ENERGY firm SSE says its Open4Business (O4B) procurement portal has supported about £60m of work to local suppliers since its launch in 2012.

The free-to-use site connects SSE with local suppliers and service providers for trade and engagement, allowing users to register and respond to notices, as well as advertise their own opportunities, for example sub-contracting work for SSE projects.

Last year O4B won an award from the Scottish Council for Development and Industry for Business Service and Engagement, and another in the Green Energy Awards for Supply Chain Development.

Sandy Biggar, SSE director of procurement and logistics, said O4B has gone "from strength to strength" since its introduction, "facilitating our investment back to small medium enterprises".

He added that Open4Business Highlands and Islands had awarded more than 200 opportunities to local organisations across the north of Scotland.

"With just over 1,300 organisations now registered on the platform, ranging from contractors to accommodation providers, the O4B portal really has become the source of key opportunities for businesses across the north of Scotland," he said.

Mr Biggar noted that in the wake of the Highlands and Islands portal's success, Open4Business Trans-Pennine was launched in September 2013 to support SSE assets across the M62 corridor in the north of England.

The energy giant, based in Perth, said earlier this month that its pre-tax profits grew to more than £370m in the first half of this year.