Operating out of Central Library in Liverpool, BIPC Liverpool offers support to early-stage or aspiring entrepreneurs and is reporting record end-of-year figures. Tony McDonough reports
A project set up support to fledgling or aspiring entrepreneurs has helped a record number of people in the past 12 months.
Business & IP Centre Liverpool (BIPC Liverpool) offers entrepreneurs looking to start a business, or grow an existing one, access to a range of specialist support services. It was established at Central Library in Liverpool seven years ago.
Now its latest figures reveal that from April 2021 to March 2022 it offered support to more than 1,500 people. This is a 39% increase on the previous year. Of those, 48% were aspiring entrepreneurs and 39% were looking to grow an existing business.
A breakdown of the data shows 71% were female, 26% were from a black, Asian and ethnic minority background and 18% had a disability. Reaching under-represented groups is one of BIPC’s key aims.
More than 6,000 people have come through the doors since 2015. They have accessed one-to-one mentoring, free database access, events, networking opportunities, workshops, advice clinics and conferences.
During the next 12 months BIPC Liverpool aims to support a further 1,250 aspiring entrepreneurs and growing businesses from across the city region.
BIPCs are part of a national network led by the British Library in London. Last year the success of the BIPC Liverpool model was expanded across the city region. Local BIPCs launched across the city and in Halton, Knowsley, Sefton, St Helens and Wirral.
This is part of the British Library’s expansion of its network of library-based BIPCs to more than 100 regional and local libraries across England. Government funding of £13m is supporting the roll-out.
David Gimson, BIPC national network project manager at the British Library, said: “Libraries deliver a raft of invaluable services to communities across the UK.
“Our vision is to see libraries become real engines of economic growth. It is fantastic to see this become a reality. The team at BIPC Liverpool are clearly passionate about entrepreneurship.
“These figures show they have performed exceptionally well providing a rich programme of innovative services that often prove a lifeline for businesses.”
Acting head of libraries and information Val Jones said: “We are incredibly proud of the results achieved by the BIPC team who have delivered impressive outcomes in spite of the challenges posed by the pandemic.”