THE BRITISH LIBRARY

Innovation and enterprise blog

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

Introduction

This blog is written by members of the Business & IP Centre team and some of our expert partners and discusses business, innovation and enterprise. Read more

10 December 2018

Contemporary twists on traditional festive gifts

It’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas so we decided to catch up with some of our Innovating for Growth alumni whose businesses become even busier over the festive period to get their take on seasonal trends, consumer behaviour and to see what they are offering this year... 

Mellissa Morgan, co-founder and Company Director of Ms. Cupcake in Brixton, has found that traditional flavours remain popular, but are wanted in contemporary and innovate ways, "Big successes this year have been our Stollen Muffin, which is a light and fluffy take on the traditional German treat. Our Mince Pie Squares have been a big hit with our B2B clients, flying off the shelves of their establishments”. 

Ms. Cupcake Grinch Cupcake
It’s also a great time of year to be playful, as Mellissa has seen with their ‘Grinch’ Chocolate Mint cupcakes. 

That’s not the only change in consumer habits Mellissa has noticed. Consumers’ lifestyle choices have also impacted on Ms. Cupcake, “Veganism has been on the rise over the last two years and retailers both big and small are taking note! When we opened the UK’s first vegan bakery back in 2011, we were a novelty. Now that vegan foods have become a firm fixture on the high street, we are in great company!. 

From food to feet... ChattyFeet, co-founded by Gil Kahana, is a brand of quirky, pun-filled, character socks, Gil says, “Here at ChattyFeet, we're very excited about Christmas. We love the Christmas lights, mulled wine and spending time with people we care about. The festive season can get pretty intense so we're also looking forward to chill out in January”. 

Their sock characters, however are causing mischief... Yayoi Toesame insists that ChattyFeet’s Christmas tree will have only circular shapes! Can you imagine? Is it a bit dotty or perhaps she's right? 

ChattyFeet1

Ernestoe Hemingway is doing OK apart from his constant demands. He wants ChattyFeet to let people know that he doesn't want any more books for Christmas (on social media)... Apparently he has enough books to read until 2020! 

ChattyFeet2

And lastly, a bit of an embarrassing one... If you bought Mr. Grrrril socks between 2017-2018, ChattyFeet need to warn you about a possible issue... Some customers sent us evidence of Mr. Grrrril opening up the presents early. 

ChattyFeet3

It sounds like ChattyFeet have a demanding bunch on their hands feet, but they aren't the only ones with a sense of humour. Rosie Tate, designer of cards and gifts at family-run business, Cath Tate Cards has a range of traditional and humorous Christmas cards. With the rise of digital communications, we asked Rosie if the trend of sending Christmas cards was in decline, “The rise and rise of the internet, email, text and social media might make you think traditional paper greeting card sending was dead, however this is not the case. In 2017 100 million single Christmas greeting cards were bought and in addition, an estimated 900m Christmas cards were sold in boxes and packs”. 

Cards1

Rosie add, “Every person in the UK sends on average 33 greeting cards a year. A text or an email is just not going to cut the mustard for Aunty Brenda at Christmas! A paper card is an obviously more thoughtful gesture. 

Which gets us thinking, we should probably make a start on writing ours... 

If you’d like to follow in the footsteps of these entrepreneurs and believe your business has what it takes, is based in London and has a turnover of £100,000 or more, why not apply for Innovating for Growth: Scale-up and take your business to the next level? Register your interest for our next intake today.

23 November 2018

IP Corner: Registered designs and knitting

When people think of intellectual property what most often springs to mind is patents, closely followed by trade marks. There are other forms of IP though and I came upon a good example of one when looking at gadgets to do with my favourite pastime – knitting.

This is the Wool Jeanie a nifty little device that holds the ball of wool/yarn whilst you are knitting releasing the wool evenly as you knit. The yarn holder is suspended from the frame using magnets and when not in use it can be disengaged from the frame and rested on the platform below.

Knitting

The Wool Jeanie is a UK registered design registered with the IPO UK and given design registration number RD6011452. The full design record can be viewed via the DesignView database upon entering the registered design number in the search box.

If you are not sure how to use the database, or if you are just interested, you can download our free IP guide A brief introduction to registered designs and registered design searching.

Registered designs protect the outward look of a product particularly the lines, contours, shape or texture, but they can also protect the material or ornamentation of the product. You cannot protect the way the design works, only the way it looks. To protect its functionality you would need to apply for a patent. For a design to be protectable it must be new and it must be unique.

A UK registered design gives the rights holder the exclusive right in the United Kingdom to make, use, sell, import and export any product embodying the design, if it is a shape, or bearing the design if it is ornamentation.

Registered designs can apply to a wide variety of products from packaging to furnishings, from clothing to jewellery and from household goods to textiles. However, registered designs do not last forever. Registered designs last a maximum of 25 years and are renewable every five years to the 25 year maximum. At the end of the 25 years, or if the renewal fees aren’t paid, the registered design falls into the public domain and is there for anyone to use.

So why should a business protect its designs?

By registering your designs you:

  • contribute to obtaining a return on investments made by you or your company into creating and marketing your products.
  • obtain exclusive right to the registered design allowing you to prevent or, if necessary, stop others from exploiting or copying your design without your written permission.
  • have the opportunity to sell or license the rights to the design to another enterprise for a fee.
  • strengthen your brand.

It is worth remembering that a vast majority of businesses today are web-based and the IP registrations the company holds, or the licenses it has to use others' IP, are assets of the business which can help increase the market value of a company and its products.

Within the UK unregistered ‘Design right’ also exists and automatically protects a design for a maximum of 10 years from the end of the calendar year in which the design was first sold or for 15 years after it was created whichever is the earlier. However, design right only applies to the shape and configuration of an object.

When deciding whether or not to register your designs it is worth speaking with an intellectual property attorney. Most will offer free 30 minute one-to-one advice sessions and you can find one in your local area via their website.

So what about my Wool Jeanie? Well, it has proved to be one of the best gadgets I have bought it my many years of knitting and crocheting and I am busy spreading the word about it to all my handicraft friends and acquaintances.

Maria Lampert, Intellectual Property Expert at the Business & IP Centre London

Maria has worked in the field of intellectual property since she joined the British Library in January 1993. She is currently the British Library Business & IP Centre’s Intellectual Property Expert, where she delivers 1-2-1 business and IP advice clinics, as well as intellectual property workshops and webinars on regular basis.

To see all upcoming workshops, webinars and events, visit our website.

14 November 2018

Anne-Marie Imafidon is changing the future by engaging young girls with technology


  

 As with most businesses, our Business & IP ambassador Anne-Marie Imafidon also had her light-bulb moment: a keynote lecture at a conference for women in technology, and the realisation that the number of women in the industry had been steadily declining for the last three decades. This resonated with her own experience of being one of just 3 girls in a class of 70 studying Maths and Computer Science at university. 

A child prodigy herself, Anne-Marie holds the current world record for the youngest girl ever to pass A-level computing aged 11, and is one of the youngest people to be awarded a Master's Degree in Mathematics by University of Oxford aged 20. So who better to reverse the trend than someone who has been inspired by maths and science, and went on to pursue a career in STEM?

DSC07879
Anne-Marie Imafidon MBE is an inspirational figure within maths, technology and business.


Less than a year after that momentous keynote lecture, STEMettes was born: a social enterprise that motivates young girls to take up Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths. The award-winning enterprise has since empowered over 40,000 girls to realise their potential, changing the future of technology one STEMette at a time in a landscape currently dominated by an overwhelmingly male workforce.
  
But not all went according to plan when Anne-Marie was setting it up, and her initial vision of what STEMettes should be changed in a number of ways. 

“There were several key aspects of what we do today that we were not going to pursue to begin with. One of them was working with schools, something we did not think would be part of our offer: and now we have a schools programme hosting trips into partner companies, we also support schools by running panels, sessions on site and more. Another one is mentoring, an important part of STEMettes today with a more-than-mentoring programme connecting young women with inspirational industry examples to guide their first steps. What was there from the beginning and has remained at the core of what we do is creating a free, fun and food-filled experience to inspire and support the next generation of girls into STEM while making them feel like they're part of something special... and cool."

6a01a3fcda9d38970b01b8d2e560be970c-500wi
"Diversity is important in any industry - and STEM especially. Diversity of thought leads to innovation.", Anne-Marie Imafidon, Head Stemmete. Photo: Robert Ormerod for The New York Times.

Anne-Marie is vocal about the importance of diversity, not just for its own sake, but diversity of thought as a necessary part of innovation: only by introducing the female perspective in industries that are severely lacking one can we create a genuinely equal future.

"We're a small, but passionate team doing what we can to help. We can't have women leaders if they're not joining the industry in the first place."

While working with girls from an early age is important, and a desire to pursue a career in STEM is a great first step, Anne-Marie says it is also crucial to have support at a post-education stage to facilitate real progress. Business is another area were there are plenty of barriers. 

"The Business & IP Centre, with hubs throughout the UK is a wonderful example of how free resources, accessible expert help and a programme of workshops and events in an inclusive, welcoming environment can make a tremendous difference in supporting entrepreneurs from all backgrounds. The fact that over half of the Business & IP Centre supports are women proves that demand is certainly there."

 

Ewa Domaradzka, Commercial Marketing Manager 

13 November 2018

Q&A with the Queen of Shops, Mary Portas

We couldn’t resist asking the Queen of Shops herself, Mary Portas, a few pressing questions before she takes to the stage at Inspiring Entrepreneurs: Work Like A Woman with Mary Portas.

Some of our Innovating for Growth graduates and Ambassador, Julie Deane OBE, picked Mary’s brain on surviving in business during a challenging economic climate, the rise of digital and more. Here's what they asked...

Alice Asquith, founder and creative director of Asquith: 

With the closure of some key High Street stores, what advice would you give to someone starting out in this rather challenging retail climate?

It depends on where you want to place yourself. The future of great High Street retail will be around experience, knowledge and incredible service. If you can put that at the heart of your business and you believe your offer is unique and relevant to that market and you’re not being screwed over on rent, you have a chance. There’s so much more I’d ask you but these are the first things you should be asking yourself. Why would somebody make the effort to come to my shop? if you can cover the above you have a chance.

Where would you recommend for women to network if they’d like to meet other like-minded retail business owners?

There are hundreds if not thousands of great networking groups across many sectors. They all offer different things so it’s totally dependent on what you’re looking for right now. If you can’t find one that’s giving you what you need, start your own.

What would you say are the key ingredients and factors to successful collaborations with likeminded partners?

Understand the word collaboration. A symbiotic relationship where both parties benefit and support each other. Collaboration is about being better together than apart. Often collaborations are done with one thinking about their benefit alone. You need to consider your collaborator’s reputation and how they’ll benefit too.

Julie Deane OBE, founder of Cambridge Satchel Company:

Should businesses concentrate on establishing themselves in their home market before casting their eyes overseas?

Absolutely. And especially when you’re selling something that’s connected culturally to your market. I’ve seen too many business who’ve gone international and the power of their brand back home has eroded.

Rowena Howie, founder of Revival Retro:

Up and down the country there are small specialist shops providing a remarkable in store experience whilst trying to respond to a digital economy. What advice does the Queen of Shops have for bricks and clicks micro-businesses trying to pay a living wage, offer flexible working and create opportunities for amazing people, whilst still paying rampant rents, unfair rates and facing competition on a global level? Where do you consider the focus should be for small retailers looking to grow and create opportunity?

Focus on community, customer experience and identity. If you nail those three you stand a chance.

 

If you missed Mary's talk, you can catch up on our YouTube channel.

12 November 2018

Celebrating Global Entrepreneurship Week at the Business & IP Centre

This year’s Global Entrepreneurship Week is a great opportunity to highlight women, youth and inclusion in entrepreneurship. We are proud that 56% of users to the Business & IP Centres in London and around the country are women and 38% of users are BAME, providing an accessible and inclusive environment for people at all stages of their business life.

Despite living in an information-rich world, sometimes it’s difficult to find what you are looking for, know the quality of the resources or where to go. Awareness weeks such as Global Entrepreneurship Week, allows us to join in these conversations and highlight the importance of our National Network of Business & IP Centres and all that we offer.

Throughout Global Entrepreneurship Week, in addition to our regular line up of workshops and webinars, we also have on offer sessions bringing together hundreds of attendees and many experienced and knowledgeable partners. Workshops include Books mean Business, Diverse Wisdom, Fashion business planning & strategy, Networking for success and more, as well as a special day-long free event, Work Like A Women Day, on Thursday 15 November, before the ultimate celebration of unstoppable feminine force; Inspiring Entrepreneurs: Work Like a Woman with Mary Portas, who will be launching her new book, exploring new ways of working.

We asked the presenters of Work Like A Woman Day, what it means to them to ‘work like a woman’ and here’s what they said…

Amy Tez, a professional actress who helps entrepreneurs and business leaders communicate with power, conviction and clarity
The Listening Leader

“I’m a woman but I see myself as more than that. I’m a human being like any other, doing the best I can. Coming from a challenging background, I bring my fighting spirit to my business and to helping others grow. My only focus is to help us all listen more, trust ourselves more and reconnect to our shared humanity.”

Kim Davies, marketing expert and journalist
The Heroines of Hollywood

“As a New Yorker living in London, I was told I had to completely change the way I did business. ‘Be less aggressive. Speak in a quieter tone. Talk about the weather before you get to business.’ It was exhausting. Over the years, I’ve given myself permission to be both. I took the best traits from both worlds and balanced it with my true self, so that I could grow as a person, but still remain genuine. That’s what Working Like A Woman has meant to me.”

Emine Rushton, Wellbeing Director at Psychologies, founder of The Balance Plan and conscious consultancy Leaf Create
The Purposeful Career

“For me it is about working in a way that is wholly aligned with my values, that puts my own needs and those of my family first, that supports social equality and positive change, and champions messages of kindness, ethics and truth. Utmost of all, never ever feeling pressurised to be anything other than who I am – and never trying to squeeze myself, or my business models, into a pre-defined box.”

We’d love to hear what you think it means to ‘work like a woman’, tweet us with the #BLMaryPortas and we’ll share our favourites!

Our events don’t just end when Global Entrepreneurship Week does… November highlights include Profit with Purpose (Tuesday 20 November), giving lessons and advice on what it takes to launch a socially impactful product and Passion into Pounds with Purpose (Thursday 29 November), which looks at the leap from employee to working for yourself.

We have also rounded up some of the events taking place around the National Network:

Business & IP Centre Northamptonshire

How to write winning words for your business website, Thursday 15 November, 10.00 – 12.00. Delivered by Stephen Church of Copywriter Pro and covers the key elements that will make a website do its job.

Business & IP Centre Liverpool

  • Product development clinic with Def Proc Engineering, Tuesday 13 November, 17.30 – 19.45
  • Be Your Own Boss advice drop-in with St Helens Chamber of Commerce, Wednesday 14 November, 14.00 – 16.15
  • Entrepreneur In Residence, Cllr Gary Millar’s business advice drop-in, Thursday 15 November, 13.00 – 16.00
  • Research your market! workshop, Thursday 15 November, 18.00 – 19.30
  • Smarta Business Starter advice drop-in with Alt Valley community Trust, Friday 16 November, 10.00 – 14.00

Business & IP Centre Hull

  • Using the UN Global Goals to unleash social business ideas, Tuesday 13 November, 10.00 – 15.00. Delivered by Chapter 3 Enterprise C.I.C.
  • Intellectual Property Clinic, one to one appointments, Wednesday 14 November, 14.00 – 17.00
  • Social Media for Business Clinic, one to one appointments, Thursday 15 November, 13.00 – 17.00

Business & IP Centre Sheffield

GE-WEEK

01 November 2018

Working in business as a couple: Bad idea or bliss?

We met Franck when he took part in the Innovating for Growth: Scale-up programme in 2012, with his partner Brijesh. Since then, their London-based photo and video studio, Kalory, has gone from strength to strength since launching in 2011 and in 2017, they launched a second venture, Heating & Plumbing, lifestyle accessories with a tongue in cheek attitude. We caught up with Franck to get his take on working together as a couple and how it affects their home and business lives...

Working and living together definitely has its advantages, but it also brings a lot of new challenges on both aspects of life: personal and professional. Our personal relationship was already very established, as we had met over 10 years before whilst working in New York. We both had corporate jobs for years but were always tempted by the freedom that entrepreneurship gives. Brij was the first one to take the plunge and he went freelance in 2005. Not to have a boss and the politics of a corporate life makes you start the month with an invaluable amount of happiness. We never really questioned the idea of starting a business, nor working together, it came really naturally. We didn’t even have a discussion about it. It just built up progressively before we took the jump. On both sides our parents have worked together for over 40 years, so we never really questioned ourselves on how feasible this was. Sometimes you just end up replicating, in part at least, your family model.

_81C0808
Brijesh and Franck © Kalory Photo & Video

The fact that we never clearly discussed it or put any types of guidelines in place, doesn't make it always easy. Business life obviously takes over our personal life and manages to penetrate every aspects of it. You don't even notice it sometimes; you could be having the perfect G&T moment in the middle of Devon on a beautiful sunny bank holiday weekend and the conversation slips to the business. The right balance is to accept the fact that your personal and professional lives have merged, but to make sure it doesn’t become only about the business. It becomes a way of living and doing things. One of the big pluses, is that you also never have that Sunday night feeling anymore, thinking of going to the office on Monday is no
longer spoiling your Sunday evening. It is kind of a continuity.

One of the challenges we meet, is having holidays at the same time. Our businesses are small and when we leave it is the whole management that’s off and that has an obvious impact on the business. The plus side is that we have the same rhythm. If we both were working in a different field, it might be a struggle as our peak period would be most likely at different periods
in the year.

One of the keys to success of working together is having different skills. For us, the separation of task and decision making has been very natural. One of us is the technical and creative side of the business, whilst the other one handles the business and make sure projects stay in line with the brands' guidelines and the clients’ briefs.

We also have very different characters which helps, but this is also our main source of conflicts. Our level of optimism is very different for example. That can be a real boost for the most pessimistic one. But, seen from another angle, pessimism and the doubts and stress it can bring, can also very annoying for someone who is naturally relaxed and positive.

_81C0797
© Kalory Photo & Video

Money is also something that you need to be comfortable with and being partners in life and business is probably not advised for young couples. The fact is that you have to be fully comfortable with the idea that: what is mine is yours and what is yours is mine. A working relationship like a personal one has to evolve too. People change, and the business does too.

Working together has been easier or more difficult depending on the stage of development of the business. When we set up the business, the overheads were very low as we were working from home. We had really good clients right away through our personal connections. We had no commute and a level of work was very manageable. We always had time for a nice home-cooked lunch, would go and swim at 3pm at our local gym, and make money in a very relaxed way. Growing the business meant committing to a monthly rent (and commute), as well as employees’ salaries, being on time at the office (at least for one of us!). This means having enough business every month to cover the cost to break-even, and of course to make a living. This definitely increases the level of stress. We get often told: 'I don’t know how you do it, I would never be able to work with my partner', the answer is probably that if it feels natural, it is meant to be. If you are starting to ask yourselves questions and you are finding a list of reasons why it wouldn’t work, this is probably not a good idea for your relationship.

You also have to be very entrepreneurial at heart. The business is going to become an entire part of your life, so you have to enjoy it. We always have different projects. We started our second business only very recently, but already have an idea for the next one. This has time to change, as the main goal for now is to grow the existing ones, but it is fun to be always thinking of the next venture.

Franck Jehanne, director & co-founder of Kalory Photo & Video, Corporate Portrait and Heating & Plumbing

If you’d like to follow in the footsteps of Franck and believe your business has what it takes, is based in London and has a turnover of £100,000 or more, why not apply for Innovating for Growth: Scale-up and take your business to the next level?

25 October 2018

10 SEO Tips Your Website Can’t Live Without

Here are some top tips from our partner UK2 on boosting your SEO and website traffic...

Website owners are constantly on the lookout for ways to boost website traffic. For organic search results, there is no better way than to spend some time fine-tuning your Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). 

SEO is how search engines decide whether or not to recommend your website to internet searchers like you and I. Google and Bing both pride themselves on serving up quality websites with only one click. Whether your website is one of those quality sites on offer depends on a host of elements that you may not be aware of.

#1. Have a great domain 

A great domain doesn’t necessarily mean an expensive .com, but rather means using a great domain for your specific purpose. Keep your domain short and try to include keywords or website specific information. It may take a while to create a great history for your domain. However, it is worth checking the domain history if it is a pre-owned domain. It’s important to make sure that your domain has stayed clear of blacklists.

#2. Use keywords

While using keywords is easier said than done, a little research can help you discover which keywords you should be aiming for. Discovering the perfect keywords for your website may be a trial and error endeavour, but tools like SEMrush or Moz’s Keyword Explorer can help and both offer a free trial. Whichever you choose, be sure not to cross into the realm of 'keyword stuffing' by overfilling content with the keywords you’ve chosen. Consider asking Google for suggestions with their AdWords tool, as this can help you create a keyword planner and set goals to reach the traffic you want.  

#3. Create engaging content

Many website owners get this SEO step wrong. Rather than posting daily updates chock full of information, it’s best to focus on answering the questions your website traffic is asking. Remember to take advantage of product descriptions and About Us pages. In addition, make sure that you have text accompanying all images and infographics. You don’t have to be a content wizard to maximise SEO, you simply have to include content wherever readers expect it to be. Keep a blog to dive into topics and an FAQ page to keep up with the questions users are most often asking. Before you know it, you will have created a website full of valuable content that ranks well.

#4. Use meta tags

Meta tags, as simple as they are, help web crawlers understand what your website is about. These small snippets of text appear in the code of your website and can work wonders for helping your website appear in search rankings. Website tools like WordPress and Website Builder have easy fill forms to include meta information. However, you can add it yourself to your HTML code if you prefer by creating a note document and uploading it to your webserver. Create a system of adding meta tags whenever you introduce new content and search engines will take notice.  

#5. Optimise for any sized screen

Generally, your WordPress template or Website Builder tool will take care of this for you. However, it’s worth spending some time double checking how your page appears on various tablets and mobile phones. You may find an image that doesn’t fit the screen quite right, or text that wraps a little oddly. These are easy fixes but can help boost traffic when remedied.    

#6. Build links organically 

Search engines like to see your domain on other websites. Some website owners like to purchase these inbound links, but this is not a good idea. Instead, allow links to your website to build up naturally. Collaborate with other websites to produce content for shared links between pages. If there’s one thing we’ve learned about Search Engine Optimisation, it’s that there are no shortcuts. 

#7. Keep up with links and sitemap

Website navigation is not only important for SEO, but for website visitor experience too. Make sure that all of your links are in working order and that the path through your website has easy-to-follow buttons. Imagine yourself as a website visitor: where would you expect each link to take you? Is your menu easy to access and understand? These questions can work wonders in making sure that your sitemap flows smoothly.  

#8. Keep your website fast

Website speed is crucial for SEO. Search engines know that our patience for loading websites is very thin. This is exactly why Google and Bing will only direct you towards sites they know will load quickly enough to keep viewers happy. Keep image sizes low and make sure that there is nothing preventing your website from performing at an optimum pace. Check your website speed at Pingdom. Once pinged, the website can return a list of issues that may be causing your website to slow. Oftentimes, adjusting a bad script or fixing a DNS problem can boost speeds for your website in a few clicks.

#9. Ask for help when necessary

If these tips are slightly overwhelming, know that you’re not alone. Luckily, there are many tools available to help. For example, SEO Guru from UK2.NET can quickly scan your website and help you spot any pain points with a free consultation. If trouble areas are found, our software will walk you through the steps to get your website in tip-top SEO shape. 

#10. Monitor your progress

Once your SEO is looking good, don’t rest on your laurels. Instead, set goals for the future and keep an eye on your progress. SEO Guru can help you watch your SEO efforts and let you know if there are any areas that need immediate attention. Keeping your search results at the top is a big job, however, we can help you get on top and stay there. Finally, you can improve your website traffic today with a free SEO scan from UK2.NET.

 

To see all upcoming workshops, webinars and events, visit our website.

23 October 2018

Start-up Day 2018 in London and around the country

Start-up Day helps budding entrepreneurs from around the country feel confident and provide tools to start a business and turn their dreams into a reality. Not only did this year’s event take place at the Business & IP Centre in London with almost 400 people attending a busy programme of talks, speed-mentoring and one-to-one advice sessions; there were 13 Business & IP Centres participating nationwide, where more than 720 individuals attended the day.

With an all-day line up of talks, our speakers in London covered everything from how to understand the UK market right now (Mintel market intelligence analyst Jack Duckett explained the latest trends) to becoming a successful entrepreneur and key strategies to employ when starting your own business (as experienced by Tangle Teezer ex-CEO Matt Lumb). The priceless advice our twelve speakers shared with the audience throughout the day was also live webcast, so you could tune in from anywhere in the world to watch... and listen!

Start-up Day

Our audience didn't just listen, they also had the opportunity to engage in interesting discussions with the speakers

But that's not all: speed mentoring sessions with experts from Santander, Mintel, Google, Intellectual Property Office, Companies House and more covered practical aspects of setting up and running your own business, preparing attendees for the grit behind the glamour of entrepreneurship. To further empower current or future entrepreneurs, we also ran one-to-one advice sessions and tours of the Business & IP Centre itself, making the third edition of Start-up Day in London our busiest yet.

Business & IP Centre Sheffield

Sheffield on brand with Start-up Day decorations!

This is the second year Start-up Day has taken place across the National Network, allowing local entrepreneurs to be part of the presentations and talks at each regional centre, as well as the attendees being able to watch live broadcasts from London, all for free, as praised by one participant, “Left feeling so lucky and grateful to have access to this free information. Thank you for all your hard work organising this!”

Three Rivers Gin at Business & IP Centre Manchester

Three Rivers Gin at Business & IP Centre Manchester’s Start-up Day

Of the attendees up and down the country, 40% were planning to start up a business and 39% were either self-employed or the owner of a business. The majority of people said that lack of finance and the business idea itself were the main reasons behind them not starting a business in the past. A fifth of respondents stated that making a difference was the main motivation for wanting to start a business, with being their own boss and having a better work/life balance also high on the list, one attendee said “Superb event, kind people… after two years as a carer this event has given me many ideas - but mainly hope for my future.”

Start-up Stars Liverpool

The Women’s Organisation’s Cynthia hosting a panel of Start-up Stars, including Natalie and Jeni from SIREN, Sarah from SLMC Consulting and Amy from Drone Factor at Business & IP Centre Liverpool.

Start-up Stars Hull

Dr Max Gowland from Prime Fifty, Terry King OBE from Chapter3, Ralph Keeton from Ghost Walks Hull, Vikki Johnson from Fusion Laser Cutting, Andy Steele from 360 Accountants, Rob Lewis from 54 Degrees North and Vicky Cartwright from Diva Cupcakes at Business & IP Centre Hull’s Start-up Day’s Start-up Stars.

If you missed this year’s Start-up Day, all speakers’ videos from London are available on our YouTube channel and our blog with our top tips is available to read. To see all of our upcoming events and workshops, visit our website.

19 October 2018

IP Corner: Happy 20th Anniversary Espacenet

When I first began working at the British Library patent searching was very much a manual process which involved using a Catchword Index to find your patent classification, then looking that classification up in the accompanying Classification index to get the relevant subclass and finally, looking the classification and sub-classification up on microfiche to find any relevant patents. It was a fairly labour intensive and time consuming process, but it worked.

Then in 1998 the European Patent Office launched their free search database called Espacenet. Espacenet revolutionised patent searching for the ordinary ‘man on the street’. If they had access to a computer, either at home or more often through their local library, they were able to carry out patent searching using keywords or names or numbers or dates or all of them together.

Espacenet was however kind of a two edged sword, since without any experience of patent searching it was (and still is) possible to convince oneself that your invention was new and innovative because you did not find it when in fact you were simply using incorrect keywords.

The Business & IP Centre's Introduction to patent searching workshop takes delegates through the Espacenet database explaining the searching process and providing hints and tips on how to get the best from the database. Personally, I’ve lost count of the number of inventors I have helped learn how to use Espacenet effectively, preventing some from wasting time and money pursuing an idea that already exists and helping others start on the road to protecting and producing their new product.

If you can’t make one of our workshops you can download one of our IP guides, which are free to access.

In the last twenty years Espacenet has grown from a basic search database to a database that can be used to search worldwide through 100 million documents, both published patent application and granted patents, from over 90 patent granting authorities. Searchers can now check legal status of patents, find out if patents are still in force using the European Patent Register and gain immediate access to the application files or ‘file wrappers’ from the world's largest patent offices using the Global Dossier. Full copies of patent specifications can be downloaded onto a hard-drive, or printed out if preferred, for later consultation by the searcher.

Espacenet is one of my favourite search databases mainly because it costs nothing to use but also because it empowers new inventors by helping them gain an understanding of patents, patent classifications and patent searching so that they can have informed conversations and make better decisions regarding their proposed inventions.

Happy 20th Anniversary Espacenet. Here’s to many more!

Maria Lampert, Intellectual Property Expert at the Business & IP Centre London

Maria has worked in the field of intellectual property since she joined the British Library in January 1993. She is currently the British Library Business & IP Centre’s Intellectual Property Expert, where she delivers 1-2-1 business and IP advice clinics, as well as intellectual property workshops and webinars on regular basis.

To see all upcoming workshops, webinars and events, visit our website.

10 October 2018

Inspiring Entrepreneurs: Black Britain and the Creative Industries book recommendations

As part of our Inspiring Entrepreneurs series, we hosted a panel of leading lights in the creative industries with stories of what can be achieved with the right attitude and determination to celebrate the success and cultural impact of Black British entrepreneurs in the creative sector. The panel included MOBO CEO and founder Kanya King CBE, Femi Oguns MBE, actor and founder of Identity School of Acting and Yomi Adegoke and Elizabeth Uviebinené, co-authors of Slay in your Lane.

As part of the Q&A the panel were asked which books had inspired them. You asked us to compile them; and your wish is our command: 

Elizabeth:
#Girlboss, by Sophia Amoruso

Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead, by Sheryl Sandberg
“Without Lean In, we wouldn’t be here… that book was such an inspiration”

Yomi:
Black Feminist Thought, by Patricia Hill Collins
“A book which helped me grow a lot and I’d recommend anyone, from any background read. If it wasn’t for me having read that book, I wouldn’t have understood my position in this society as a black woman”

Rasheed:
The Way of the Peaceful Warrior, by Dan Millman
“A magical book about life, trust, flow and mastery in being yourself”

The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don't Work and What to Do About It, by Michael E. Gerber

Business as Unusual - the Journey of Anita Roddick and the Body Shop, Anita Roddick

Femi:
Book of Ecclesiastes

Kanya King:
What They Don't Teach You At Harvard Business School, by Mark McCormack

Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of NIKE, by Phil Knight

Rich Dad Poor Dad: What The Rich Teach Their Kids About Money That the Poor and Middle Class Do Not! by Robert Kiyosaki
“I had all these ideas of what I wanted to do to generate an income… my mother told me whenever I wanted to do something, she’d say ‘no’ as she was very risk adverse. But you do need to take calculated risks… how you think about money, good debt and bad debt.

 

Of course, we can't miss out Slay in your Lane, written by Elizabeth and Yomi (currently available to purchase in our bookshop) and, as revealed at our event, one to look out for in the future, Kanya King's first book, we can't wait!

Slay in your Lane

To watch the speakers from the evening, visit our YouTube channel and to see other upcoming events, visit our website.