Online portal to help find new business

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An extended online portal that helps small to medium enterprises in the Highlands and Islands find new business opportunities from large contracts, he been launched.

The Open4Business (O4B) portal was originally set up in 2012 by SSE to link supply chain firms with large SSE construction projects.

In just over five years it led to more than £174 million in contracts to local businesses, contributing directly to the economic well-being and sustainable development of many communities across the region.

In 2018 SSE passed O4B to Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) so it could be extended to include new industries and developers and encourage them to advertise their requirements on the portal.

HIE has now appointed Inverness Chamber of Commerce to promote and manage the portal for the next two years. The two organisations will work together to further develop the platform, to include opportunities in other key sectors.

There will be an emphasis on recruiting new contractors to push their upcoming works through the service; opening up more opportunities for Highlands and Islands businesses.

Elain MacRae, head of energy strategy at HIE, said: ‘The Open4Business portal has been fantastic in bringing opportunities direct to local businesses and enabling top tier companies to find out what is available locally. We congratulate SSE for creating this tremendous asset and delighted to be working with the Inverness Chamber team to take it to the next stage. In the next two years we can expect the portal to expand its reach in a way that will benefit even more local firms across the region and beyond the energy sector.’

Businesses not already registered on the portal can do so in around five minutes by visiting www.04b-highlandsandislands.com.