New centre to boost business in Norfolk
12 October 2017
Entrepreneurs and small businesses celebrated the launch of a unique new service for Norfolk, designed to enable people to protect, research and commercialise their ideas.
The new Business and Intellectual Property (IP) Centre in the Norfolk and Norwich Millennium Library is one of a network of eleven centres across the UK. It is modelled on the successful Business and IP Centre in London and allows entrepreneurs to take advantage of free intellectual property and business information and expertise.
Councillor Margaret Dewsbury, Chair of the Communities Committee at Norfolk County Council, said: "I’m delighted to know that enterprising Norfolk residents now have such a useful resource available to them as they research, start and grow their businesses. The existing network has proved that the support and advice available is vital to ensure the best possible prospects for fledgling businesses. As the only Business and IP Centre currently in operation in East Anglia, BIPC Norfolk is at the forefront of the region’s drive to underpin the creative aspirations of future business owners and push forward the local economy."
The Business and IP Centre model has proven successful in helping businesses thrive and survive. An independent report found only one in ten companies helped by the London Business and IP Centre fails after year three, compared with four in ten across the UK.
Over the past six months, more than 150 people have visited BIPC Norfolk to take part in 1:1 sessions (with business, accounting, IP or legal advisors) and to take part in business workshops. More than 300 have been supported across all events and services offered. Evaluation data from August events indicated that users were equally split between male and female and between under and over 45s. Business types that used the centre ranged from manufacturing and engineering enterprises (19%) and creative industries (19%) to retail businesses (13%) and professional services (13%).
The Business and IP Centre provides a space for entrepreneurs to come together to network, attend events and access a wealth of resources including business databases, Mintel market research reports, company data and information on patents, trademarks, designs and copyright.
The Business and IP Centre officially launched on Wednesday 11 October. Entrepreneurs and small business owners attended a panel event with some of the region’s most successful food industry entrepreneurs – Richard Bainbridge (Benedicts Restaurant), Candi Robertson (Candi’s Chutney), and Mike Deal (Wildcraft Brewery). The panel was expertly led by award-winning chef and founder of Charlie's Norfolk Food Heroes, Charlie Hodson. The audience were able to learn from the best and left inspired to develop their own enterprises.
Afterwards, the centre was officially opened by Councillor Dewsbury and Isabel Oswell, Head of Business Audiences at the British Library. The speeches were followed by networking and a change to sample a range of locally produced food from Puff and Bean, Norwich Providore, Figbar, La Saporita, Serendipity Sausages, and Expresso.
Roly Keating, Chief Executive of the British Library, said: “The success of the Business and IP Centre model is evidence of the strong connection between libraries and business, and I’m thrilled to see this link reinforced again with the opening of a new centre for entrepreneurs and small businesses in Norwich.
“Our vision is to create 20 such business and IP centres by the end of the decade, and I look forward to working with our city library partners to achieve this goal and to spearhead business growth and innovation in cities across the UK.”
The Business and IP Centre complements the wealth of business support provided within the city and county. The centre offers walk-in services as well as more specific advice through pre-booked sessions with qualified and experienced staff. Local businesses and entrepreneurs have access to information and guidance from library staff as well as local partners, who together deliver practical workshops, one-to-one advice, webcasts and networking events.
The first British Library Business and IP Centre opened in London in 2006. Since then it has helped more than 550,000 entrepreneurs and helped create an average of 550 businesses and 1,200 jobs every year.