Bulwell hub helping future entrepreneurs develop business ideas

A business hub within Bulwell Riverside Library has played a part in creating more than 570 businesses and close to 150 jobs across the county in the past three years.
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A new report published by the British Library has revealed the Business and IP Centre network across Nottinghamshire, including centres in Mansfield, Sutton and Bulwell libraries, has supported entrepreneurship and economic recovery at a local level.

Democratising Entrepreneurship 2.0, covering 2020-23 and says the county’s BIPC network:

  • Helped create 573 businesses and 148 additional jobs;
  • Generated £8.2m Gross Value Added, the amount producers have added to goods and services bought;
  • Supported a range of entrepreneurs, of which 65 per cent were women, 37 per cent from minority ethnic communities, 17 per cent were disabled, 30 per cent aged 35 and under, and 29 per cent from deprived areas.
Bulwell Riverside, Main Street, Bulwell. (Photo by: Google Maps)Bulwell Riverside, Main Street, Bulwell. (Photo by: Google Maps)
Bulwell Riverside, Main Street, Bulwell. (Photo by: Google Maps)

Nationally, there have been more than 18,000 businesses set up over the past three years, more than 6,000 jobs and a combined GVA of about £168m.

The BIPC within Bulwell Riverside Library is a physical hub where people can learn, network and access free and low-cost information and support in both protecting and commercialising a business idea. It offers free guidance to start-up business owners, entrepreneurs and inventors across Nottingham and further afield.

The service includes:

  • Free access to high-quality UK and global market intelligence, customer insights and company data, combined with intellectual property advice and guidance;
  • Free and low-cost workshops, one-to-one support and mentoring delivered by library staff and both public and private-sector business experts and partners;
  • Networking events with entrepreneurs;
  • Accessible spaces with access to PCs, desks and wi-fi;
  • A comprehensive package of online support; including webinars and one-to-one business and IP advice sessions.

With the help of BIPC Nottinghamshire, Natalee Onyeche, founder of Skin Solace, turned her handmade plant-based skincare business from a side job into her main income stream and opened a shop.

She said: “The BIPC has been brilliant. It’s an invaluable resource because you look at the charges for things like business coaches and sometimes it’s beyond your reach.

“Having the BIPC there and its huge amount of resources has been a godsend. If I need some information, I can go and get that support. Having that available for free in my community is brilliant.”

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Coun Pavlos Kotsonis, Nottingham Council portfolio holder for leisure and culture, said: “Nottingham has a rich tradition of industry and entrepreneurship.

“This report demonstrates that with the support of the BIPC, a new generation of aspiring entrepreneurs can access the information and support they need to turn their ideas into reality.”

Terranum Abbas, Nottingham Libraries service manager, said: “Supporting the local economy is a key part of our offer as a service.

“This report cements the position of libraries as a place where people from all backgrounds can access information, expert mentoring and networking to help them explore and develop their business ideas in a friendly, accessible environment. We are proud to be part of the Business & IP Centre network.”

The first BIPC opened at the British Library in St Pancras, London in 2006.

Following a £13 million investment from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport in 2020, the BIPC Network expanded to more than 100 locations, reaching people who are under-represented in business in more urban, rural and coastal locations than ever before.