Innovation and enterprise blog

43 posts categorized "Market research"

04 August 2015

How to research your local area

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In the Business & IP Centre we often get enquiries about how to research a particular geographical area. With an increasing interest in ‘keeping trade local’ and in the provenance of products, many start-ups are choosing to establish and market themselves as ‘local’ businesses - for instance working with the community, or sourcing suppliers from the nearby area. Others are simply interested in finding out more about their area in terms of customers, competitors and marketing opportunities.


Luckily there is a wealth of information available on specific localities and entrepreneurs can use this information to pinpoint their target market and tailor their promotional activity. For instance, a retailer of high-end luxury goods might want to focus their business in an affluent area, in order to attract high-earning local customers. A new restaurant might think twice about opening on a street with lots of established competition – but it may benefit them to know about nearby markets and food-sellers who could act as suppliers. A fashion designer could research local events and networks where there’s potential to sell or promote their products. Below are a few of the resources you can use to research your area.

At the British Library Business & IP Centre

Local Data Online (access via terminals in the Business & IP Centre)

Local Data Online gives data and insights for locations, business types and companies. Its searchable map tool lets you select a specific area and examine the overall retail make-up, identify local businesses, or check the geographical spread of an industry or company. It also gives addresses and contact details for individual shops, lists available vacant units, and gives a demographic profile of the area.

You can search for a specific location, company and/or retail category, and information is displayed on easy-to-read maps and diagrams. Extra information for locations includes vacancy rates, the mix of independent shops vs. chains, crime statistics, average earnings and house prices. 

Researching your neighbourhood  image 2

COBRA (access via terminals in the Business & IP Centre)

COBRA is an encyclopaedia of practical information for starting, running and managing a small business. Included in the database are a number of ‘Local Area profiles’, covering towns and regions throughout the country. A Local Area Profile will typically include information on sources of business support and advice, financial support, workspaces, business networks, business directories, libraries, local authority trading licences, business rates and HM Revenue & Customs.

Company databases: FAME, MarketIQ, Kompass, ORBIS, OneSource (access via terminals in the Business & IP Centre)

Our company databases are searchable by location, meaning that you can create lists of companies operating in a specific geographical area.

Grantfinder (access via terminals in the Business & IP Centre)

Gives details of 4,000 grants, loans and awards, searchable by geographical area.


Other Sources

Business & IP Centre National Network

The Business & IP Centre National Network provides entrepreneurs and SMEs across the country with free access to a wealth of databases, market research, journals, directories and reports. There is a programme of free and low-cost one-to-one advice and workshops delivered by trained staff and business experts on a range of topics including starting up, business planning, marketing and intellectual property. Find a Centre near you.

Your local library

Many libraries will hold local information, newspapers, directories and data.

Social media

Social media can be a powerful research tool. Lots of local groups, associations and businesses will have a presence on social media websites such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter - or try searching Twitter for name of the area you’re interested in to get rolling updates of what’s going on in the area. 

Council websites

Your local council can provide helpful information about doing business in your area. Some councils also run business support programmes. 

ONS Neighbourhood Statistics

ONS Neighbourhood Statistics allows you to find detailed statistics or a summary report for specific geographic areas. Covers areas such as crime, economics, education, health, housing, income, lifestyle, population, migration, physical environment.

Official Labour Market Statistics (NOMIS)

NOMIS allows you to find detailed labour market (population, employment, economic activity, qualifications, jobseeker’s allowance claimants) statistics for specific geographic areas.

Data for Neighbourhoods and Regeneration

Data for Neighbourhoods and Regeneration identifies and signposts datasets available for neighbourhoods on areas like population, deprivation and income, employment, economy and enterprise, education and skills, health and disability, housing and households, crime and community, environment, access and transport.


As highlighted in an earlier blog, the website Netmums has comprehensive listings of small businesses in a local area, from garden services to website design.

Google Street View

Google Street View is invaluable for seeing what a neighbourhood actually looks like, street by street.

Social Sciences databases

A number of the Social Sciences databases can be helpful to those looking to research a particular area. In particular the local government and statistics databases may be of use.

FreeimagescomSille Opstrup
Image: Opstrup


  • London Datastore: Greater London Authority (GLA) one-stop shop for statistics and reports on London, spanning topics from culture to crime. The Community page provides visualisations based on the data.
  • Whereabouts London: Website using open data to profile London areas.  Clicking on a locality on the map will give you information on local demographics.


Sally Jennings on behalf of the Business & IP Centre 

22 May 2015

Inventing Chocolate with Amelia Rope

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Starting your own chocolate business is something many of us only dream about. Amelia Rope is one woman who has immersed herself in the chocolate industry and has come up with new and innovative flavours to tantalise our taste buds. But how does one become a chocolatier or even begin to make the dream of owning a chocolate business a reality? Amelia is a current participant on the Business & IP Centre Innovating for Growth Programme and we had the chance to ask her some of our questions. 

Photo credit: Lucy Young

Hi Amelia, where did the idea come from to start your own business?

I have always wanted to have my own business from a young age.  Looking back I think I always wanted freedom and independence from anyone controlling me financially. During my 20’s and early 30’s I was a PA for small businesses, large corporates, hospitals and doctors surgeries.  I qualified as a massage therapist, studied nutrition, herbal medicine and qualified as an aromatherapist and my last ‘proper’ job before starting my business was as a Practice Manager. It took some time to finally get where I am now – I founded Amelia Rope Chocolate in September 2007 and now my chocolates are sold in hotels and department stores across the UK, in the US, Dubai and Malaysia. 

I appeared on Masterchef twice - I am definitely not a chef but it gave me the courage to contemplate life amongst food. Also having a life-coach helped me believe in myself, and encouraged me to take a risk which helped me convert from a Practice Manager to a chocolatier. Another key turning point was when a well-known food editor flippantly said I could be the next Juliette Binoche (I don’t think they had any idea I would take it literally!) and when my chocolate diamond geezer Patrick Reeves, who believed in me so much, put in a commission for 1,000 chocolate bars to get me kick-started. I was then lucky enough to meet Ewan Venters (then Director of Food Halls, Selfridges) who spotted my first two bars and stocked them in Selfridges. 

Photo credit: Mary Wadsworth

Tell us about what makes Amelia Rope Chocolate so unique

I believe small businesses are unique in that they allow the personality of the business owner to shine through in their products, and this allows them to really make their mark in their industry.  Chocolate confectionary is generally a completely crowded market. However, when I entered the premium chocolate bar market there were very few of us – in fact it was not such a flooded market then as it is now as there isn't as much space in this area.  When you look at the brands in this sector you will see each of our own characters/individual stamps coming through. I love splashes of colour, design and have always had a very distinct palate for what I like to eat, loathe and crave.  Put all of these together, and a mind which whirls around with lots of ideas, and I suppose you will get something different!  Some of my recipes are traditional, but the end flavour I believe is different. Perhaps this stems from the way I create my recipes which are as if I was developing an aromatherapy blend.  My love of sea salt influences my flavours and chocolate is such a good medium to carry salt: especially milk and white chocolate. 

How did you know there was a market for your premium chocolate bars?

By complete luck! My bespoke products just hit the spot with consumers immediately after a press drop off to most of the national newspapers and magazines.  My business featured in Stella Magazine, and it just rolled on from there.  The chocolate bars were my most effective product to market in the range. I also went to the Business & IP Centre, whenever I had time to learn about trends, markets and begin to think of strategies and I still visit the Centre today when researching markets and developing my business plans. 

Photo credit: Mary Wadsworth


What hurdles have you had to overcome in your journey so far?

The main hurdle is lack of funding to really propel forward at the pace I want to.  My aim was to crank it up and have an opportunity to sell out within five years.  It is also difficult to achieve a good work/life balance – for so many years I worked every day and for crazy hours.  I found I let go of friends, family and relationships because my business consumed me.  Now I take time off at the weekends (unless it is the busy seasonal times or I am travelling on business), go out at least 2-3 times a week in the evening and go to the gym regularly.  Mentally and physically I feel so much better as a result. I have very high expectations of myself and all the people I work with but each hurdle has been worth overcoming to get where I am today.  

How did you first hear about the Innovating for Growth Programme?

On twitter and I immediately went to the website to explore more.  I was amazed when I won a place and it has delivered way beyond my expectations. It has given me a chance to really focus on my business.  For some time I have wanted to strip my business right down to its core, cross-examine it in a critical way and then to put appropriate pieces back together, alongside bringing new facets in such as streamlining my production.  With a team of experts and one-to-one sessions my learning curve has been intense, tough and challenging at times, but I have learnt so much and feel in a much better position with my business than when I started.  Life is about learning and transforming – with Innovating for Growth I have begun to do both and I can’t wait to see how much further I grow with the help of the programme to build a good, effective team to support me and my business and grow significantly both in UK and globally.

Photo credit: Mary Wadsworth

What tips would you give to any entrepreneurs looking to scale up?

When you set up try and bear in mind that your product may be a hit, which will lead to scaling up.  Have a plan about how your product can do this, the costs involved and how it will work for your brand.  Applying for Innovating for Growth can certainly help anyone on this journey. Be prepared to have a good stash of cash too!

If, like Amelia, you want to scale up apply for Innovating for Growth today.

ERDF Logo Portrait Colour Web

Innovating for Growth is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund 

18 November 2014

Book Review - Salvation in a start-up? The origins and nature of the self-employment boom

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The digital publication of this book by Benedict Dellot, published by the RSA (Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce) on May 2014, attracted my attention when it was featured last month on the “Small Business and Entrepreneurship” section of the Management & Business Studies Portal. It is a research study report, available for everyone as open-access material and there is no need to be registered as user of the portal to access it. 

Salvation in a start-up

The report looks at the reasons behind the rise of self-employment and microbusinesses in the UK, and is a very interesting report to read as it highlights the profiles of the main users of the Business & IP Centre.  It is an output of the project named “The Power of Small”, which seeks to better understand the growing community of self-employed and microbusinesses, and was launched by RSA in collaboration with Etsy, an online marketplace for handmade goods and vintage items.

Six tribes of self-employment

The report focuses on the individuals involved in the self-employed community, trying to answer questions such as why so many people are turning to self-employment and what this means for them personally. It segments the self-employed community into six “tribes”, from Visionaries all the way through to Dabblers (see Figure 1), presenting a typical case for each “tribe”. The author considers this typology crucial for policymakers who can then create effective interventions and policy solutions that will improve the livelihood of the self-employed community.

 The report highlights the following main research findings and recommendations:

  • Most people choose to be self-employed for greater freedom, meaning and control, defying the myth that those who started up in the recessionary period of the last five years did so to escape unemployment.
  • The biggest increases in self-employment have been in professional occupations (one of the highest skilled groups), defying the myth that most of the newly self-employed are low-skilled odd-jobbers.
  • Very few that started up in the last 5 years have taken employees, so there is need to stimulate growth and recruitment in the self-employed;
  • Despite the majority agreeing that the economy is getting better and the country is heading in the right direction, very few agree that the government adequately supports the self-employed and that the welfare system is fair to people in their position; there is need for urgent review of government policy on self-employment, from welfare and taxes, all the way through to education and housing.

 In the next phase of the Power of Small project, attention will be focused on the wider economic and social implications of the growth of the microbusiness community. This report – the first of three -  gives a good understanding of what it means for the people directly involved, but questions remain about the impact of a growing microbusiness community on major issues that affect us all, such as productivity, innovation, jobs growth, inequality and living standards.

Irini Efthimiadou on behalf of the Business & IP Centre London

11 November 2014

What’s new on… Datamonitor Consumer

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One of the resources we provide here at the British Library Business & IP Centre is free access to a number of business and intellectual property databases; helping entrepreneurs and businesses to research trends, markets and companies, and to utilise and protect their IP. If you’ve ever wondered what the market trends are in a particular industry, how to write a business plan, or where to search for trademark registrations, then you can use our databases to find out. The databases are regularly updated and in a monthly blog series, we take a look at what’s new.

This month, we look at the Datamonitor Consumer database, which provides analysis of the global consumer goods market. Spanning areas including food and drink, cosmetics and toiletries, pet care and household products, the database covers key category, consumer, innovation and marketing trends and includes product launch and market data analytics tools.

Datamonitor is particularly useful for identifying key trends and innovations in a specific industry or market sector; helping users to analyse opportunities and gaps in the market. Another key feature is the ‘Successes and failures’ series; helpful for those wishing to examine the strategies behind successful products. Datamonitor also provides market data and statistics.

Readers can download up to 20 pages of text per day from Datamonitor.

Below is a selection of the latest reports:

Product Innovation Updates:

Reports drawing out some of the themes, trends and recent innovations in a particular industry, as well as identifying the underlying trends driving product innovation in this area.

•    Sauces, Dressings, Condiments, and Spreads Product Innovation Update – September 2014
•    Skincare Product Innovation Update – September 2014
•    Spirits Product Innovation Update – September 2014
•    Snack Product Innovation Update – September 2014
•    Ready Meals Product Innovation Update – September 2014
•    Male Grooming Product Innovation Update – September 2014
•    Hot Drinks Product Innovation Update – September 2014
•    Non-Carbonated Soft Drinks Product Innovation Update – September 2014
•    Household Care Product Innovation Update – September 2014
•    Oral Hygiene Product Innovation Update – September 2014
•    Make-Up Product Innovation Update – September 2014
•    Dairy Product Innovation Update – September 2014
•    Fragrance Product Innovation Update – September 2014
•    Haircare Product Innovation Update – September 2014
•    Functional Food and Drinks Product Innovation Update – September 2014
•    Confectionery Product Innovation Update – September 2014
•    Beer Product Innovation Update – September 2014
•    Carbonated Soft Drinks Product Innovation Update – September 2014
•    Bakery and Cereals Product Innovation Update – September 2014
•    Baby Personal Care Product Innovation Update – September 2014

Category insights

Reports outlining the most important consumer and product trends impacting a particular industry globally.

The reports include global consumer insight analysis, case studies and product examples. Key considerations and potential opportunities are identified based on consumer preferences and recent product innovations in this category.

  • Consumer and Innovation Trends in Suncare 2014


Reports identifying and examining key cross-industry innovation and trends, from new product development to organisational structures.

  • Retrophilia

Innovation Tracking

Detailed analysis of new products, innovation or trends.

  • Will Coca-Cola Life revive the carbonates industry?
  • Packaging Innovation of the Month: cupcake cream is child's play

Successes and Failures

Case studies analysing the success or failure of a particular product or service, with insights into specific sectors as well as the relevant consumer trends and attitudes that drive innovation success

  • Success: Nivea "Sun Block Ad"
  • Success: Kellogg's Special K Flatbread
  • Success: Ragú's Rebrand
  • Failure: Kashi

 Health and Nutrition

Reports identifying and analysing key innovations and trends across the health and nutrition sector. 

  • Trends to Watch in Cough, Cold, and Flu
  • Functional Nutrition: Energy

Sally Jennings on behalf of Business & IP Centre

24 September 2014

What’s new on… eMarketer

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One of the resources we provide here at the British Library Business & IP Centre is free access to a Computer imagenumber of business and intellectual property databases; helping entrepreneurs and businesses to research trends, markets and companies, and to utilise and protect their IP.

If you’ve ever wondered what the market trends are in a particular industry, how to write a business plan, or where to search for trademark registrations, then you can use our databases to find out. The databases are regularly updated and in a monthly blog series, we take a look at what’s new.

Emarketer-logo-primaryThis month, we take a look at the eMarketer database, which provides international market research and trend analysis on internet, e-business, online marketing, media, mobile, and emerging technologies. eMarketer is particularly useful for those in a digital/technology focused industry or start-up, however, as most businesses now incorporate some element of ‘digital’ - from selling online, to social media - it also provides useful insights for entrepreneurs and employees across a number of sectors.

The reports bring together information from approximately 2,800 sources, including research firms, trade associations, consultancies, government agencies and universities. All research is globally focused and information is compiled into reports, charts, articles, interviews, webinars and newsletters. eMarketer is easy to search, with a versatile interface allowing both simple and/or complex search strategies. It’s particularly strong on data and statistics, with most reports including tables, charts and graphs.

Readers can download up to 10 reports per day.

eMarketer update their reports on a very regular basis, so there are lots of new ones each month. Some selected recent highlights are:

UK Holiday Shopping Preview: A Merry Season Forecast for Ecommerce

A look at UK ecommerce sales forecasts for the Christmas period, including statistics and trends. 

Healthcare Marketing to Baby Boomers: Helping the 'Forever Young' Age on Their Own Terms 

Examining the 'Baby Boomer' consumer demographic, with trends, issues and statistics. 

Digital Usage in the UK: Midyear 2014 Complete eMarketer Forecast

Comprehensive set of key metrics for the UK digital participation, including internet, mobile phones and social media users. 

UK Content Markeeting: Meeting the Challenge of Being Seen and Shared

Report looking at content marketing attitude and options, with a particular focus on the increasingly important role social media is playing in both its distribution and dissemination. 

Worldwide B2C Ecommerce: Q3 2014 Complete Forecast 

Ecommerce image

Comprehensive forecasts for business-to-customer ecommerce sales 



UK Cross-Channel Commerce: Keeping track of complex consumer journeys 


Report considering some of the current cross-channel behaviours UK shoppers and buyers display, their prevalence, and how retailers and marketers are trying - or failing - to keep up.

UK Social Networking Trends: Mobile is Becoming the New Normal 

Examining the size and composition of the social network user base in the UK, how these users are accessing the various platforms and what this means for marketers looking to reach them. 

22 September 2014

Book review - Lean Analytics by Alistair Croll and Benjamin Yoskovitz

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LeanAnalytics-coverAs a start-up, you may ask yourself why data analysis is important your business. According to Alistair Croll and Benjamin Yoskovitz, authors of Lean Analytics, taking a long, hard look at some statistics is for “anyone trying to make his or her organisation more effective”.

A useful resource for anyone using the Lean Startup approach, the book offers insight into the fundamentals of why you need data to succeed, and what data that should be to help you get your product to market in an efficient and cost effective manner.

The book starts with the basics, builds up a scenario and then demonstrates a real-life example using case studies, for example, explaining the differences between quantitative and qualitative data, suggesting you need both statistics and user feedback to get a real sense of what’s working and what’s not, then how this was applied to an actual business.

Lean Analytics helps you to grasp not just what a metric is, but what a valuable metric is, and what this can do for your business. You may have a product for a group, but what niche are you attracting? How do you utilise that information? This book will help you make more informed decisions will could potentially save you time and money – and steer you towards a breakthrough moment. For example, did you know photo-sharing site Flickr started life as a chat? Remember, the Lean Startup listens to what its customers want!

From looking at how much a customer spends on an e-commerce platform to website design to software as a service, Lean Analytics helps you to develop the right questions to ask and what to do with those answers without getting lost in jargon or losing sight on what data actually represents – actual people – your customers.

Nadia Kuftinoff on behalf of the Business & IP Centre

11 September 2014

Healthcare Industry Market Research in the Business & IP Centre

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With all of the great market research databases available in the Business & IP Centre there is a danger that the reports we have in printed format might get overlooked. This would be a mistake because there are some really useful publications to be found on the shelves.

If you are researching the healthcare industry, you may be interested to learn that we have quite a few reports from two of the major healthcare industry analysts, Laing Buisson and Espicom.

Laing Buisson is the UK’s foremost provider of market intelligence on the private healthcare sector.  They also cover the community care and childcare sectors.

Laing Buisson logo

Among the reports you can find in the Centre is Laing’s Healthcare Market Review, which is widely regarded in the industry as the definitive analysis of the independent healthcare sector in the UK.  This is an invaluable reference for decision makers in both the private and public sectors.  We currently have the 2013/2014 edition in the Business & IP Centre at shelf reference (B)MKT 362.102541 Business.

Other recently published reports in the collection include: Children’s Nurseries 2013 – (B)MKT 338.47362712094105 Business; Health Cover UK Market Report 2013 – (B)MKT 338.473683820094105 Business; and Domiciliary Care 2013 – (B)MKT 338.47362140808460941 Business.

You can find full details of all the Laing Buisson reports we hold by entering the search terms (B)MKT Laing into our online catalogue.

Another highly respected analyst in the healthcare industry is Espicom.  Like Laing Buisson, Espicom is a UK-based publisher.  Their reports cover a wide range of healthcare related subjects such as the developments in the treatment of cancer, cardiovascular drugs, drug delivery methods, pharmaceutical generics, medical imaging, orthopaedics, cardiovascular devices, in vitro diagnostics and diabetes.  They also publish country specific reports.

Espicom logo

We have over 150 Espicom reports in the Business & IP Centre.  Recently published titles include: Physician-based Point-of-care Diagnostics: Products, Players and Outlook to 2017 - (B)MKT 338.47616075 Business; Advances in Molecular Imaging 2013: a Market Coming of Age - (B)MKT 338.47681761 Business; and the regional volumes of the Medical Device Intelligence Report 2013 - (B)MKT 338.4761020943 Business.

You can find a full list of all of the Espicom reports held in the Business & IP Centre on our catalogue. Enter the search terms (B)MKT Espicom.

Michael Pattinson on behalf of the Business & IP Centre

10 September 2014

New database in the Business & IP Centre: Local Data Online

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Adding to the extensive list of databases that we currently have, we have also now introduced a new database at the Business & IP Centre: Local Data Online (LDO).

LDO complements our existing market research and company databases by providing insights into the ever-changing UK retail and leisure landscape, allowing users to instantly understand the health and make-up of high streets, retail parks and shopping centres. Field researchers from the company spend over 2,000 hours a week in the field collecting and aggregating information for the database.

The database’s functionality allows you to search and extract information in a number of helpful ways. You can examine the retail make-up of a particular location – for instance a city, town or region – with the results displayed on a map. Retail units are then broken down by industry classification, so users would be able to pinpoint, for instance, the number of coffee shops in a certain area - and see what percentage of the whole this number represents.

They can also download location summaries, and lists of companies along with addresses and contact details.  Key statistics include the number of vacant units, opening and closure rates, and the mix of independent and chain businesses.

Local Data Company blog image 1

A second method of searching is by industry classification. Type in your industry sector – for instance ‘cafés & fast food’ - and your region, and the database will show you the top 20 companies in this industry/area, the growth or decline rates by units or net change, and distribution between high street, shopping centres, retail parks, and other.  

Finally, you can choose to look at the ‘retailer overview’, which gives location coverage details for specific companies, and percentage change over the last year. This feature allows you to compare up to 5 companies, so you could examine the retail presence across the country for Costa Coffee versus Starbucks, for example.

  Local Data Company blog image 2

Local Data Online is useful for a number of reasons – to examine geographical trends, research local opportunities or competition, assess the suitability of a particular location for your business, or to create marketing lists. For instance, an entrepreneur opening a new coffee shop may wish to examine the make-up of an area to see if there are already lots of similar businesses already operating, or look at the mix of independents and chains to see how their business would fit in.

They could also look at the number of vacant units and openings and closures to examine the general retail health of the area. Suppliers of coffee beans, on the other hand, may wish to use the map functions to create a list of coffee shops in their locality that they could then market their product to. Or, if they want to research a particular B2B customer, the retailer profile would illustrate the company’s coverage across the country and the growth/decline rates of their outlets.

To access Local Data Online you need to visit the Business & IP Centre reading room. Find out more

Sally Jennings on behalf of Business & IP Centre 

09 September 2014

Using Netmums to find local business listings

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Netmums-logo-1339067868Recently I found myself talking to a reader who was intending to set up a small business in Orpington. One of the questions she asked me was: How can I do some basic market research? Well, there are plenty of sources that can give an overview of how the market in her particular business is doing in the UK as a whole, but she was chiefly interested in her local area.

One obvious question she needed to research was: What similar businesses are already operating in my area? Looking in the Yellow Pages  would be helpful, but I found another source that slightly surprised me, but nonetheless I can highly recommend: Netmums. (Not to be confused with Mumsnet, which is similar, but different.)

Founded in 2000, Netmums is the UK's fastest-growing online parenting organisation with over 1.7 million members and 8 million unique users each month. It is a family of local sites that cover the UK, each site offering information to mothers on everything from where to find playgroups and how to eat healthily to where to meet other mothers.  

Among many other things, Netmums gives local listings of small businesses that they could find useful  – and that means a very broad range of businesses, indeed.

Under four broad headings:  
1.    Household Help
2.    Other Local Services
3.    Women and Holistic
4.    Business Help

It has some three dozen categories, ranging all the way from Garden Services to Website Design and PC Repairs, by way of Hair, Nails, Beauty and Tanning, Food Banks, Driving Instructors, and much more.

What I particularly like is how it lists businesses not only in the town I ask for (when I typed in Orpington, it suggested Bromley to me, so I went with that), but also ranged further afield into neighbouring towns, within I estimated about 20 minutes’ driving time. This is just the sort of information that a hopeful start-up will need: if I want to start up in business as, say, a kitchen-fitter in Harpenden, I will want to know what other kitchen- fitters are already operating in nearby towns such as Luton or Welwyn Garden City – and Netmums will give me a list.

However, it may be fair to say that Netmums is not the clearest of websites to navigate.


Here are quick instructions on how to get to the local business listings:

  • Starting at the home page, click on Choose Location (at the top of the page), which leads you to a page with an interactive map and a Search box – you can use either.
  • If you type the name of your town in the Search-box, it gives you the regions that this name maps onto.
  • Click on one, and you will be given the options Join (wherever) or Log In as a guest.
  • Once you have chosen one of these, you get to your region’s local page. Now click on Local Services – a rather inconspicuous link near the top of the page, towards the right-hand side.

I don’t know how many hard-pressed parents find this slightly hidden corner of the Netmums site, but for a would-be start-up it is well worth exploring.

Rupert Lee on behalf of the Business & IP Centre

29 July 2014

Book review - The Directory of Grant Making Trusts

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Directory-of-grant-making-trusts-2014-2015bThis is the 23rd edition of a book that is invaluable to fundraisers, charities, social entrepreneurs, community groups and anyone seeking funding for their project. The directory is annual and lists details of all the grant making bodies in the UK.

The organisations listed range from the small trusts set up for good causes to large funding organisations such as Children in Need.

Each entry outlines what is funded and not funded, ranges of grant available, sample grants within the last few years, names of trustees and the finances of the organisation. Guidance is also given on how to apply.

The directory in very comprehensive as it also includes organisations who say they don’t want to be contacted on spec. The compliers leave them as it is a good indication of which organisations not to contact.

There are indexes of areas of funding (e.g. educational, special needs, arts, housing, health, recreation etc.). Also types of support (e.g. building, salaries, vehicles, equipment, project finance) and organisations that cover certain geographical regions within the UK and overseas.