Helping Businesses to Grow

Workshops designed to empower your business

Bec Digital 
Upskill Programme

We can offer advice and support to help you to succeed in business. The type of help you can access includes:
  • Business planning
  • Marketing and brand identity
  • Social media
  • Online retailing
  • Support for creative industries
  • Social enterprise development

ABC Training Programmes

Recognising that business has changed over the years the BEC has been considering how it continues to support the wide variety of businesses that use the services and accommodation. To meet this business need for our tenants and clients, we now have several Associate Business Counsellors specialising in all aspects of business and successfully delivering a wide range of courses and seminars on behalf of the BEC.

Enterprise workshops

The Business Enterprise Workshop is a two- hour session where budding entrepreneurs and those thinking of starting a business or becoming self-employed can gather all the practical information they need before they start. We can help you to take your great business idea and equip you with the information you need to put it into action. 

A typical workshop will cover the following topics:
  • What is means to be self-employed – varying personal attributes required
  • Planning – where to go for help, research and information
  • Types of business entities available. For example, sole trader, partnership and limited company. What does each one mean for the individual
  • Basic information regarding tax payable and VAT
  • Marketing your business – know your unique selling point (USP)
  • Location and logistics – what to think about
  • Business Plans
  • Cash flow forecasts
  • Financing your business – what is required, where to go for help, ways to borrow

Mentors &training Providers

Karen West-Whylie

Karen is CEO at the BEC and is also a qualified Chartered Management Institute coach and mentor with a wide and demonstrated history of working in public and private sectors. She has experience of delivering change management, project management and strategic planning.

Karen believes there is a business idea in everyone! It just needs the right mentor to help you see the vision and create the right environment for successful delivery. Mentoring offers the opportunity to unlock potential, to see the art of the possible and to help provide focus and outcomes for people who want to start a business.

She is committed to supporting growth business opportunities in all the emerging industries across London and locally, particularly creative arts. Karen believes passionately that arts and culture can help to drive sustainable business and proactively supports local organisations to achieve this.

Natalia Nicholson

Natalia started on her path as a coach and trainer because of her passion to help businesses using her entrepreneurial experience and spirit having truly understood the trials and tribulations of running and sustaining profits of a successful business. What determines the success of each business is unique so each business needs to understand the leads, conversations and sales that are needed to get ahead, regardless of its market sector. This is what fuelled her to become a coach – so that she could coach and train the very people that she is proud to be one of - An Entrepreneur!

​Having created several businesses over the years manufacturing her own line of luxury candles and becoming an online seller, as well as offering digital marketing services gives her an understanding of what young entrepreneurs are going through. Natalia’s overall goal is to reach out and help businesses and young leaders to achieve results and become the best at what they do.

Natalia says:
  1. I am driven and passionate about helping others succeed.
  2. Inspiration is everywhere — from the words of your favourite writer or book to someone that crosses your path every day. You just need to open your eyes and breathe it in!
  3. "Little by little you build your power as practice makes permanent!"

Andre Arundell

Andre has first-hand experience being a young entrepreneur having run his own business from the age of 18. Andre has a successful track record in delivering pre and start-up support for businesses that goes back well over seven years and has successfully delivered a three-year European Social Fund project. Throughout his career he has supported over 2000 participants to start or grow their business.

Andre is passionate about practically exploring the world of business. He is inspired by Dr Dre, who has taken his music career into more mainstream business and diversified into merchandising such as Beats Headphones.

The best professional/career related advice came from Andre’s first boss after a staff night out. Andre says, “The next day I was really tired and sleepy, work was really quiet but he refused to send me home, telling me ‘If you're going to play hard be prepared to work hard!’. That has stuck with me always”.

Kathy Ennis

With more than 20 years’ experience of running her own businesses, Kathy has had some amazing highs but also made some costly, time-wasting mistakes along the way. So, she knows what it takes to build a successful business.

Kathy works across all aspects of business but specialises in strategic planning; visual communication; branding and personal brand creation; online and offline engagement marketing; and email marketing.

Kathy is passionate about her husband and cats. In business, she’s potty about planning, systems, processes and automation – the kind of stuff that really makes businesses work. Passion in business is great, and necessary, but passion alone won’t lead you to profit.

She is inspired by any first-time, Mature-Preneur who leaves the relative security of a job or career to start a business; who takes the time to get it right and understands the difference between passion and profit.

The best career advice Kathy has ever received is that you can’t do it all, you can’t do it on your own and you can’t run a profitable business without spending money. So, get a Mentor, set a budget and do what you do best while you outsource the rest.


  • Starting a business is daunting and exciting in equal measure. Having a passion will get you so far, but the discipline of seeing your fledgling product in more rational terms requires a critical friend to ask the uncomfortable questions that your friends and family won’t. My time with the business mentor provided by the Barking Enterprise Centre was invaluable and the challenge, encouragement and problem-solving was essential in moving my passion for rum to understanding what a sustainable business looks like. I would recommend everyone have this type of person in their personal boardroom to help steer their path to success

    David Cashain

  • I have attended a number of training sessions at Barking Enterprise Centre and have always been impressed by the quality of training on offer and the variety of subjects that are covered. The trainers are all industry experts and the sessions provide plenty of opportunities for networking. Our regular training sessions with our business mentor also help us to keep the business on track and provide accountability. It helps that all the training is free so the only cost to our business is us taking the time out from our usual working day.


  • I am so grateful for all the support I’ve received and continue to receive from BEC. I am totally blown away by the wide range of business services available which include one to one mentoring sessions as well as access free business workshops. Despite being in business for a number of years now, there is always something new for me to learn through the BEC. I am never disappointed, In fact, I tend to feel even more motivated to get back on track with my business and to take action – and I do! BEC is definitely the place to go to for professional and practical support and advice. You will be greeted warmly by the amazing reception staff and you’re likely to want to come back again and again.

    Ivona Gordon

  • I started the Sew London Project at the tail end of 2014. I met Karen West-Wylie and her team at the BEC in 2015 after a friend told me about the Barking Enterprise Centre and the amazing workshops provided to support small businesses in the borough of Barking and Dagenham and surrounding areas. The advice and support I have gained has been consistent, has helped me focus and grow as an entrepreneur not to mention the ongoing mentoring, guidance and advice that is provided in helping me grow the business. I appreciate the help and support they have given me on my journey as a successful businesswoman.

    Kemi Oloyede

  • The BEC mentoring programme has made such a difference to me and my business. Having the space to talk about my business and receive the impartial and insightful view of my mentor, Kathy. Her insights on my business helped me to develop ideas and recognise opportunities, her experience was so valuable. The training helped me to make the most of my strengths and overcome my weaknesses, giving me a gentle nudge when I needed it to step outside of my comfort zone. I feel more confident now. Having a mentor also meant someone was there for the bad days that I could vent to and ask advice. I cannot recommend the BEC mentoring programme enough.

    Kim Lee