Learn more about Defence Innovation Loans!

The Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA) and Innovate UK are hosting a webinar on 13 June to provide participants with more information about Defence Innovation Loans (DIL’s) and details of how you can apply. Attendees will also have the opportunity to ask the hosts questions they have about the service.

What will the webinar cover?

  • What is DASA?
  • How do Defence Innovation Loans work?
  • Who can apply – is your business and innovation eligible?
  • What you can borrow – amounts and eligible cost.
  • What project and loan periods are available and what the repayment terms are.
  • How to apply for a Defence Innovation Loan; information about submitting applications to DASA and Innovate UK.
  • Q&A

DASA introduced DIL’s in 2021 as an alternative funding method to help convert mature defence innovations into viable business propositions that can compete for defence procurement.

Aimed at small to medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs), and with a below market interest rate of 7.4% per annum, Defence Innovation Loans provide affordable funds to help innovators commercialise defence innovations.

Attend the webinar on 13 June to learn more and keep an eye on the DASA homepage for updates.


Royal Bank of Scotland, Business Builder Events

Caithness Chamber of Commerce in partnership with the Royal Bank of Scotland are presenting a series of online and in-person business builder events designed to support and challenge entrepreneurs to develop the right foundations for their business.

We will be joined by Màiri Macdonald, Local Enterprise Manager, Royal Bank of Scotland  who will host these  these tailored events design to meet specific business needs, offering attendees an opportunity to upskill in the company of other like-minded business owners, share experiences, and work through individual and group exercises to implement the learning into their own business.

These 60-minute events will take place on monthly basis and attendees are free to select which courses are best suited to their needs. The sessions are free to attend for all Caithness Chamber of Commerce and Business Support Members.


Building a Resilient Business Model

Online, Wednesday, 23.08.23
In this session we will examine the 9 key areas of a business model and talk through the best practices for your business.

Bookings via eventbrite – Register Here


Unlock the Power of Mindset – Part of Highland Business Week 2023

In Person, Monday 21.09.23, Time and Location TBC
Whether we realise or not, our mindset shapes everything we think and do, including our business. This event will take place in person as part of Highland Business Week

Bookings via eventbrite: Register Here


Craft the Ultimate 60 Second Pitch

Online, Wednesday 25.10.23, 10-11am
If you haven’t got a clear pitch, you could be missing out on opportunities to grow your business.

Bookings via eventbrite: Register Here


Setting Goals to Keep Growing

Online, Wednesday 22.11.23, 10-11am
Having a plan in place is critical to keeping your business moving forward. In this session we’ll look at creating a long-term vision for your business.

Bookings via eventbrite: Register Here


Understanding Your Customer

Online, Wednesday 13.12.23, 10-11am
Understanding your customers is vital to your business being able to operate as efficiently and profitably as possible.

Bookings via eventbrite: Register Here

Mairi Macdonald, Local Enterprise Manager, Royal Bank of Scotland

Covering the North of Scotland and based in Inverness, Màiri supports start-up businesses to get their ideas off the ground, with practical day-to-day support around planning and growth as well as hosting events locally. A graduate of the University of Glasgow, Màiri is a native Gaelic speaker and is passionate about helping the often economically fragile communities of the Highlands and Islands to achieve their full potential. Mairi is also past president of Highland Business Women and has a keen interest in supporting female founders. 

Financial Health Check 
Whatever your goals and plans for your business, RBS are here to help you. Their business Financial Health Check has been designed to help you gain a better sense of your financial goals, plans and needs.
Would you like to find out more about this free and confidential service for your business? Màiri is offering a the opportunity for participants to follow up with a one-to-one session as part of this event series, for further information contact fiona@caithnesschamber.com

If you have questions or need any further information about any of our events, please just get in touch by emailing comms@caithnesschamber.com

HIE has launched their ‘Green Grant Fund’ which aims to support businesses in the tourism, creative industries and food and drink processing sectors, and social enterprises in any sector, across the Highlands and Islands to reduce or green their energy usage.

The funding is a non-repayable grant of up to £150,000 which will cover up to 50% of the total cost of a project. The minimum grant award is £25,000. Projects can include anything that helps businesses or social enterprises to reduce or green their energy usage and make progress towards achieving net zero carbon emissions, for example energy efficiency measures, renewables, active non-commuting business travel and waste management.

Expressions of interest is now open and you have until the 14th of July to apply. If you would like to discuss eligibility for the grant with one of the team, please email caithness.sutherland@hient.co.uk you can find out more information by visiting HERE.

The UK Space Agency is launching a £50 million fund to support the development of cutting-edge research and development facilities.

The Space Clusters and Infrastructure Fund (SCIF) – the first dedicated fund for UK space infrastructure – will award match funding to UK organisations to develop the R&D infrastructure needed to make space products mission-ready and sell them into commercial markets.

Investment in space R&D infrastructure is essential for building and testing new UK space and satellite capabilities, supporting innovative missions that can benefit people, businesses and communities across the country.

Find out more or to apply for the SCIF here

The Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA) and Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) Space Programme are pleased to launch the Charlie Drop of the Space to Innovate Campaign. This competition seeks proposals that can aid UK Defence and Security to develop future space science and technologies.

This Charlie Drop follows on from the Alpha and Bravo Drop, and offers a broader range of challenge areas to explore novel solutions.


Key dates and funding:

  • The total funding available for Space to Innovate – Charlie Drop is £1.5 million (excl VAT). DASA expects to fund between 3 and 12 proposals over a 24 month period.
  • The submission deadline is midday (BST) on Wednesday 12 July 2023.


Space to Innovate – Charlie Drop Challenge Areas

This competition aims to attract novel scientific and technological solutions from a broad range of innovators, including academia and industry, to address the UK’s Defence and Security space challenges.

Space to Innovate – Charlie Drop has 3 challenge areas which address themes set out by the Defence Space Strategy.

Challenge 1: Novel ways to achieve fine resolution collection for intelligence, surveillance & reconnaissance (ISR)
This challenge area seeks technologies and scientific techniques to achieve fine resolution imaging for space-based ISR / Earth Observation, especially from non-Low Earth Orbit (LEO).

Challenge 2: Technologies and techniques to alert, protect and defend satellites
This challenge area seeks methods to provide warning of threats, and types of threats to critical Defence and Security assets in space.

Challenge 3: Satellite and ground segment technologies for future Defence operations
This challenge seeks to develop technologies for satellites platforms and ground segments of specific relevance to Defence and Security applications.

Learn more and submit a proposal!


Participate in our Q&A webinar

DASA will host a Q&A webinar on 25 May to provide further details on the competition and a chance to ask questions in an open forum. If you would like to participate, please register below.

Supplier one-to-one Sessions

A series of 20 minute one-to-one teleconference sessions, giving you the opportunity to ask specific questions.

  • Wednesday 31 May 2023
  • Friday 2 June 2023

Register for the Q&A Webinar and One-to-One Sessions



The Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA), in partnership with the Defence Science Technology Laboratory (Dstl), is delighted to launch a new Themed Competition called, ‘Humans in Systems: Accelerating Interaction Innovation’. This competition seeks innovations in Human Machine Interaction (HMI) and interface technologies and approaches to support improvements in human machine interaction and to support computer mediated teamwork and collaboration (across both human to human, and human to machine teams).

Key dates and funding

  • Up to £1 million funding is available for this Themed Competition. This call is looking to fund several individual proposals across all three Challenge Areas.
  • The deadline to submit a proposal is midday (BST) on 19 July 2023.
  • A Q&A webinar to discuss the competition requirements will take place on 24 May 2023.

Influencing the future of the Operating Environment

The Future Operating Environment is likely to be highly complex and challenging. Rapid technological change, especially in AI, is reshaping societies, enhancing capability and transforming the character of warfare, for the UK and our allies, as well as our adversaries. The roles, tasks and activities undertaken by defence personnel are also likely to evolve and adapt. UK Defence is committed to adopt Generation After Next technologies in a way that is ambitious, safe and responsible.

To maintain operational capability and task effectiveness, it is essential the interface between humans and machines is optimised for future capabilities, platforms, and systems. Interfaces must be efficient to interact with, providing assistance and facilitation wherever possible, to ensure humans’ maintain meaningful system relationships, that humans maintain the necessary situation awareness, with speed and agility to deliver task performance at optimal levels.

Do you have the solution? Submit a proposal now

What innovations are DASA looking for?

This competition seeks proposals that enhance innovations in Human Machine Interaction (HMI); and interface technologies and approaches to support teamwork and collaboration. DASA is looking for novel and innovative ideas to benefit end-users working across some or all of the Defence domains (Maritime, Land, Cyber, Space or Air). Defence wants to accelerate and de-risk the requirement specification and development of HMI technologies for future defence capabilities.

This competition seeks proposals under three challenge areas, all are of equal importance.

Challenge 1: HMI innovations within the constrained space environment

This challenge seeks to enhance the interaction between people and systems within physically constrained and environmentally challenging environments. This might include: the provision of and interaction with large quantities of information and the control or interaction with un-crewed semi-autonomous or remotely controlled platforms and sensor systems from within another vehicle.

Challenge 2: AI assistive task support, AI enabled decision support tools, and novel interface modalities

This challenge seeks to unlock task performance improvements through the provision of novel interface technologies and interaction approaches and tools to support users in areas such as: control inputs, improving situational awareness, interacting with information, making decisions.

Challenge 3: Enhancing Teamwork and Collaboration

This areas is focused on tools which may benefit both co-located and distributed teams engaged in collaborative and co-operative working. Often teams operate within constrained systems, architectures, and workstations; where the introduction and implementation of new team aids is prohibitive.

Do you have a disruptive idea or concept? Read the full competition document and submit a proposal.

Q&A Webinar

We are hosting a dial-in session on the 24 May 2023 to provide further detail on the competition and a chance to ask questions in an open forum.

To register for the webinar please click here.

Heriot-Watt Online at Heriot-Watt University is offering fully-funded, online CPD courses to those living or working in Scotland.

The Upskilling Scotland Scholarship is supported by the Scottish Government and provides access to free masters-level courses worth up to £1,400. Courses have been selected from some of our highest in-demand MSc and MBA programmes and provide practical skills and knowledge in critical business areas such as Sustainable Supply Chain Strategies, Data-driven Business Growth, Leading Business Transformation, Developing Strategy and Marketing for Business Success and Achieving Net Zero. They will also give learners a stepstone onto a full Masters programme should they wish to gain the full degree qualification.

If you’re looking for the next step to boost your career, find out more by visiting HERE. 

The Supplier Development Programme will hold the 14th annual Meet the Buyer event on 17 May 2023 at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre (EICC), with headline partners The Scottish Government, Scotland Excel and the UK Department for Transport, and platinum sponsor Elcom.

This will be the first in-person national Meet the Buyer event since 2019 – and we are excited!

Aiming to bring together the length and breadth of the public sector under one roof all on one day, this free event will give Scottish businesses unprecedented access to buyers and decision makers from across the public and private sectors.

Businesses will be able to talk to key contractors and find out what tenders and projects they have in the pipeline for businesses for the supply of materials, goods, and services locally and nationally within Scotland and right across the UK.

In addition, sole traders and small businesses will have the opportunity to meet with larger trades and construction contractors that are connected to public sector projects. These primary contracts want to engage with local businesses to get into their supply chains and Community Wealth Building opportunities related to ‘project delivery on site’.

In an ever-expanding list, several Scottish local authorities are expected to exhibit, as well as regional and national organisations, like the Scottish Procurement Alliance and Strathclyde Partnership for Transport.

A full list of exhibitors can be viewed on the SDP website. Top tip: just click on a logo to learn what kind of suppliers each exhibitor particularly wants to engage with on the day!

Book Now

Businesses of all sizes, especially micro, small, and medium sized businesses and social enterprises, are eligible to attend Meet the Buyer 2023 for free, but must register in advance on the SDP website.

Right now, many businesses are looking to save energy, cut bills and reduce their carbon footprint. Lighting is a great place for them to start. For most businesses in Scotland, lighting makes up a significant chunk of energy costs. The good news is that by upgrading to modern lighting, such as LEDs, they can make big savings.  The free and impartial advice that Business Energy Scotland provides is designed to help small and medium sized enterprises quickly make the switch.

What’s more, the Scottish Government’s SME Loan Scheme is currently offering eligible SMEs, including charities, interest free loans with cashback grants of up to £20,000 to upgrade to energy efficient lighting.

The new lighting fast track assessment provides free and impartial advice so businesses can take advantage of government funding and quickly make the switch to energy efficient lighting.