Innovation and enterprise blog

The British Library Business & IP Centre can help you start, run and grow your business

20 April 2020

Business support around the UK

Although the doors to libraries are closed, for the time being, our Business & IP Centres around the country and Start-ups in London Libraries borough venues have been adapting and changing their offering to make sure our community of entrepreneurs still have resources to access at this challenging time.


Many entrepreneurs count on access to the various databases each BIPC offers, the good news is that some databases are still available remotely with your library account and others can be accessed via the staff in your local Centre. Here is a list of what’s available:

Remote access with library account

COBRA Birmingham, Brighton & Hove, Devon, Glasgow, Hull, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Northamptonshire, Norfolk, Nottingham, Sheffield and Worcestershire. All Start-ups in London Libraries boroughs (Bexley, Croydon, Greenwich, Haringey, Lambeth, Lewisham, Newham, Southwark, Tower Hamlets and Waltham Forest).
British Standards Online Glasgow
ProQuest ABI inform Glasgow
Law & Business Glasgow
Kompass Global  Liverpool, Manchester

Access via library staff

IBISWorld Birmingham, Brighton & Hove, Cambridgeshire & Peterborough, Devon, Hull, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Northamptonshire, Norfolk and Sheffield
Mintel Hull, Leeds and Liverpool
Fame Brighton & Hove, Hull, Northamptonshire and Norfolk
Mint UK     Hull

What else is available?


BIPC Glasgow will soon be offering one-to-one sessions and some webinars with their delivery partners and Experts in Residence. The team are still available through their dedicated business email enquiry service.

BIPC Hull will be offering delivery partner sessions online. Their Makerspace has also been using the 3D printer to make face masks and shields for local keyworkers.

BIPC Leeds’ IP delivery partners are offering one-to-one phone consultations and Enterprise Club are being delivered online, which include topics such as writing a business plan, social media for business, marketing and finance.

BIPC Manchester is continuing to respond to emails from entrepreneurs. They are also putting their 3D printers to good use to produce face protection for GPs and people working in social care in need of PPE as part of the Covid-19 Face Shield Volunteer Initiative for the NHS.

BIPC Newcastle is offering IP support by email and can carry out research on some of their databases on behalf of BIPC users. The team can also help people carry out a patent search.


BIPC Norfolk can connect entrepreneurs to their delivery partners who are delivering sessions on Accountancy, (Larking Gowen) Legal Advice (Leathes Prior) and business continuity (NAGH) remotely and can take your business enquiries through their dedicated business email enquiry service.

They can also arrange one to one telephone calls and Zoom chats to discuss IP issues, or any answer business-related questions and offer business support and guidance, including signposting to partner organisations. (New Anglia Growth Hub, Menta, Leathes Prior, Larking Gowen and NWES).

The team continue to offer many free online business and IP tutorials, workshops and webinars via our BIPC Eventbrite page, they can also conduct patent and trademark searches using an online database and provide access, information and advice on grants available at the BIPC and via Grants for Norfolk.

General business advice can also be accessed on the Norfolk County Council website, as well as information on the latest support offered to support business since the onset of the Coronavirus pandemic.

Looking ahead, we hope to extend our webinar workshops with our own tried and tested Spotlight sessions to include, What can the BIPC do for you, Protecting your idea- An introduction to intellectual property and host regular Zoom IP one-to-ones using the BIPC Eventbrite page as the booking platform, so keep your eyes peeled!


BIPC Devon is offering delivery partner workshops via Zoom, which include topics such as CV writing and interviews and top tips for business start-ups. Their FabLab is currently making PPE using the Centre’s 3D printer.


BIPC Birmingham’s Immigration Lawyers and BLAC Legal Team are delivering telephone legal advice and the BIPC team are still taking enquiries which come through the Library of Birmingham.

BIPC Northamptonshire’s team is offering basic business support by email.

BIPC Nottingham’s team will be available at times to answer any business-related questions via the library’s QuestionPoint live chat facility.

BIPC Worcestershire will be running online drop-in sessions with their delivery partner Blue Orchid. Soon their workshops will be available as webinars.


Start-ups in London Libraries - Starting up? Start here!

The Start-ups in London Libraries community remains active during this period for all aspiring and early-stage entrepreneurs in the capital. All of the Start-ups in London Libraries workshops are now available as webinars and can be booked via our Eventbrite page. This includes new two-part Marketing Masterclass sessions.

Our borough Champions are running virtual one-to-one sessions. You can contact them on any of the below email addresses to arrange a session:

Bexley- Ioanna Lymperaki
Croydon- Sophie White
Greenwich- Loretta Awuah
Haringey- Nicola Moore
Lambeth- Rachel Samuels
Lewisham- Mark Berbeck
Newham- Rashed Belal
Southwark- Dean Williams
Tower Hamlets- Abraham O'Dude
Waltham Forest- Sarah Eschner

If you have a borough library card, you will be able to access COBRA remotely to conduct research. If you are a first-time user of the system, we recommend going through it with one of our borough Champions. 

We have also compiled all the support that each of these boroughs is offering specific to the impact of Coronavirus on local businesses on a dedicated page, you can find the full details here