Calling all budding inventors – BIPC arrives in Sunderland

Elephant Tea Rooms, Sunderland

Sunderland Libraries Services is helping to give the city’s businesses a boost by providing access to the Business and Intellectual Property Centre (BIPC).

BIPC, in conjunction with the British Library, provides free information and advice for inventors, start-ups and existing businesses, offering access to collections of hard-copy materials and databases.

Visitors to the Local History Library @ ETR will have access to databases including COBRA, GRANTfinder and Mintel to access company statistics, market trends and consumer behaviours as well as finding funding opportunities to help develop new products or explore new markets.

Customers can approach staff at Washington Town Centre, Houghton and City Library for initial enquiries and signposting, or make appointments for more detailed consultations at the Local History Library @ETR.

From July, the Local History Library @ETR will provide an extension of the existing regional service in Newcastle, which has already supported over 14,000 new and growing businesses in the region.

The new Sunderland centre is one of six new ‘BIPC Locals’, opening across the North East, with others launching in Berwick, Morpeth, Hexham, North Shields and South Shields.

Business & IP Centres can open up the path to entrepreneurship for anyone with a business idea, regardless of their background. Consistently, over half of those who use a BIPC to set up a business are women and a third are from under-represented ethnic backgrounds.

Cllr Linda Williams, Sunderland City Council’s Cabinet member for Vibrant City, said: “It is fantastic to see that Sunderland’s entrepreneurs, inventors and business owners can now access this valuable support from their own local libraries.

“The Business and Intellectual Property Centre is an excellent addition to the city’s business support network and to the excellent range of services already provided by Sunderland Libraries Services.”

John Musham, BIPC Manager, said: “We are delighted to be working with Sunderland Libraries to deliver our Business & Intellectual Property Centre (BIPC) services to local businesses and aspiring new start-ups.

“The new BIPC Local will provide residents and businesses with convenient free access to our trained staff, new online marketing research and business information resources as well as access to the BIPC’s team of friendly and knowledgeable Experts in Residence who come from a variety of market sectors and are on hand to offer 1-2-1 advice sessions to discuss a wide range of topics including legal, finance, marketing, HR and much more.”

This accessible support has been invaluable for small businesses during the Covid-19 pandemic. In a recent survey, 23% of all BIPC users said that the service had helped them gain confidence and resilience to steer their business through the challenges of the pandemic.

The BIPC will open at the Local History Library @ETR on Fawcett Street from Wednesday, 7 July. Contact the Local History Library @ETR for appointments.

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