A key milestone has been achieved as part of Harlow Council’s action plan to support economic prosperity with the launch of Opportunity Harlow.

A six month pilot, it will act as a gateway for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to access new opportunities through targeted procurement support.

The project is funded by the Government’s Community Renewal Funding and will be led by Harlow Council, one of the five Council partners that makes up Harlow & Gilston Garden Town.

Both the Haven Gateway Partnership and the Centre for Local Economic Strategies (CLES) are partners in the delivery of this pilot.

To enhance resilience, Harlow businesses will be supported to access and competitively bid for local procurement opportunities. This support is available to all SMEs in the town and will run until June 2022. Large businesses and organisations who wish to procure more goods and services locally will be offered support too.

The project offers access to a free local procurement portal, which businesses can use to access opportunities and find a series of workshops, webinars and training sessions, to help strengthen their ability to successfully win contracts. These services will be delivered by the Haven Gateway Partnership.

“Investing in the Harlow pound is crucial as we look to accelerate plans to recover from the pandemic.”

Councillor Joel Charles, Deputy Leader of the Council, said:

“Investing in the Harlow pound is crucial as we look to accelerate plans to recover from the pandemic. This Government funded project allows the council to help provide local businesses with the knowledge to pursue new opportunities by enhancing their ability to be more competitive when bidding for work. This project aims to encourage smaller businesses to grow and build more connections to further their commercial interests.

“It is an important step forward as part of the council’s focus on levelling up the capacity of local businesses to be able to plan for the future, invest in their current workforce and then look to be in a position to create new employment opportunities.”

For more information visit the Opportunity Harlow website here.