Liverpool’s Deputy Mayor Gary Millar, himself a successful entrepreneur, hosts the Entrepreneur–in–residence drop-in clinics at Central Library. Tony McDonough reports
More than 1,600 budding entrepreneurs have used a free business advice clinic at Liverpool’s Central Library since it was launched five years ago.
Liverpool’s Deputy Mayor Gary Millar, himself a successful entrepreneur, is an ever present at the Entrepreneur–in–residence drop-in clinics, which take place every Thursday between 1pm and 4pm at the library and on the first Saturday of every month.
He is regularly joined by other guest experts who regularly pass on their knowledge, wisdom and experience to the eager audiences. And 2019 has proved to be a bumper business year, with a total of 310 people receiving help and advice.
One of those experts is Ali McGrath, enterprise enabler at The Women’s Organisation. She has helped direct people towards business support programmes such as the Liverpool City Region Enterprise Hub, of which The Women’s Organisation is the lead agency.
The Entrepreneur–in–residence end–of–year report for 2019 shows that 96% of those who have taken advantage of the free sessions have come away “happy and inspired”. As well as one-to-one meetings, Cllr Millar and the team have supported 192 business advice meetings and a further 118 meetings offering guidance on intellectual property (IP).
The breakdown shows that 40% of those taking advantage of the sessions were female entrepreneurs. A quarter of all those who turned up for advice were from the city’s black and minority ethnic communities and 23% were under 35. Half of all those people seeking advice were planning to start their own business.
Entrepreneur–in–residence is part of the Central Library’s Business and IP Centre – which gives residents access to a wealth of free information and support. Cllr Millar said: “It has been a great year for business in Liverpool and we have been excited to see so many bright, enthusiastic entrepreneurs coming to see us .
“Interestingly they don’t just come from Liverpool but as far afield as Yorkshire and Wales. Thank you to them all for taking that bold step in reaching out for help. I must also thank our volunteer unpaid specialist mentors for their amazing help week in and week out for the last five years.
“Plus of course, I thank our wonderful library and BIPC staff for supporting our businesses every day of the week. We urge anyone who aspires to start up a new business and wants help growing their existing business in 2020 to drop in to one of our sessions.”
Ali McGrath added: “It has been an absolute privilege to sit alongside Gary and the team of experts at the entrepreneur-in-residence sessions over the last five years. Each week brings a new wave of enthusiastic entrepreneurs, with new ideas and questions to explore.”