Barking Enterprise Centre expands into second building
- Credit: Archant
The small-business scene is booming in Barking, it would seem, with the expansion of a start-up hub into a second building.
The Barking Enterprise Centre (BEC) officially opened for business at the new location in Wakering Road this week – at number 50, just like its original inception in nearby Cambridge Road.
Designed to house up to 38 small companies, The Foyer annex complex contains 25 small offices with a further 13 hot-desking facilities.
Business counsellor Ian Griffiths has spent eight years at the helm of the centre – guiding entrepreneurs from the idea stage to launching their own firms across a whole spectrum of different industries.
The original BEC facilitated the launch of 172 companies in just five years, creating more than 500 jobs at the centre and across east London in that time and Ian insists it’s a good time to be involved.
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“I can’t get across Barking now without bumping into someone I know or have helped on the way,” he said.
“It’s not just office space, we help get people started in all aspects of business.”
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The BEC is launching as a Community Interest Company (CIC) to open up more opportunities for funding and is now steered by a board that includes regeneration cabinet member Cllr Cameron Geddes.
Karen West-Whylie, a former senior manager for Barking and Dagenham Council was appointed CEO last year and hopes to have the new building booming by the summer.
“There’s a big need for small units,” she explained.
“The BEC is chock-a-block and we just have no new vacancies for small units, hence the idea to develop it further.”
Among the many success stories of the centre is international trade firm Tradex Consultancy UK, which launched at the Cambridge Road centre back in January 2014.
Linking premium Mediterranean producers to UK sellers, the company has hosted a number of trade events and have even been featured in a Spanish TV documentary.
Visit barkingenterprisecentre.co.uk for more information.