Barking & Dagenham Businesses set to GROW

A flagship new fund exclusively for businesses and not-for-profits has been launched in Barking and Dagenham. The fund includes a £25,000 grant, a FREE seven-month accelerator programme, and the chance to apply for further investment from some of London’s top social investors.

The idea for the Fund came from a community steering group, mostly local working mums, recruited through an open process by the charity BD Giving. The charity tasked the group to learn about social investment and steer its investment ambitions for the borough.

They chose to develop the GROW Fund so the many business owners and entrepreneurs who call B&D home can create both a commercial and a social impact in the borough.

BD Giving’s CEO Géraud de Ville de Goyet said:

In the next decade, Barking and Dagenham will make room for thousands of new homes with accompanying transport links, London's largest film studio, a new data centre, and the relocation of three historic food markets.With all these new developments we want to ensure local people are in the driver's seat and can navigate their own route towards a stronger, healthier and more sustainable borough.With the GROW Fund, we will nurture local entrepreneurship, so that talent and resources stay in the borough, and can help to support our whole community.

Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Community Leadership and Engagement Cllr Ashraf said:

The GROW Fund will enable people and organisations of Barking and Dagenham to take their work to the next level. The Fund combines investments and grants, and over the next ten years, more of the Community Infrastructure Levy will be transferred into the GROW Fund to create a sustainable source of income for the whole borough.

At the launch event, one member of the Community Steering Group said:

We've been working in B&D for over five years and we've seen an increase in resources for businesses but it hasn't been enough. It has been a balance of running our organisation and securing funds for growth. As small business owners we whole-heartedly welcome this unique opportunity.

The money for the GROW Fund is part of a larger endowment entrusted to BD Giving by the local Council. Part of this funding comes from the Neighbourhood Community Infrastructure Levy, which is paid for by developers of new building projects in the borough.

The charity and community group want to attract further investment into the GROW Fund, which is now open for applications from local businesses, non-profits and CICs that can demonstrate:

  • Attachment and at least one-year track record delivering work or activity in Barking and Dagenham
  • Aged 18 years or over
  • Annual turnover was below £300,000 last year
  • A commitment to at least 2 hours per week throughout a 7-month
  • development programme, running from April – October 2023
  • An ambition to seek further development in the form of an investment


When asked, one member of the the community described their takeaway from the event,

It’s so interesting I thought this was going to be about giving project funding, but now I realise it’s not that. I’m going to go away today and really think about how I can grow and expand my organisation. I want to be ambitious

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