200 members press release header

Opportunity Harlow project reaches key milestone of 200 members

Designed to support local economic prosperity, a key milestone has been achieved this month with the Opportunity Harlow project exceeding 200 members. Businesses in the Harlow area are benefitting from the opportunities, local networking and procurement related events provided by this government-funded programme.

“I love the concept of Opportunity Harlow. I love the whole idea of keeping the money within the town and working with people within the town. We want to work with as many local businesses as we can.”

Elite Express Logistics Director, Nick Eva

Launched in January 2022, Opportunity Harlow is a pilot programme created to make the Harlow economy more resilient. The online members portal highlights new business opportunities as well as providing access to procurement related resources and events. Members use the events to network whilst learning from industry experts to help them win more business.

Events to date have included:

  • Harlow’s first ever Food & Drink festival that attracted over 1000 visitors and helped to establish exciting new collaborations between local food and drink producers.
  • Exploring the increasing importance of social value, sustainability, and cybersecurity when bidding for new contracts particularly in the public sector
  • Hearing from those that read tender documents to understand bidding best practice and pitfalls to avoid
  • Celebrating the Opportunity Harlow network over locally produced pizza whilst learning from local marketing experts
  • Highlighting retrofit opportunities and accreditation requirements that UK Net Zero targets are creating in the Harlow area

“The programme provides such an amazing opportunity for local businesses to engage with each other. For us, it’s a platform to meet more local business owners. It’s free because it’s government funded. The events are only a couple of hours, and the information is really useful. So why not take part!”

Stort Valley Spirits Founder, Emma Robson

Run by The Haven Gateway Partnership, on behalf of Harlow Council and with links to organisations and sponsors of large-scale projects in the area, Opportunity Harlow can sign-post members to projects such as the construction of Sizewell C nuclear power plant and retrofit opportunities via HTS ltd – Harlow Council’s property and maintenance company.

“As a result of the support and networking opportunities we’ve received from the Opportunity Harlow project – we’ve been introduced to HTS to present our domestic insulation services as well as to the Retrofit Academy regarding the upskilling of some of our staff members.”

EEH-S Founder, Raja Naveed

“As a result of our exposure on the Opportunity Harlow portal and the connections made – we are now presenting our site lighting capabilities to Tier 1’s in the Sizewell C construction project.”

EOS Lighting Director, Brian Glynn

On 22 September 2022, Opportunity Harlow members will come together at the Harlow Business Exhibition to raise awareness of the range of local businesses that are available as suppliers and to encourage local collaborations.

“As we are entering uncertain economic times, it is becoming more important than ever to strengthen local businesses connections which will help make the Harlow economy more resilient.”

Executive Director of Haven Gateway Partnership, Anita Thornberry

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Notes to editors:

Harlow District Council
Harlow District Council are leading the Opportunity Harlow pilot project which is funded by the UK Community Renewal Fund. They are helping to facilitate the steering group, meetings, and workshops with the larger organisations.

Harlow District Council’s aim is to help create high-quality jobs and a strong local economy – something which everyone in Harlow can benefit from.

Essex County Council
Essex County Council is the accountable body for the Haven Gateway Partnership and the Opportunity Harlow project.

Essex County Council is dedicated to improving Essex and the lives of its residents. Its ambition is to deliver the best quality of life in Britain, which will be achieved by providing high-quality, targeted services that deliver real value for money.

Haven Gateway Partnership
The Opportunity Harlow online procurement portal and activity programmes are managed by the Haven Gateway Partnership (HGP). They help SMEs increase their online competitiveness through free digital audits. The HGP are also running a series of events designed to help SMEs better understand procurement requirements and gain the skills they need to participate in local tenders.

The HGP promotes sustainable and inclusive economic growth in the South-East of England. The team has extensive experience working with small and medium-sized businesses through their business support schemes. These include the sector-specific programmes TALE (Transport and Logistical Efficiencies), and I-Construct which are part-funded through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and HM Government.