Highland Business Week made a welcome to return to the local events calendar this week. The event, which provides an opportunity to for local organisations and people to network, learn from one another and explore future opportunities, has been unable to take place for the last two years due to ongoing restrictions caused by the pandemic. So, it is wonderful to be able to come together in person, and look ahead to the future of business and commerce here in the Highlands and Islands. We have enjoyed catching up with friends and established contacts, and also making new connections.

It is hard not to feel a sense of optimism about the opportunities that exist in the region, even while acknowledging some of the challenges in the wider economy that are affecting many of us. The Highlands and Islands has a huge amount to offer, and it continues to attract new regional investments that bring fresh and long-term opportunities in sectors such as energy and food and drink.

The revitalised outlook here has also led us, Brodies, to new beginnings as we recently opened our new Highlands and Islands base in Inverness, at Clava House, in the Cradlehall Business Park, following a busy year for our clients in the region.

In the past 12 months, we have worked with businesses, organisations and individuals, including Inverness College, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Lerwick Port Authority and Stornoway Port Authority.

The firm has acted for clients in the renewable energy sector, including windfarms on Shetland and the Orkney Islands Council community windfarm project, which is worth an estimated £371 million to the local economy.

In the food and drink sector, Brodies was appointed by the Tomatin Distillery Company Limited to provide legal and commercial advice to support a new market access strategy in the United States.

The firm also assisted Parklands Group – one of the largest independent care home providers in Scotland - in its buyout of British growth fund equity, and the refinancing of its facilities, to enable it to develop a new multi-million-pound care project in Inverness.

Of course, it is the people of the Highlands and Islands, those that make up the businesses and other organisations here, who will play a crucial role in pushing this region forward. Recent research suggested that increasing numbers of young people want to live and work in the Highlands and Islands and this is something that business leaders need to recognise and, where possible, provide the opportunities for them that ensure we do not lose talented individuals to other regions.

Our apprenticeships and work experience programmes (including the PRIME initiative and Career Insight Days) are designed to help students who are curious about a career in law and want to learn more about how to get from high school to working as a lawyer. We aim to provide material and opportunities that give an insight into a career in law and provide a head start to future legal hopefuls. We are one of many organisations offering these kinds of initiatives, with many keen to harness their future workforces from the vast array of skilled individuals the Highlands and Islands has to offer.

These individuals need to know that there are support structures in place for them to live, and thrive here. Our Personal and Family experts have been ranked at band one, the highest rating, by legal directory Chambers UK, and we are fortunate to have extremely accomplished experts based here in Inverness.

We recognise there are different characteristics and challenges across this region and we don’t take a one size fits all approach to any of the work we do, whether with clients or colleagues. But thanks to our local team of lawyers, based now in Inverness, we can offer specific options for the people and organisations within the Highlands and Islands. It is our aim to help you capitalise on the unique opportunities presented across the region and to help each person and community reach its full potential.

This article first appeared in the Press and Journal.