In March last year the Government announced plans to invest £13m over three years to expand and build on the success of the Business & IP Centre network, headquartered at the British Library.
This major investment has enabled the British Library to widen its support network to local entrepreneurs in towns and cities across the country via a hub and spoke model centred on the 15 existing Centres across the country.
Our plans were ambitious, encompassing seven neighbouring authorities, plus Lancaster and Blackpool.
Our existing partnerships with many of the spoke libraries gave us a good starting point – well established links via the long standing Ask About Business collaboration, providing information, workshops and support for startups, businesses and inventors. However the new regional expansion will also include Lancaster Library, who weren’t previously involved and have extended our geographical reach even further up the north west coastline!
What will the BIPC expansion bring?
Firstly it will mean new branded spoke BIPC’s in specific spaces within Altrincham, Ashton, Blackpool, Bolton, Bury, Lancaster, Oldham, Eccles and Stockport Libraries.
The spoke libraries identified items for their refits ranging from furniture, seating, tables to AV equipment for talks, which have now arrived and will be available for use once restrictions ease and more in person events can happen.
Access to eight new high quality databases is now in place across the spoke libraries – Grantfinder, Local Data Online, Mintel, Passport Euromonitor, IBIS World, EMIS Emerging Markets, Frost & Sullivan and E-Marketer. Not all are available everywhere, although we’ve tried to minimise travelling distances for access to the widest range of resources. Key staff have been trained in using these and should be available to help out if guidance is needed!
There is also an ongoing programme of guides to these vital research tools for businesses and start ups available via our Eventbrite page (below).
Keep your eyes peeled for launch event(s), local business talks & workshops, advice clinics and more as the expansion continues throughout the year.