Liverpool SMEs to benefit from business boosting service

Small business owners and start-ups will soon have access to a dedicated success service with the launch of a Business & IP Centre at Liverpool Central Library.

One of just seven centres across the country, the Business & IP Centre is based on the established British Library model and offers businesses comprehensive access to free advice and support in all matters relating to intellectual property, as well as other business information and expertise.

Councillor Gary Millar, Cabinet Member for Business, Enterprise and Investment, will officially open the Business & IP Centre on Thursday 29th January.

Councillor Millar said:

“This is a hugely exciting initiative which will enable people to protect, research and commercialise their ideas.

“Liverpool is a city full to the brim with business-savvy entrepreneurs who may have great ideas, but some are unsure whether they can be protected. Our new centre will provide them with invaluable advice and support, giving them confidence in their idea and helping them take the next steps to make it a reality.

“You just have to look at last year’s International Festival for Business to see how this city values this sector, and we firmly believe that this city is one of the best in the UK to set up and grow a business.”

The Business & IP Centre will provide free access to business databases, market research reports, company data and technical standards along with information on patents, trademarks, designs and copyright. Each month, there will be a programme of free workshops, speed mentoring sessions and networking events delivered by business experts. These will focus on a wide-range of topics including starting up, marketing, finance as well as how intellectual property can protect products, brands and designs.

Working with Liverpool Vision, Liverpool Chamber of Commerce and the British Library in London, Liverpool City Council has worked hard to bring this innovative initiative to the city. Part-funded through the Department for Communities & Local Government and Arts Council England ‘Enterprising Libraries’ programme, the Business & IP Centre scheme is part of a grander project to transform libraries into enterprise hubs for their local communities.

Intellectual property law experts W.P Thompson, St Helens Chamber, and the Women’s Organisation are just three of the organisations that will be giving out advice.

Tony O’Neill, Head of Business Growth for Liverpool Vision, said:

“Central Library’s services to business have always been a bit of a hidden gem in the city.  This partnership between the city’s leading business agencies and the British Library will give the centre the profile it deserves – it will provide a tremendous resource to businesses from fresh start-ups to established companies.”

The first Business & IP Centre opened in the British Library in London in 2006. Since then it has helped more than 400,000 entrepreneurs and helped create an average of 550 businesses and 1,200 jobs every year. Research shows that only one in ten companies helped by the London Business & IP Centre fail after year three, compared with four in ten across the UK.

Roly Keating, Chief Executive of the British Library, said:

“Libraries have a significant role to play in underpinning innovation and supporting enterprise, as proven by the success of the first Business & IP Centre since it opened at the British Library almost ten years ago.

“The opening of this new Business & IP Centre in Liverpool is the final landmark in our first phase of expansion, with seven Business & IP Centres now open.

“Our vision is to have 20 such Centres by the end of the decade, offering entrepreneurs across the UK a trusted, open place in their local area to get inspiration, information or advice on starting their business.”

Liverpool’s Business & IP Centre will join five other Centres created in city libraries over the past two years in Birmingham, Newcastle, Leeds, Manchester and Sheffield.

Councillor Wendy Simon, Cabinet Member responsible for libraries, will also be taking part in Thursday’s launch.

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Words: Peter Cribey

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