Innovation and enterprise blog

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

3 posts from December 2021

09 December 2021

Celebrating Start-ups in London Libraries

The Start-ups in London Libraries programme has now come to an end, as much as we are sad to say it’s over, we couldn’t be more proud of all of the wonderful businesses we’ve seen flourish along the way. Join us as we take a look back and see just how far the project has come.

This pilot programme first launched on 2 May 2019, with a keynote speech from the Deputy Mayor of London for Business, Rajesh Agrawal and a panel discussion chaired by Anne-Marie Imafidon MBE, founder of Stemettes. The aim was to deliver grass roots business support in high streets across ten London boroughs. Over the course of the programme running, we have seen a number of brilliant start-ups find success with help from the bespoke business support, workshops and one-to-one sessions available through Start-ups in London Libraries (SiLL). In less than three years, we have supported 2,369 people to get their business off the ground!

Keynote speech from the Deputy Mayor of London for Business, Rajesh Agrawal

The programme has been funded by the ERDF and has helped to ensure that people from all walks of life can access the right information and support locally. It has also proven the value of being situated in local libraries, as they act as community hubs where people come to get information. SiLL has been able to address some barriers people face in starting a business and has reached underserved communities; with over 71% of our clients identifying as women, 56% from BAME community and 11% identifying as having a disability.

We couldn’t have delivered the project without the wonderful help of our Specialist and Reference Librarians within the BIPC and the SME Champions in the SiLL boroughs. They have the knowledge and access to useful databases and tools such as COBRA, saving aspiring entrepreneurs from wasting their time and money when starting their journey. Our latest report demonstrated that those who receive start-up support from the BIPC are 4 times more likely to succeed in sustaining their business.

SME Champions with Rajesh Agrawal at SiLL launch event

We were able to pivot the programme to support businesses across all of London since we went into lockdown by delivering our services online so more people than ever were able to access the free support, just when they most needed it. We have seen a variety of different businesses come through Start-ups in London Libraries; from construction and publishing, to social work and hospitality.

Now it’s time to take a closer look at some of our superb start-ups and hear about their experience on the SiLL programme. 


ArtPerÚK dancers

Delivering and promoting the well-being of individuals through dance classes, ArtPerÚK was created to share Peruvian culture with the wider community in London and the UK through the art and enjoyment of dance. Founder Katherine Tinoco received support from our Croydon Champion, Sophie White.

“I've joined more than ten SiLL online webinars and workshops, where I was able to learn more about how to reboot my business in this time of crisis. The Marketing workshop has really helped me to improve my social media presence on Instagram and Facebook, the Finance workshop helped me understand how to manage tax returns effectively. I was also able to enrol in several one-to-one meetings with a Business Expert, Sophie White, who was amazing! She helped me align my ideas for the business and connect me with people to receive support on finance, legal and also helped me to promote my events.⁣”

Parent Power Limited

Bianca Sapara-Grant, Founder of Parent Power Ltd

Bianca Sapara-Grant, founder of Parent Power Limited works on teaching parents skills to help them take care of their children's mental health and wellbeing. Bianca was supported by our Greenwich Champions, Jawahir Sheikh and Martin Garlick.

“The SiLL project helped me tremendously. They helped me with identifying and crystalizing my vision and goals. I was able to attend a number of their workshops including marketing, social media and sales. I also found that their networking events were a great opportunity to share knowledge and experiences.

The most helpful part of the SiLL project was receiving one-to-one support. I had several one-to-one meetings, to discuss my specific needs and requirements. I remember one of the team members from the SiLL project supported me by using specific software to upload podcasts and YouTube videos.”

Yum Seng

Yumseng family

Yum Seng is a successful Dim Sum and Cocktail meal kit business founded by husband and wife, Chuong and Stephanie Van Dang, during lockdown. They have always had a passion for great Dim Sum restaurants and decided to start their own. Chuong and Stephanie received support from our Lambeth Champion, Rachel Samuels.

“SiLL was instrumental in giving us the confidence to flesh out an idea, develop it into a viable business plan and then launch as a commercial business. We’ve learnt a lot from their workshops and were inspired by other entrepreneurs that we had met along the way. Our local SiLL Champion Rachel Samuels was incredible. She took time to help me with my previous venture, by identifying and introducing me to other council departments that could help. She also helped me successfully apply for grant funding. She gave me the confidence in myself and my idea, which was a massive morale boost.⁣

Starting your own business can be very lonely, and SiLL is offering you a community of support. You never know, you may even meet your future business partner there!”

Amaze Associates

Fiona Wedderburn-Graham and Jennifer McLean, Co-directors of Amaze Associates

Fiona Wedderburn-Graham and Jennifer McLean, are the co-directors of Amaze Associates; a transformational coaching company that empowers individuals and businesses to achieve their goals and to navigate work and life challenges. Fiona and Jennifer were supported by our Lewisham Champion, Mark Berbeck.

“The workshops SiLL provided were great, particularly the ‘get ready for business’, marketing and finance workshops. SiLL also provided excellent networking opportunities. ⁣

However the most helpful were the one-to-ones with our SME Champion (Mark Berbeck). Our one-to-ones helped us to consolidate the learning and gave us more business insight. Our champion connected us with other businesses, funding sources and helped us to think about how to scale the business.⁣”

The Goodfriends

Daphne Gutfroind, Founded of The Goodfriends

Daphne Gutfroind founded her business The Goodfriends, which is a recruiting and coaching company. Daphne aims to bring career development and childcare solutions to the families of Haringey. She received help from our Haringey Champion, Nicola Moore.

“I was signposted to the programme by my DWP coach and felt so privileged to access such a valuable course, that I attended all the workshops. It has helped me with my marketing, if I had to point where I use my SiLL learnings the most. It has also greatly helped me with developing any funding strategy thanks to the finance and crowdfunding workshops. More generally, the programme has helped me to stay focused on my own development as the best way to keep my business moving and innovating.

I received direct support from Nicola on numerous occasions. It was helpful to navigate the programme and stay in the know of what is happening and when. It also helped me gain confidence in online networking. Nicola also offered to connect me and my business partner to key individuals of the council for our project (pot on the fire!). Finally it helped me simply feel confident that I am not alone, a professional is reachable for support.”

The Brave Project

Donelle Grant, Founder of the Brave Project

Donelle Grant, founded The Brave Project community interest company, a non-profit suicide prevention and wellbeing service; for BAME boys and young men. The mission is to prevent suicide through public awareness and education. Donelle was supported by ⁣our Champion for Newham, Rashed Belal.

“Rashed has provided me with access to a number of business workshops and support for Marketing, to finance, and many more. I am so grateful for the SiLL programme and my SME Champion Mentor Rashed Beal, who has been a great business Mentor, consistently empowering me to  push forward with my business.”

Nu(pw)R Ltd

Roohi and Nida Mohiyuddin founders of Nu(pw)R Ltd

Roohi and Nida Mohiyuddin founded Nu(pw)R Ltd, a service-based business that helps professional women become confident and empowered leaders without overwhelm through mindset and success mentoring. Roohi and Nida were supported by our Southwark Champion, Dean Williams.

“We were given the most amazing mentor who is the SME champion for Southwark. He encouraged us to be better every step of the way. When we hit a wall he showed us how to work out a way to climb it with confidence. Our questions were answered, our worries were addressed and we kept growing and being better.

We understood that failure was a tool for growth and that our journey was about progression and not perfection.

In addition, the SiLL program allowed us access to numerous amazing resources. We had access to events, training and met other mentors to learn about marketing, copyright, patenting and the resources to start up a business.”

The Breakhouse Café

Chloe Bailey-Williams, Founder of The Breakhouse Café

Chloe Bailey-Williams, founded The Breakhouse Café. With her passion for coffee and amazing food, Chloe has created a space that the local community loves. She aims for the business to be sustainable and ethical wherever possible, and to be inclusive of a variety of tastes, reflecting the diversity of her customers. Chloe was supported by our Tower Hamlets Champion, Abraham O'Dude.

“It’s been good to catch-up with Abraham in our one-to-ones and through emails, some other programmes that I have tried just don’t keep in touch. It’s quite challenging setting up a business in a pandemic so I appreciate that Abraham would visit me at the Café to go over different strategies. He would also inform and support me in taking up opportunities like the mentoring, which I successfully applied for. It really helps to speak with him about my business and I continue to benefit from his experience and advice. His ideas on how to use the space (like setting up a film club) and some Café tips I can’t mention (it’s a trade secret) have been great, we are currently planning our first film night!”


Judy Chicangana-Matthews, Founder of Delmora, making a T-Shirt

Delmora helps turn a 'good look' into a 'great look' with their beautiful jewellery and accessories. Founder Judy Chicangana-Matthews, received support from our Bexley  Champion, Ioanna Lymperaki.

“SiLL is a terrific project because it's available to anyone. Even if you don't have your own business and you have an idea. That is how I started the programme; Delmora was just an idea when I decided to attend the masterclasses. Although I have a business background, I didn't know where to find information or how to address the British market. That was the most significant help. Learning about Cobra and how the library supports businesses with industry guides and multiple resources such as Mintel and Euromonitor reports, helped me to create my marketing strategy to start Delmora.”

Authentic Worth

Esther Jacob, Founder of Authentic Worth

Esther Jacob is founder of Authentic Worth, a book publishing company that is dedicated to help aspiring authors to write and publish a book.⁣ Esther was supported by our Waltham Forest Champion, Jacqueline Brown.

The SiLL project helped me in setting up my business through their workshops I attended in 2019. On the first day, I was able to connect and network with other aspiring entrepreneurs that had different ideas about what they wanted to achieve in their businesses. I was able to share ideas with them and vice versa which helped stimulate trust and the tenacity to grow my business gradually.

The most helpful part of SiLL were the one-to-one meetings with one of the SiLL Champions. It was very useful and I was able to get more clarity about starting my business, including creating further awareness through the use of social media, being able to connect and collaborate with other aspiring authors and business owners in my field and ultimately, focusing on my target audience which helped to create a catered/tailored service to those that publish their book with the Authentic Worth brand. 

Further support for you

Attendees at BIPC workshop

The end of the Start-ups in London Libraries programme certainly does not mean the end of business support for you! We have plenty of online resources to help guide you on your business journey as well as our Innovating for Growth programme which is here to help you to continue building your business whether that means adjusting to ‘the new normal’ or scaling up. Our advisers and external consultants will help you to be more resilient and adaptable in the face of a changing future. 


Shop local this festive season

According to Mintel research (which you can access for free in many BIPCs around the UK), 25% of consumers say they are shopping more with local businesses due to Covid-19*. This isn’t just via the traditional bricks and mortar stores, but online as well, with 44% of consumers shopping more online during the pandemic, as detailed in their COVID-19 Retail and E-commerce: A Year On in the UK report. So, we’re bringing you a selection of small businesses who have used the BIPC services around the UK, to give you some inspiration for gifts, not only for Christmas, but year round.

Treats for everyone

Margaret alongside a variety of Cubby Salve products

One business who received support from BIPC Glasgow, Cubby Salve, founded by Margaret (or Mimi to her cubbies), makes gentle, small-batch, skincare. Each Salve & Body Bar is made with natural ingredients and is blended and hand poured by Margaret in Cubby’s Salve Kitchen.

Cost: Gift sets from £28.99

Where to buy? Cubby Salve

For those with green fingers

Marcela holding a sacpot

Sacpots are tough yet lightweight ethical plant pots designed to be shaped by you. Sacpots are rot-proof, water resistant, and can be placed inside or outside, available in hundreds of colour mixes. The elastic neck lowers water consumption and the insulating fabric accommodates root growth with full stretch indicating it’s time to pot on. Dispatched with a liner in a post box friendly envelope, your washable Sacpots will store flat after use. Handmade by Marcela Livingston in Bradford, West Yorkshire. Marcela received IP guidance to protect her idea and help with general market research with BIPC Leeds through the free access to its databases.

Cost: £17

Where to buy? Sacpot

Pott(er)y about ceramics

A dark blue bowl, created by Elena

Elena creates handmade functional and decorative ceramics at Sunken Studio and in her own studio in Leeds. Products include handmade mugs and bowls can be purchased via Instagram. Elena likes to play with surface patterns and geometries and decorate her creations with bright colours and uses natural elements she finds in her garden such as leaves to imprint and enrich surfaces. She is inspired by her surroundings and loves finding details and harmony in the shapes and colours of everyday life. Elena also finds inspiration from the places of her childhood, waves and rocks by the Sardinian sea. Elena used BIPC Leeds' ERDF funded Start-up Leeds programme to take her business to the next level, which included attending weekly workshops. 

Cost: Various (bowl, pictured, £30)

Where to buy? Instagram

For the bookworms

Carolynn Bain, founder of Afrori Books, with her hands together in front of a blue background

Afrori Books has the biggest selection of books by Black authors in the United Kingdom. Covering every genre that you are looking for with thousands of books in store and online. They have a simple mission: Support Black authors, create diverse bookshelves and be a voice for justice. Founder, Carolynn, had a one-to-one with BIPC Sussex to finding funding opportunities and to access their free databases, including COBRA.

Cost: Various

Where to buy? Afrori Books

For the chocoholics

Selection of Lucocoa chocolate bars

Lucocoa Chocolate, is London's first bean to bar chocolate making company based in North London. You won’t find any refined sugar or artificial sweeteners in these bars, instead Lucocoa opts for the healthier alternatives of coconut sugar and lucuma while also sourcing the best flavoured cocoa beans from around the world. Amarachi, founder of Lucocoa, used Innovating for Growth experts' advice to help scale her business as demand for her product grew rapidly.

Cost: Food and Drink hamper £60

Where to buy: Lucocoa

Get mistletoe ready

Terence Chung and colleagues holding FRUU lip balms

Our Circular Economy Start-Up Day panellist, FRUU, is a pioneering cosmetics company that specialises in turning fruit by-products into sustainable cosmetics. Started from the spare room of founders Terence Chung and Kelly Yee in 2017, FRUU developed as an initiative to add value to the waste produced in the agricultural waste stream, reduce the use of resource intensive materials, whilst making sustainability an accessible lifestyle. All products are designed, manufactured and produced from their workshop in London and FRUU is currently stocked in 1000+ stores in the UK, EU, Australia and South Korea. Terence also took part in Innovating for Growth to access professional expertise and advice on critical business areas, strategy planning, marketing and intellectual property. 

Cost: Gift boxes start at £2

Where to buy: FRUU

Zero-waste cordial

Natasha with her selection of cordials

Another from our Start-Up Day Circular Economy panel, Natasha from Urban Cordial started her business by foraging for ingredients in her allotment to turn them into cordials. Over a third of global food does not reach our plates, often because of the appearance of the item, even though it is perfectly safe to eat. Natasha, being aware of this issue, contacted local farms to source their surplus food produce and to date, Urban Cordial has helped to save over 100 tonnes of fruit from landfill. Urban Cordial’s production process is also zero waste with all fruit pulp going to the local farms to become animal feed.

Cost: Get the full range for £48

Where to buy: Urban Cordial

For those cosy nights in

Hot chocolate made with Kokoa tabs shown by the hot chocolate glass

A collection of single origin hot chocolates made with tablets and flakes of real chocolate; starting with White and then in varying cocoa percentages from Venezuela 58%, Organic Peru 70%, Academy of Chocolate Gold winning Haiti 75% up to a 100% pure cocoa! Everything, but the White, is registered with the Vegan Society so you can make it with your favourite milk.

Cost: Prices vary; use BLGIFT at checkout to get free shipping on all orders over £10.00 until the end of December!

Where to buy? Kokoa Collection

Handpicked luxury for the home and garden

Sophie Conran with some flowers in a dining room setting

At Sophie Conran they know that giving a personal gift to a loved one is the ultimate treat. Their collection has something unique to suit every special person in your life. From Sophie’s licensed ranges, exclusive collections and hand picked products, they have curated an inspirational shop for the whole home and garden.

Cost: Various

Where to buy: Sophie Conran

I’m dreaming of an Italian Christmas…

A bottle of Negroni by Primo Aperitivo next to a crystal glass filled with the cocktail

Primo Aperitivo encapsulates the very best of Italy making the Italian Aperitivo easy to enjoy in a sharing format. In addition to the most famous Italian Aperitivo, the Negroni cocktails, Primo Aperitivo is the first brand to release the Americano and Sbagliato cocktails, carbonated upon bottling, which create the first ever range of classic Italian Aperitivo cocktails in a ready to serve format. Primo is committed to serve the best and most authentic cocktails sustainably: each cocktail is produced and bottled using 100% renewable energy and every ingredient is produced at the distillery to reduce carbon footprint and wastage.

Cost: £27.90

Where to buy: Primo Aperitivo

Precious stones for a precious person

Tomasz Donocik Crocodile cufflinks

Innovating for Growth business, Tomasz Donocik, designs and manufactures bespoke and high jewellery sold worldwide in stores such as Saks Avenue (New York), Isetan Men (Japan) and Tsum (Moscow). If you are looking for something extra special, they also offer a bespoke tailor made service where clients can turn their dreams into modern day heirlooms.

Cost: Prices start at £250

Where to buy: Tomasz Donocik

For the creatives

Jen from Stitch and Story holding a ball of yarn and knitting needles

Stitch & Story is a craft kits company based in London, revamping knitting and crochet as simple, modern and aspirational skills. They empower people to start their own creative projects and tell their own stories using chunky yarns, easy-to-follow instructions and online video tutorials. Stitch & Story believe in the power to create, personalise and achieve something meaningful by bringing out the artisan in everyone. Co-founder, Jennifer Lam, took part in our Innovating for Growth programme and with the help of IP experts; she has launched her business in international markets.

Cost: Various gift offers

Where to buy: Stitch & Story

Fashionable butchers for a Christmas lunch

Flock & Herd's Turkey at Christmas dinner surrounded by other plates of Christmas food

A small but growing butchery located in Peckham and Beckenham, Flock & Herd aim to provide the very best possible quality and range of produce, combined with their service and experience. This Christmas they have carefully selected the best festive treats from Appledore Free Range Turkey to a perfectly dry aged Ayshire Rib of Beef, whether it’s a small lunch for two or a family feast there are plenty of tasty and delicious delights for you to enjoy.

Cost: Various + £30 deposit payable on the phone

Where to buy: Flock & Herd

For those with a sweet tooth

Snowman piñata from Sweet Paper Creations, with Christmas decorations

If you're tired of board games and looking for a fun family activity to do on Christmas day, Sweet Paper Creations have just what you need! The business supported by the Start-ups in London Libraries project in Waltham Forest make and sell piñatas, made from recycled materials, for any occasion, you can even commission your own bespoke character! The profits from their shop help to deliver their “Make It and Break It” workshops, which provide a creative outlet for those suffering from mental health issues, stress, bereavement.

Cost: Various (Snowman, pictured, £30)

Where to buy: Sweet Paper Creations

Get glamourous

Model wearing a necklace from Delmora

Visit Delmora's online shop for the perfect gift to add a touch of Christmas sparkle to any outfit. Delmora took part in the Start-ups in London Libraries project in the borough of Bexley, they offer a variety of beautiful jewellery items and accessories to help you turn a 'good look' into a 'great look'. 

Cost: Various

Where to buy: Delmora

Make a splash

Moon Cycle Bath Bomb from Haus of CBD

Haus of 420 have just what you need to unwind after the big day of festivities! Handcrafted using pure and organic CBD, essential oils and detoxifying natural spa mineral salts. It offers you consistency, relief, balance and calm resulting in the best nights sleep you’ve probably had in a while. Each bath bomb contains 50mg of CBD and 100% peace. Haus of 420 received local support in Lewisham from the Start-ups in London Libraries project.

Cost: £9

Where to buy: Haus of 420

Spread the Christmas cheer

Gingerbread greeting card from MerryCherie, next to a cookie cutter

MerryCherie offer a beautiful range of positive wellbeing cards for you to share with your friends and family over the festive season. They are proud to be as environmentally friendly as possible, the cards are wrapped in recycled brown paper and safely and securely packaged in hardbacked/padded envelopes for postage. The Start-ups in London Libraries local support in Lewisham helped Sheree-Marie to start her business MerryCherie.

Cost: (Gingerbread card, pictured, £2.95)

Where to buy: MerryCherie

Handmade with care

Norio knots Woven Necklace Kit from Crafty North Londoner

Crafty North Londoner is a group of London based artisans producing non-mass produced handmade products, with sustainable and ethical practices at the forefront of their activities. The business supported by Start-ups in London Libraries in Haringey offer beautifully created products so you can make sure the gift you give is the most unique one under the tree.

Cost: Various (Mini Necklace Kit, pictured, £24+)

Where to buy: NorioKnots

06 December 2021

Introducing Fiona Wedderburn-Graham and Jennifer McLean, the co-directors of Amaze Associates

Amaze Associates, founded by Fiona Wedderburn-Graham and Jennifer McLean, is a transformational coaching company that empowers individuals and  businesses to achieve their goals and to navigate work and life challenges. We spoke to Fiona and Jennifer to find out more about their business and experience with the Start-ups in London Libraries programme.


'Our coaching provides clients with a safe and confidential space in which to explore the issue at hand; discover potential solutions and to develop a growth mindset so they are confident to take action and move forward. We are their cheerleaders, however we also challenge as well as support our clients to understand that they have the power to make the choices that will lead them to achieve the results they want; whether that is for their business, career or life. 

Our business idea had been marinating for a long time. Both of us were really fortunate to have received the most dynamic personal and professional development from amazing mentors and coaches throughout our careers.  This really influenced our leadership styles and led us to coaching staff and leaders inside and external to our organisations.  We always said we would go into business together, but never knew when; given that we were both busy     working in very demanding jobs.  When Covid hit we could see that a coaching service would be of real benefit to others;  because of the emerging impact on job security, well-being and the just the sheer force of unrelenting change. So the spark was lit and it was time to make a start.   

Why did you want to start up a business? 

To be honest it has always been a dream of ours and that sounds very cliche. We had both spent years contributing to someone else’s business, vision or mission and whilst we learnt a lot we wanted to be the CEO’s of our own, articulating our vision, deciding on how we wanted to work and to provide a coaching service where people would feel listened to and inspired to take action.  We are driven by our deep belief in the power of coaching and   mentoring to transform and help someone's performance at work, success in a new role, develop resilience, manage change, become a better leader and shed imposter syndrome.  Another element that drives us is working with people, particularly women some of whom have reported that they did not feel seen or heard in the workplace and often-times in wider society; leaving them feeling invisible. Lockdown was a bit like the quiet before the storm. We could see that the pandemic was having a negative impact on the confidence levels of individuals and business. We’re not valiant doctors, nurses or carers but we were not going to just sit there and not help in the best way we knew how.

How did the SiLL project help you in setting up your business?

Although we are seasoned professionals we wanted to refresh our business skills, so that we took the right steps that would help us to position ourselves for success. The SiLL project helped us do just that through the fantastic workshops it offers.

The workshops SiLL provides were great, particularly the get ready for business, marketing and finance workshops. SiLL also provided excellent networking opportunities.

However the most helpful were the 121’s with our SME Champion (Mark Berbeck). Our 121’s helped us to consolidate the learning and gave us more business insight. Our champion connected us with other businesses, funding sources and helped us to think about how to scale the business. What came across quite strongly was our Champion's belief in our business and our capacity to do well.

Can you tell us a bit about business community that is developing as a part of SiLL

As a business we have connected with the library's Instagram and the SiLL group on Facebook. This has produced opportunities for networking and potential collaboration.

What was the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on your business/plans to start up a business?

We started our business in during the COVID-19 pandemic; but we weren’t hugely impacted like other businesses. However, we did slow our wider plans until lockdown lifted. This gave us a chance to continue to shape the business and create a website. We also reviewed the needs of our clients, so we could align this with our coaching offer, plus we moved our coaching sessions online, temporarily halting all face to face coaching. Because we saw this as an opportunity to help we also delivered several webinars; our first was on the subject of the impact of Covid; which was well attended and provided an opportunity for people to share what they were experiencing and to feel supported.

What advice would you give anyone looking to start up a business?

Our advice would be to firstly work out what you want to do and the problem you’re going to be solving with your business idea. Plan, do your research, get skilled up on how to run and market your business to give yourself the best chance of success. Understand your service or product. Find your niche; you can always add new elements later. Know your worth by pricing appropriately. Finally, you need staying power and a dash of passion for what you do. Remember even if you fail, that doesn’t signal the end, you can learn from the experience and begin again, so throw your hat in the ring; because you’ll never know if you don’t try. If you’re struggling and require some coaching Amaze Associates are here to help.

What are the key things you have learnt while starting up your business?

We have learnt the importance of visibility; scary as it seems we understood that if people were going to find out about your business and become clients; we had to put ourselves out there. In addition, feedback is healthy. We may not like hearing it, but if you take the emotion out of any negative feedback and use it to improve your  business; the results will surprise you. Doing your due diligence pays off.  Don’t waste time comparing your business to another as this can disable you, its important to stay focused and have confidence in what you do. Know when is a deal is not a deal. We are always willing to review what we have done and celebrate our achievements no matter how small. Getting paid on time can be a challenge but it pays to have clear payment terms and a process for chasing unpaid invoices.    

What would you say to anyone looking to go to a SiLL workshop/talk to their local SME Champion?

There is something incredibly rewarding about creating a business from scratch and being central to its growth. So just sign up. We realise that if you haven’t fully formulated your business idea or you’ve just started up, you may feel a bit fearful. But you’ll be in good hands with the SiLL team and in the same room as people who are in a similar position. The workshops provide a solid learning platform on which to build your business. Plus you can have one-to-one sessions with one of the brilliant SME champions. Your SME champion will be your cheerleader and critical friend.

The SiLL Project acts as an anchor and stops you feeling buffeted around, pointing you in the right direction with great workshops that are delivered in a motivational and fun way.'


For more on Start-ups in London Libraries and how to register for our upcoming workshop, visit