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Barking and Dagenham ‘start-up culture’ launches 3,000 businesses

PUBLISHED: 07:00 04 February 2016

The number of business start-up and clousures in Barking and Dagenham in 2015, broken down by ward

The number of business start-up and clousures in Barking and Dagenham in 2015, broken down by ward

Archant

More than eight businesses were launched every day in Barking and Dagenham last year.

Ian Griffiths and Karen West-Whylie from The Barking Enterprise Centre which has expanded into a second building on Wakering RoadIan Griffiths and Karen West-Whylie from The Barking Enterprise Centre which has expanded into a second building on Wakering Road

A total of 3,039 companies were formed across the borough in 2015, although 2,045 dissolved – leaving a net increase of 994.

With the gradual disappearance of traditionally big employers in the borough – such as Ford and Sanofi – Chamber of Commerce president Mark Bass believes the borough has had no option but to develop an entrepreneurial spirit.

“Over the last few years we’ve seen the disappearance of the big employers from the borough, so it’s been down to the SMEs to fill that gap,” he said.

“We’ve got a great track record for starting up businesses in this borough – it’s part of the culture.

“We’re good at encouraging people’s potential and giving opportunities for creativity, particularly with places like the Barking Enterprise Centre.”

Abbey ward, home to both of the Barking Enterprise Centres, Vicarage Field shopping centre and Barking market saw the most launches with 914 new businesses popping up during the past 12 months.

Co-founder of Pickering Road-based social enterprise Brighter Steppings, Seun Oshinaike, believes Abbey ward’s transport links are a powerful tool in its economic armoury.

Currently setting up Digilab in the Barking Learning Centre as a new tech hub for creative enterprises, he highlights the cluster of start-ups in Barking as a key factor in launching so many companies.

“The creative energy in Barking really helps, with a number of start-up clusters,” he said.

“It really does encourage and inspire when you’re surrounded by like-minded people.”

Vicarage Field shopping centre is among the centres of trade in the town centre and director Simon Groom insists it’s a place that is going somewhere.

“Barking is certainly a town that is evolving,” he said.

“I’d certainly agree with [Council leader Cllr Rodwell’s] comments that London is moving east.

“It’s an exciting place to be and I hope 2016 will see more of the same.”

However Abbey ward also saw the greatest number of business dissolutions in the past year, with 729 businesses biting the dust.


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