BIPC Brighton & Hove rolls-out small business support to Sussex libraries

The Business & IP Centre (BIPC) Brighton & Hove is rolling-out its small business support across Sussex, as part of British Library’s expansion of its highly successful network of library-based centres.

The British Library has allocated BIPC Brighton & Hove funding to help equip select Sussex libraries with Business & IP Centre, resources and services by 2023.

Business information services are being offered virtually in Crawley Library, building on the proven support already on offer at BIPC Brighton & Hove, since it launched last year. 

Together these centres will form the overarching brand of BIPC Sussex. 

By the end of 2021, other libraries in Sussex will also be offering support to help businesses start up and grow.  

While each centre will be equipped with a core set of resources, such as up-to-date market research and business databases provided by the British Library, they’re brought to life by tailored and individual programmes of events, workshops and one-to-ones, delivered in collaboration with local business leaders, role model entrepreneurs and community partners.

Supporting small business

Nationally, the BIPC network has a notably strong track record of supporting people from all walks of life to start, protect and grow a successful business. In just three years, it has:

  • supported the creation of over 12,000 new businesses
  • led to the creation of over 7,800 new jobs
  • generated an extra £78 million 'gross value added' to the UK economy
  • created businesses twice as likely to succeed beyond three years

Business & IP Centres can open up the path to entrepreneurship for anyone with a business idea, regardless of their background. 

Consistently, over half of those who use a BIPC to set up a business are women and a third are from under-represented ethnic backgrounds. 

More than triple the national averages for business ownership in the UK, this diverse user base speaks to the accessibility and community-based ethos of this library-based support. 

This accessible support has been invaluable for small businesses during the Covid-19 pandemic.

In a recent survey, 23% of all BIPC users said that the service had helped them gain confidence and resilience to steer their business through the challenges of the pandemic. 

Over 3,600 business owners across the UK have attended events as part of Reset. Restart, an emergency online programme launched by the British Library last year to provide new skills and resilience to all SMEs during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Valuable service open to everyone

Councillor Steph Powell, co-chair of the Tourism, Equalities, Communities & Culture committee, said: 

“Despite the limitations of launching in a year of lockdowns and restrictions, BIPC Brighton & Hove has already shown its value to small businesses in the city.

“Public libraries play a crucial role in making the path to starting a thriving business accessible to everyone.

“In our first year, BIPC Brighton & Hove delivered small business support to 250 people in the city, with 55% of those women and 14% from Black and minority ethnic backgrounds.

“It’s great that we’re able to work with the British Library to expand what’s worked well here across Sussex.”

BIPC Brighton & Hove

Based on the upper floor of Jubilee Library, the BIPC Brighton & Hove provides a hub for local entrepreneurs to get together to network, attend events and access a wealth of resources, including business databases, market research reports, company data and information on patents, trademarks, designs and copyright. 

The service provides guidance on protecting and monetising intellectual property, and how to research a business idea using the wealth of resources in the centre. 

Members have support from trained library staff, as well as from local business support organisations, such as the Brighton Chamber of Commerce. Together, they offer practical workshops, one-to-one advice, webcasts and networking events. 

It’s free to join and open to everyone. Whether you’re just starting out, need advice on protecting your assets, or are ready to take the next step in growing your business, check out what BIPC Brighton & Hove has to offer.

Find out more on our BIPC Brighton & Hove webpages or by following @BIPCBtnHove on twitter.

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