With our Annual Dinner returning for the first time since 2019, we are delighted to announce that our Young Entrepreneur of the Year and Young Business of the Year Awards are once again open for entries!

These awards are designed to celebrate the entrepreneurial spirit that makes the North Highlands great, and are a fantastic opportunity for a young person or business to boost their profile and gain recognition for their achievements.

Entries are open until 5pm on 12 August 2022, and winners will receive the following:

Young Business (less than five years old)

  • 2 FREE places worth £150 at the Chamber’s annual dinner, for the presentation
  • 1 year’s FREE membership of Caithness Chamber of Commerce
  • Media coverage through press and the Chamber’s digital and social channels
  • Highlighted profile on the Chamber’s website
  • Young Business of the Year 2022 trophy

Young Entrepreneur (younger than 30)

  • £500 cash prize, kindly sponsored by Saffery Champness
  • 2 FREE places worth £150 on the top table at the Chamber’s annual dinner, for the presentation
  • Media coverage through press and the Chamber’s digital and social channels
  • Highlighted profile on the Chamber’s website
  • Young Entrepreneur of the Year 2022 trophy

Application forms and full details of entry criteria can be downloaded below:

Completed applications should be sent to fiona@caithnesschamber.com by 5pm on 12 August 2022.

Please feel free to pass this email on to anyone who you think would be interested in applying for either award. If you’d like any more information or just want to have a quick chat before applying, contact us on info@caithnesschamber.com or 01847 890076.

Leading independent accountancy and business advisory firm, Johnston Carmichael, has bolstered its private client advisory team with three new senior appointments.

Katy Burke has been appointed as director and Michael Jamieson and Roger Campbell have both been appointed as senior tax managers in the team, all working with Johnston Carmichael clients across the UK.

Known as one of the largest private client tax teams in Scotland, the team’s head count has increased by 17% over the past 12 months alone given the continued increased demand for the team’s specialist tax services.

Key growth areas include succession planning, pre-sale planning and reshaping existing family businesses in a tax efficient way, as families and businesses alike navigate a challenging economic climate and require increasingly specialist advice.

Partner and Head of Private Client Tax, Alexandra Docherty, said: “During and since the pandemic we saw increased demand for our private client tax services, as clients recognised the importance of having in place a clear tax strategy and a strong relationship with trusted advisers. Katy, Michael and Roger are highly experienced advisers who each bring specialist skills in personal tax, both advisory and compliance, and will complement our existing skilled team to drive the business forward.

“In the past year we’ve recruited 10 new advisory experts to the team, and we continue to invest in our people at all stages. As a result of our recent recruitment drive, we’re in a very strong position to capitalise on the opportunities that lie ahead for Johnston Carmichael.

The private client tax team comprises 68 staff, including three partners, across the business.

The senior appointments in recent months further augment the firm’s existing deep private client experience. They come at a time of predicted growth with increased demand for national and international advisory services.

Specialist services provided by the private client team include income tax, capital gains tax, inheritance tax planning, succession strategies, partnership taxation, global mobility, domicile and residence planning, and personal and trust taxation including trust accounting.

Johnston Carmichael has 13 offices across the UK. For further information about Johnston Carmichael visit https://johnstoncarmichael.com.

In July 2021 as you know we started a new project across the North of Scotland called Tech4tots & Teens which ran to the end of April 2022.

This was part of the Device Refurbishment Fund, funded by SCVO.

Due to the high demand of requests from families out with our boundaries, at the end of January we changed our company constitution and extended our project and all our services/activities to Scotland Wide.

Our project made quite an impact as you can see below, this includes jobs, education, numeracy, literacy, social inclusion, poverty and some children’s mental health, this has all come from the feedback we have received.

This project has now finished, and we managed to donate 475 devices across Scotland with 82 families receiving several devices, coming from the Highlands area and 2 families from Orkney.

We are now looking for different funding streams to allow us to continue with this recycling project as a rolling project, with costs rising so rapidly many more families will be turning to us for devices.

Passing on unused tech and refurbishing them contributes to net zero and climate change.

Our organisation is quite unique as there are other businesses recycling devices however not like us.

The brightest minds in the UK Defence industry are being encouraged to continue developing more battle-winning ideas to help Ukraine.

Original source link here.

  • Campaign launched to bolster Defence innovation in support of Ukraine’s Armed Forces
  • At least £25 million of funding available for successful proposals to tackle specific needs
  • Focus on rapidly delivering from innovation to battleground

Defence Ministers are calling on UK industry to accelerate the development of equipment for the Ukrainian armed forces, launching a £25 million campaign fund for the design and delivery of equipment to the country across the coming months.

The competition will be focused on bolstering the existing provision for artillery, coastal defence and aerial systems.

The Government believes drawing on UK expertise across the defence industry, including from innovative small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), could provide battle-winning solutions for the Ukrainian forces.

Defence Procurement Minister, Jeremy Quin said:

Since Russia’s brutal invasion UK defence suppliers with active support from MOD and DE&S have taken equipment from desktop ideas to the front line. This £25m plus fund is designed to capture ongoing work and support innovative ideas to meet Ukrainian defence requirements.

Recent months have shown the ingenuity and innovation of the UK defence sector. We want to ensure ongoing creativity is harnessed and directed at key requirements and all companies with a capability that can help are aware of the challenge.

Working closely with industry we have already seen innovative ideas quickly reaching Theatre. This includes capabilities such as heavy lift Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) and anti-tank loitering munitions, as well as adapting existing weapons systems such as integrating Brimstone for use as a ground launched weapon.

The requirements fall into four categories:

  • Artillery – Procurement and manufacturing proposals to support the resupply of ammunition and the maintenance of Soviet calibre 152mm and 122mm weapon systems.
  • Coastal defence – Supporting the deterrence of hostile naval forces, persistent surveillance, and delivery of attacks at range, including from autonomous or remotely-controlled vehicles.
  • Military logistics and resupply – Maintenance and development of infrastructure for supply lines by sea and land, including waterways, overbridging and general Ukrainian engineering capability.
  • Unmanned aerial systems (UAS) – The provision of UAS capabilities across a broad spectrum of capabilities, from lethal effects to surveillance, electronic warfare and heavy lift.

The UK has already committed more than £2.8 billion to support Ukraine through humanitarian aid and grants, as well as military kit including 120 armoured vehicles, air defence systems and more than 6,500 anti-tank missiles.

Industry organisations will need to submit proposals by June 10th, when a sift will take place to access the funding, with at least £25 million available.

The initial focus is on equipment that can be sourced and supplied in the next four months, with longer-term capability development in scope where applicable.

See the slides which include application details (on slide 2) using this link. 

Applications should be sent to dcmc-ukraineinnovationproposals@mod.gov.uk

Caithness Chamber of Commerce is delighted to announce that RES, the world’s largest independent renewable energy company, has joined the Chamber as a Silver Premier Partner.

Premier Partnerships are vital to the work of the Chamber and the work that it does to support businesses across the North Highlands. They offer access to a wide range of benefits from the Chamber, and demonstrate a commitment and contribution from the Premier Partner to creating a vibrant region that is economically successful, sustainable, and diverse.

Euan Hogg, Development Project Manager for RES, said:

“RES is delighted to join the Caithness Chamber of Commerce as a Premier Partner and demonstrate its commitment to the local supply chain. We have had a presence in Caithness for almost two decades, having developed and built Forss Wind Farm which we now operate and more recently in relation to our 5-turbine wind farm proposal at Cairnmore Hill to the west of Thurso.

“Since joining the Chamber we have been impressed with the dedicated support from Trudy and her team together with the breadth and depth of their local knowledge. Caithness is unique in that it has a wealth of local businesses with extensive experience and expertise in onshore wind development. As such, RES is keen to maximise the inward investment and supply chain opportunities for local businesses and contractors, as well as other local benefits from our projects and activities in the area, and we look forward to working with the Chamber in order to achieve this.”

Trudy Morris, Chief Executive of Caithness Chamber of Commerce, said:

We are delighted to welcome RES to the Chamber as a Premier Partner and look forward to working closely with them over the coming year. Renewable energy in all its forms will play a key role in the economic diversification and growth of the North Highlands over the coming years, and significant planned developments in all areas of the sector over the next decade present real opportunities for our local supply chain.

“It is fantastic to see a large company like RES demonstrating a real commitment to understanding the unique challenges and opportunities that face the business community in our area, and to working with us to maximise local opportunities and benefits.

“We look forward to working with RES to demonstrate the skills, capabilities and expertise that our supply chain can bring to their projects, and to ensure that our members are aware of the opportunities that are available locally as these projects progress.”

RES is the world’s largest independent renewable energy company with operations across Europe, North America and Asia-Pacific.

At the forefront of the industry for 40 years, RES has delivered more than 22 GW of renewable energy projects across the globe, helping offset more than 23 million tonnes of carbon every year, and supports an operational asset portfolio exceeding 9 GW worldwide, including 21 wind farms in Scotland with a total generation capacity of 597 MW.

Caithness Chamber of Commerce is the foremost business networking organisation in the North Highlands. It aims to support every type of business, from sole traders and small businesses to large corporate companies, and has a mission to create a vibrant economy within the North Highlands that is successful, sustainable and diverse.


Following confirmation of the additional energy producers’ profits levy on companies by the UK Government, Dr Liz Cameron CBE, Chief Executive of the Scottish Chambers of Commerce, said:

“Scotland’s businesses warned about the damaging impact that any sort of additional windfall tax on energy companies would have on the economy and our ability to secure a successful energy transition that protects jobs and communities.

“It is extremely disheartening that the UK Government have chosen to introduce this additional levy which will inevitably deter investment and make Scotland and the UK a less attractive market internationally, adding to the pressures facing the business community.

“Whilst it’s right that the Government take steps to ease the cost of living crisis this levy is a short term solution to the long-term energy challenges businesses and consumers continue to face.

“Rather than supporting investment in decarbonisation and energy security, this levy will only serve as a sticking plaster for rapidly rising bills, does little to support businesses and is ultimately a short sighted and opportunistic policy from the Treasury.

“With yet again no additional financial support announced for SMEs, this was another missed opportunity by the Chancellor to introduce a SME energy price cap or address the rising costs of doing business that is now dragging on economic growth.”

Commenting, Ryan Crighton, Policy Director at Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce, said: 

“Where the industry, the Chancellor and Prime Minister agree is that a windfall tax will deter investment in both the North Sea and our energy transition. All three have been repeating that mantra for months now.

“In the short-term, taking an additional £5billion from a sector already taxed at 40% will achieve very little apart from making the North Sea – already one of the world’s most mature basins – less attractive to investors. Tax and fiscal stability, above all else, are what really matter in a globally competitive investment market, and today we’ve shot ourselves in the foot.

“It is clear that the Treasury has benefited enormously already from higher energy prices, to the tune of £19million per day so far this year, and therefore offering targeted support to consumers and businesses was already within its gift, without this damaging additional tax raid, which needlessly puts obstacles in our path to net zero and will increase our reliance on imported energy at a greater environmental and financial cost.”

We are a business membership organisation predominately covering the North Highlands area. We’re proud to be the Voice of Business in the North Highlands for our 220 members.

To support our work, we’re recruiting two Full Time, permanent positions – a Marketing and Communications Manager and a Marketing and Communications Officer. These positions are based in Thurso, Caithness.

For details on each position, head over to www.recruitnorthhighlands.com and apply before Friday 3rd June. Any informal enquiries can be emailed to Trudy Morris via recruitment@caithnesschamber.com

The short Chamber business survey allows you to share live feedback on current trading conditions as well as challenges being faced by your business.

Your feedback directly informs our work at a local and national level, sharing the issues being faced by the business community with policymakers at Holyrood and Westminster. Over the past two years, we have used these views to secure vital business support, quicken the easing of COVID-19 restrictions and be the voice of business in Scotland.

The latest survey received significant coverage in the media, highlighting that companies are becoming increasingly anxious about their prospects in the face of complex economic challenges.

These include the war in Ukraine, labour market shortages, international supply chain disruption, soaring energy prices and inflation which all threaten to hamper the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The survey was covered by the BBC, STV, The Times, The Scotsman, The Herald, and the Press & Journal.

We hope you can take just a few minutes of your time to share your views, by taking our survey today and keeping us informed. Complete the survey now using this link.

Please consider sharing your insights with us today, so that we can continue to be your voice locally as well as at Holyrood and Westminster.

DASA have launched a new Open Call Innovation Focus Area: Countering IEDs by Novel Technology and Techniques. We are seeking proposals that can rapidly accelerate and enhance electronic capabilities which can counter Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs). We are looking for novel methods which either use the Radio Frequency (RF) spectrum or provide an understanding of the RF spectrum in order to detect and disrupt the functionality of IEDs.

There are 3 challenge areas:

  • Challenge 1 – To capture and analyse RF signals using novel spectrum survey techniques
  • Challenge 2 – Approaches to permanently or temporarily disable commercial communications links and/or the electronics within a Remote Controlled Explosive Device.
  • Challenge 3 – New or novel hardware and ancillaries (system components)

We are looking for projects to deliver solutions at TRL 5/6 , with project duration of 6-18 months to the value of between £150k and £400k.

Full details can be found using this link.