Barking and Dagenham named a top London borough for small businesses
- Credit: Archant
Barking and Dagenham has been named as one of the top places in London to launch a small business.
A new index released by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) placed the borough just behind Bromley as the second most-attractive for small enterprises to operate in, by providing the least burdensome environment.
Kensington and Chelsea ranked as the hardest places to run a new company, due to higher costs and greater local administrative burdens.
Welcoming the news, cabinet member for regeneration Cllr Cameron Geddes declared the borough “open for business”.
“We are a council with a new and highly ambitious leadership and are committed to supporting new business and to grow our borough,” he said.
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“We recognise what is needed to help create and support a thriving small business community in our borough and we have an extremely good relationship with our local Chamber of Commerce.
“With an army of small businesses set to drive the UK economy forward over the next decade, there are many opportunities for forward thinking businesses to prosper in Barking and Dagenham as it becomes a destination of choice for small business.”
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Surveying 200 FSB members from all 33 boroughs, the findings also showed ‘broadband quality and availability’ as a key factor to the success of their companies while almost eight in 10 rated ‘quality and availability of public transport’ as significant to their business’ success.
The index found Havering to have the greatest infrastructure challenges, while small businesses in Westminster enjoy the most beneficial infrastructure.
Mark Kass, head of enterprise and economic development for Agilisys, based at the Barking Enterprise Centre, said: “The outer London boroughs have lost out to places like Shoreditch and Westminster in the past, so it’s about time they get the recognition.
“Barking and Dagenham has great geographical connections. You can get in and out of the City within 20 minutes without having to pay ridiculous amount for a cup of coffee, as you would in Shoreditch for example.
“Nowadays plenty of people want to work closer to home without a mega commute, but if they need access to the populous - places like Canary Wharf, the Olympic Park and central Park are not a million miles away.”
Glenn Standage, managing director of publishers Walter Newbury Ltd, moved his family-run business to Dagenham last Christmas, after 188 years based in East Ham.
Named ‘Business Person of the year’ at the Barking and Dagenham Awards back in July, he insists there has been no looking back.
“We planned to move towards London but we just couldn’t afford it,” he explained. “I’ve been really impressed with Barking and Dagenham though.
“The council are really supportive, especially towards the smaller businesses.
“They came to say hello when we first moved in and I regularly ring them up for advice, but at the same time they’re not at all restrictive and just let businesses get on with business.”