Exciting new opportunity for Highland businesses

Stewart Nicol, Chief Executive, Inverness Chamber of Commerce                  

This week will see the re-launch of a significant initiative designed to facilitate business opportunities and engagement for small and medium sized companies in the Highlands and Islands.

Open4Business Highlands & Islands (O4B H&I) is a free online portal which provides SMEs with greater opportunities to win business and will help suppliers and service providers advertise to a wide audience.

Highlands and Islands Enterprise recently took over the ownership of O4B H&I from SSE and have awarded Inverness Chamber of Commerce a contract to operate and promote the initiative on their behalf over the next two years.

Using our wide network of contacts and links with other chambers of commerce throughout the Highlands and Islands, we will ensure that the whole region can be engaged in this exciting programme, including raising awareness of the strength of the local supply chain.

Our involvement and the future of O4B H&I will be outlined on Thursday (4 April) and already interest is very strong with registered businesses covering a wide range of fields, from IT and telecommunications to healthcare and tourism, with banking and finance, building and construction and food and drink also represented.

The portal was originally established by SSE in 2012 and its worth was demonstrated by the fact that in just over five years it awarded more than £174 million in contracts to local businesses. The continuing high level of activity in energy-related projects across the region provides ongoing opportunities and, working closely with HIE, Inverness Chamber will further develop the platform to cover other key sectors.

O4B H&I is a great resource for businesses of all sizes, delivering projects across the region. Programmes such as this are really important to Inverness Chamber and other Highland-based chambers, as we connect, support and represent our memberships and the whole of the SME community across the region.