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Free online support to help Norfolk businesses through the pandemic

11 November 2020

It’s a difficult time for small businesses and business owners so the Business & IP Centre (BIPC) Norfolk, run by Norfolk County Council’s Library and Information Service, has developed a free programme of business support that can be accessed online.

Alongside the national Reset. Restart programme of webinars run by the British Library Business & IP Centre, the BIPC Norfolk is offering a series of free local 1-to-1 support sessions, workshops and networking events. Delivered in partnership with business training provider MENTA, Reset. Restart is open to all business owners, especially those in the first years of trading.

Cllr Margaret Dewsbury, Cabinet Member for Communities at Norfolk County Council, said: “The pandemic has had a significant impact on businesses in the region, the extent of which still remains to be seen, especially as we contend with a second period of lockdown.

“Our local Reset. Restart programme is designed to provide Norfolk businesses with the tools needed to rebuild and adapt to these very challenging times. We may not currently be able to deliver our services face-to-face but these online support sessions are accessible to any business in the county.”

During the two-hour online 1-to-1 support session, businesses will have the chance to review their overall business proposition and discuss how it could be rethought or repositioned in light of Covid-19. They will also be helped to identify and focus on any specific areas of concern and progression.

The series of five online workshops covers topics such as generating new business ideas, digital marketing tools, building customer relationships, and updating business plans. Participants can pick and choose from the workshops or book on the whole series.

There will also be monthly online networking sessions, with the first being held in Global Entrepreneurship Week (16-22 November) on Monday 16 November from 12.30-1.30pm. This first session will give people the opportunity to find out what they can expect from the Reset. Restart programme and to meet some of the MENTA programme tutors.

Global Entrepreneurship Week also sees the return of Start-up Day on Thursday 19 November, hosted by the British Library Business & IP Centre. The day of inspirational talks is aimed at businesses who are just starting out as well as those ready to take the next step, and includes an afternoon networking session from Norfolk.

From 2.45-3.30pm, Kalene Herrington from the Norfolk Chambers of Commerce will be hosting the session on ‘How to help your business thrive during the pandemic’. It will feature insight from Hazel Russell, co-founder of eco-friendly Norfolk company The Wood Life Project, and the chance to ask questions and network with other businesses.

Hazel set up The Wood Life Project with her husband Jimmy, and first sought support from the BIPC Norfolk for help with intellectual property (IP). Hazel says: “We were fortunate enough to get support from the BIPC at the very start of our business journey. We discussed our business and the ideas of the products we planned to launch, and the BIPC team helped us to understand the importance of protecting all of our IP.

“We subsequently registered the trademarks for our name and logo and registered the design rights on all of our product designs. The support we received from BIPC was so valuable; it was instrumental to securing our valuable business assets.”

For more information and to book on any BIPC Norfolk events, see www.norfolk.gov.uk/bipcnorfolk

About the Business & IP Centre (BIPC) Norfolk

Reset. Restart runs alongside the day-to-day services provided by the BIPC Norfolk, one of 15 regional centres in the British Library’s BIPC Network. The centre offers free and low-cost access to business intelligence, market research, 1-to-1s, training and IP support to aspiring entrepreneurs, start-ups and more established SMEs in Norfolk.

This year, the British Library was awarded £13 million from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport to grow the number of libraries offering business start-up support and to further develop provision within the existing National Network. The BIPC Norfolk was awarded a share of this funding and will use it to expand the range of free business support offered, as well as increasing the number of regional hubs around the county.

Currently the BIPC Norfolk operates from the Norfolk & Norwich Millennium Library with hubs in King’s Lynn, Thetford and Great Yarmouth libraries. Although libraries are currently closed due to the pandemic, enquiries are being answered remotely and there is a wealth of online support available to businesses.

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