Manchester has a long history of supporting enterprise and innovation. In 1919 the Commercial Library opened in Manchester’s Royal Exchange, providing free access to the region’s businesses and residents to information about trade and industry.
The Commercial Library operated in Central Library until the re-opening of the building in 2014, when it became the Business & IP Centre Manchester.
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 are ambitious, encompassing seven neighbouring authorities, plus Lancaster and Blackpool.
Our existing partnerships with many of the 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 does the BIPC expansion bring?
Firstly there are new branded spoke BIPC’s in specific spaces within Altrincham, Ashton, Blackpool, Bolton, Bury, Lancaster, Oldham, Eccles and Stockport Libraries.
Access to eight new high quality databases is 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 will be available to help out.
Workshops and Events
There is also an ongoing programme of guides to these vital research tools for businesses and start ups available – see the Events pages.
To reflect this exciting development we are collectively known as BIPC Greater Manchester, but the BIPC Manchester in Central Library stays the same as the main hub to the local “spokes”.