Business Gateway help establish the perfect getaway in the Outer Hebrides
Founded in the summer of 2021 by islander Rachel Mackenzie, Na Taighean Fiodh, Gaelic for ‘the wooden houses’, offers two beautiful log cabins, for both long and short stay accommodation in the Isle of Lewis. This followed a package of support from Business Gateway, which included 1:1 advice, grant, and loan funding.
Tapping into the tourism and staycation market, the log cabins named Laimishader Cabin and Sandig Cabin, are in a picturesque area and are in close proximity to the ever-popular historical attractions Gearrannan Blackhouse Village, Dun Carloway Broch and Calanais Standing Stones. With a minimum of a two-night stay, for the short stay traveller, these cabins also comfortably accommodate those who wish to stay for as long as a week.
Business Gateway helped Rachel develop her business plan with 1:1 advice from her adviser and worked with her to secure a grant of £1,250 through the Outer Hebrides Young Entrepreneurs Fund (OHYESS), which is fully funded by Highlands and Islands Enterprise and delivered by Business Gateway. This funding allowed Rachel to invest in essential white goods and appliances, which added finishing touches to her stylish self-catering accommodation.
Rachel was able to access a £10,000 loan through the Comhairle’s Revolving Loan Fund, also delivered by Business Gateway, which gave her the ability to begin operating immediately. With plans for a third log cabin and continued support from Business Gateway, Rachel intends to continue growing her business and accommodate the seasonal demand of visitors to the island.
Rachel, founder, Na Taighean Fiodh said: “Knowing how popular the nearby tourist attractions are, I realised that there wasn’t much on offer in terms of accommodation in the area, so I set about creating the perfect getaway for visitors. The cabins were then finished in August, and we were almost fully booked throughout the whole of September.
“The 1:1 advisory support and variety of resources available at Business Gateway were crucial, not only in securing funding for our cabins, but also for helping me to think and plan for other elements of operating a business that I had not yet considered. We are looking forward to welcoming more visitors and tourists, and with the continued help of Business Gateway and support of a social media consultant, we are also focused on growing our social media presence.”
Fiona Chisholm, Business Gateway, said: “The initial process of setting up a new business is always very exciting, but it can also be intimidating. However, by working with Business Gateway, Rachel was able to find support with her business plan, funding options and the knowledge she needed to launch her venture.
“It’s been fantastic to see Rachel’s cabins completed, which have become an instant success with visitors to the island. With her goal for a third cabin and aims to build social media platforms, we look forward to supporting Rachel as the business continues to thrive.”