The project is funded by the Government’s Community Renewal Funding and is led by Harlow Council. 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.

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."

Sue, Operations Director of Mosaic Recruitment, said:

"As a local business who have operated within Harlow for ten years' Mosaic Recruitment are looking forward to this new and exciting opportunity which is designed to encourage organisations within Harlow to engage with each other and trade locally.

"During the past two years we have re-evaluated our shopping habits and buying from local and independent retailers has been a really positive experience, I personally have felt uplifted by the commitment to quality, the personal interaction and the sense of satisfaction that has come from feeling that I may have helped another local business to thrive.

"As a member of the business community, I am delighted that by taking advantage of this opportunity we can extend our community spirit to incorporate our business transactions and I have no doubt that this will help some of our brilliant Harlow businesses to expand and grow.  The idea of always considering Harlow businesses as our first option when seeking a product or service is such a great way to support the Harlow economy."

For more information visit the Opportunity Harlow website.