Business column: There are many reasons why we should feel positive

Mark Kass, enterprise development manager at Barking Enterprise Centre, urges local people to look to the future

Scanning through the press last weekend, I was truly saddened by the sheer volume of doom and gloom business stories in print – Tesco devalued by �18billion, banks still failing to lend to SMEs, taxi drivers complaining the Olympics will be bad for business and more high street names disappearing.

“Not a great start to the New Year,” I thought. “There must be some good business news here in Barking and Dagenham?” And there is...

More than 100 businesses have expressed an interest in taking space in our new Barking Enterprise Centre, with many coming from outside the borough.

With enquiries from Yorkshire, Derbyshire, Hertfordshire, Kent and, weirdly, France, our borough is fast becoming the place for those looking to do business in east London. But why? Two words – location and support.

Business needs good transport networks and easy access and we’re blessed with some of the best connectivity around.

Barking’s less than 20 minutes from the City, Canary Wharf and the Olympic Park and only 30 minutes from Tilbury Docks.

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We’ve five Tube stations on two Tube lines running through the borough and the A13, A12, M11 taking us to all points north, south, east and west across the UK making it easy for anyone to get here.

Locally, we’re blessed with two thriving markets, specialist and local retailers and, compared with other areas, it’s hard to spot empty shop units across the borough.

Entrepreneurs are making it through these tricky times by asking us for professional help.

My team and I have moved over from the Small Business Centre in Longbridge Road to our dedicated business centre behind Barking Station and we continue to offer totally free, confidential and independent business information, advice and guidance for those actively trading in or looking to start-up in what is east London’s fastest-growing business community.

Through this column I hope to share good stories and comment on the not-so-good but either way I’m keen to hear from anyone who will help us make 2012 the year of business opportunity... a truly Happy New Year in Barking and Dagenham.

Barking Enterprise Centre, in partnership with Agiliysis, is available on 020 8227 3030.