Barking Enterprise Centre hosts day of mentoring for aspiring businesspeople

Sir Henry Boyle

Sir Henry Boyle - Credit: Archant

To celebrate World Mentoring Day an organisation which helps fledgling businesses hosted a day of talks and networking for people thinking of starting their own enterprise.

Speakers at the event, which was organised by Barking Enterprise Centre (BEC), included council leader Darren Rodwell, businessman Sir Henry Boyle and radio presenter Veena V.

There was also a panel discussion which featured people who had benefitted from mentoring offered to them by staff at the BEC.

This included 21-year-old entrepreneur Holly Parkin, who found herself looking for a source of income after becoming a single mum.

“When I heard about BEC it seemed like the best place for me,” said Ms Parkin, who now runs a firm selling children’s clothing.

“I wanted to get advice from someone who knew what I was going through,” she added.

But it’s not just new businesses that benefit from mentoring, the crowd heard.

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Robert Turner, an experienced businessman who runs a scaffolding company, said he had benefited from seeking the BEC’s advice.

“Sometimes you get caught up in the day to day running of your business rather than stepping back and thinking about the bigger picture,” he said.

“I’m always up for something that’s free and I couldn’t quite believe how much support was on offer here.”

Majida Burch, who runs a wallpaper business, said the BEC taught her that things which “made her kick herself” as she realised she could have been running her business much more efficiently.

And Hasina Zaman, a funeral director, said the BEC’s advice helped her open a new premises for her company.

All of those on the mentee panel had sat down with specialist advisors at the BEC to talk through their strategy and their business plans.

Sir Henry Boyle then gave a presentation to the budding entrepreneurs on how to secure funding for your new business.

At the end of the event, everyone enjoyed a lunch provided by the BEC and the budding businesspeople mingled, perhaps making acquaintances which will help spawn the next generation of companies in Barking and Dagenham.