Business column: Mark Kass on Barking and Dagenham’s entrepreneurial spirit

I’m finally getting a taste of my own medicine. After years of dishing out advice, counselling, coaching and mentoring for aspiring entrepreneurs, the tables have turned. The Enterprise Centre in Barking is a new start-up in its own right and, like it says in the James Brown song, “I feeeel good!”

It feels good to be in control and be creating something new and exciting, but it does come with some downsides – intense frustration, long hours, occasional anger and sometimes even pain and discomfort.

But worry not, I’m going through pretty much what everyone goes through when they start up a new business venture.

To help others through all this, my highly experienced on-site team are offering free taster workshops and advice, coaching and counselling.

And thanks to the local authority, which has invested significant cash in services to support start-up and small businesses, we now have a whole network of business-support professionals across the borough to help our local business start-ups survive and grow.

At the Barking Enterprise Centre, we see hundred of fledgling Bransons, Sugars, and Dragons thinking about starting up a new business.

To see this high degree of natural entrepreneurialism makes me chuffed to bits to come to work every day. Barking and Dagenham continues to be the most entrepreneurial borough I’ve worked in and this fast-growing enterprise culture makes it a great place to do business.

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For many, business start-up and going self-employed is a great way of coming off benefits and getting back some self-esteem. It’s empowering and rewarding and, for some, may be the only way to earn money.

The icing on the cake for me comes every July when we showcase our amazing business community at the Barking and Dagenham Business Awards.

In this amazing year of achievement and celebration, entrepreneurs doing business in Barking and Dagenham have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to show off, be proud and potentially woo new clients in by winning a “BADBA” and telling the world how great we are.

Whether you’ve been trading in the borough for donkey’s years or are a brand new start-up, free help with your entry is at hand. Just ask.

Ladies and gentlemen, let the games begin!