The London Borough of Barking and Dagenham is classed as an Outer London Borough and is located 10 miles to the East of Central London. The 2011 Census found that the Borough had a population of 188,000 residents.
In Rightmove’s Happy at Home Index in 2015, a study in which 25,000 participants were asked to rank various factors about where they live, the Borough of Barking and Dagenham was actually ranked as unhappiest in the UK to live. It was also reported that, during the same year, the borough had the least amount of business incorporations.
Barking and Dagenham Growth Strategy 2013-2023 highlights it’s strategies to improve its prosperity over the next decade.
Barking and Dagenham is one of the East London ‘Growth Boroughs’ – Growth Boroughs are an area of fast and dynamic change where economic redevelopment goes hand-in-hand with anticipated population growth.
The Borough’s average income is currently the 2nd lowest in London – this is partly due to it having some of the lowest skills in the country. The region’s main industry has traditionally been manufacturing, however, the industry has declined over the past thirty years in line with national trends. The impact was greater when Ford closed one of their large plants in Dagenham.
Barking and Dagenham recognises the importance of the CCI and has provided opportunities for growth in the sector by investing in; the Icehouse Quarter which is accommodation for a cluster of CCI companies, the arts organisations and businesses already established in the borough, training facilities, and supporting the ‘Creative People and Places’ bid to the Arts Council for a three year programme of activity. For Business Start ups or existing organisations looking to find office space in the area should check out the leading office space provider in the Dagenham area here.
Its general economy is, and will, increasingly be made up of start-up companies and SMEs as opposed to large companies. It is predicted that the cumulative impact of these smaller companies will be significantly more important to the local economy than large companies.
Business support in Barking and Dagenham has been massively improved in recent years and has particularly boosted by the Local Enterprise Growth Initiative (LEGI) programme.
The Borough is now experiencing one of the highest percentage rates of business growth in the UK. The CCI is proving to be a large part of that growth.
As well as the aforementioned initiatives, there are plans to further invest in the Broadway Theatre, which is a modern performing arts venue and houses the Barking and Dagenham College’s School of Performing Arts.
The Borough Council of Barking and Dagenham is also promoting a full schedule of cultural and creative festival events over the summer of 2016 ranging from; the Barking Folk Festival, to Dagfest.
There is a well-structured support infrastructure in place for start-up companies in the CCI market that will help the Borough deliver the anticipated results highlighted in its growth strategy and further build on its current success. These include:
The Barking Enterprise Centre – this is a hub providing office space, meeting rooms and coworking space for business of all types from, and around, the borough. Currently, there are over 60 businesses operating from here.
Barking and Dagenham College runs ‘The Pod’ – this is a creative space in which student entrepreneurs, as well as small local businesses, can access business support, workspace, and mentorship.
The Borough of Barking and Dagenham’s Council website also has a dedicated Business Support and Advice section that will provide assistance to start-up businesses in all industries.