If you’re interested in running an existing business or setting up a new business in Shetland, there’s lots of help and support available.

Why set up a business in Shetland?

Why not? If you happen to be a lawyer who loves bird-watching, a web developer who enjoys yachting, a chef who wants to take stunning coastal walks or an engineer who moonlights as a fiddle player, Shetland could be the place for you.

Shetland is an ideal place to run a business. Postal services are excellent and exporting goods from Shetland is easy to arrange too. We have a nightly ferry link, daily air services and local haulage firms who are very experienced in moving goods to destinations throughout the UK and farther afield.

If you run an online business, high speed broadband is available in the isles’ most populated areas, with good connections and fast upload and download speeds.

How do I set up a business in Shetland?

Business Gateway Shetland offer practical advice and guidance about business prospects in the islands. Whether you are starting or growing a business, they will provide access to a range of publicly funded business support services. You can also keep up to date with their regular stream of activity on their Facebook page.

They know the local marketplace and can tell you about any specific assistance available, such as grants or loans. Some funding may be available to help get your project off the ground. You can sign up to Business Gateway Shetland's mailing list by messaging businessgateway@shetland.gov.uk.

Or you could acquire a business in Shetland as a going concern. These opportunities do arise and are normally advertised online or in The Shetland Times. Alternatively, you could advertise yourself, seeing if any business may be coming up for sale.

If you're looking for a retail premises, Living Lerwick advertise the latest vacant properties in the town and you'll find the latest commercial property for sale on property websites like Rightmove.

Starting a business: useful links

If you're doing market research and developing a business plan, you’ll need to check for consents with the relevant regulatory agencies. This could include council departments like:

Read case studies from Shetland-based entrepreneurs