeded as planned. We hope to explore whether funding options exist to set up a similar scheme to provide similarly modest levels of business support to young entrepreneurs and encourage more local start-ups.”