Barking and Dagenham Business Awards sponsor praises winners

�The bakery that won the top gong at the Barking and Dagenham business awards took a “very brave step” to move from a wholesaler to one of super mall Westfield’s prime food stalls, the lead sponsor for the awards has said.

Mark Bass, head of land regeneration and partnership at Sanofi and Businesseast, said Amber Foods, which trades under the name Karaway in the Stratford shopping centre and is based in Barking’s Rippleside Commercial Estate, is a prime example of how to succeed in business.

It was a gap in the market for fresh Eastern European-style bread that first propelled founder Nadia Gencas into starting up a baking enterprise.

But her vision grew and she is now producing pastries, cakes and luxury breads at Westfield’s lower level food court.

Mr Bass said: “I’ve seen Amber Foods come through the awards at different times and they have an excellent story because it’s a real example of how something can be a niche market and then diversify in such a successful way.


“It was a very brave step to move from wholesale to somewhere like Westfield but they’ve adapted their market and their products and seem to have a great ethos. What’s amazing is they have had sustained growth.”

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Pharmaceuticals giant Sanofi, which is closing its manufacturing plant at Dagenham next year, has set up an organisation, Businesseast, to promote growth in the borough.

Mr Bass added: “We were really struck by the high quality of the contestants.

“We got involved with the awards because we are closing and we wanted to show we would encourage and invest in the area and encourage others to do so.

“I would think we’ll be involved next year in some capacity as it will be our last year in the borough but I would also like other businesses to show their support.”

Meanwhile, Barking and Dagenham Council heaped praise on the sponsors that made the awards possible.

Paul Bishop, business relationship manager at the town hall, said: “We are extremely grateful to all our sponsors and supporters, especially our partners for this year’s event, Sanofi and Bussinesseast.

“Without their generous support, the event would not be possible. The awards were a huge success and proved there is a thriving business community in the borough, despite the tough economic climate.”

Any businesses interested in sponsoring next year’s event should get in touch with Paul.

Email or call 07968 521390.