Mayor of Stockton-on-Tees, Cllr Kevin Faulks, officially opens the Business & IP Centre Tees Valley
Paul Swalwell

Member Article

Stockton-on-Tees Libraries teams up with British Library to offer free support to aspiring business owners

A new Business & IP (BIPC) Centre set up to support small and medium-sized enterprises and aspiring business owners launched on Saturday (4 December) at Stockton’s Central Library.

Officially opened by Mayor of Stockton-on-Tees, Councillor Kevin Faulks, the BIPC will help people from all walks of life to start and grow a small business with free business databases, market research, confidential 1-1 support, advice clinics and workshops. The new Centre is part of the British Library’s growing national network of over 100 regional and local library-based Business & IP Centres across the UK.

Following £13million investment from the Treasury last year to expand the network, Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council has been allocated almost £400,000 to establish a regional BIPC at Stockton Central Library, with four smaller local centres at central libraries throughout the Tees Valley, including Middlesbrough, Redcar, Hartlepool and Darlington Library to follow in Spring 2022. The investment has funded specialist staff, refurbishment and equipment and access to thousands of pounds worth of specialised business and market-research resources, databases and reports.

The BIPC network has a notably strong track record of supporting people from all walks of life to start, protect and grow a successful business. In just three years it has:

· Supported the creation of over 12,000 new businesses

· Led to the creation of over 7,800 new jobs

· Generated an extra £78million GVA to the UK economy

· Created businesses twice as likely to succeed beyond three years

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: more than triple the national averages for business ownership in the UK.

While each Centre, including BIPC Tees Valley, is equipped with a core set of resources, such as up-to-date market research and business databases, provided by the British Library, they are brought to life by a tailored and highly individual programme of events, workshops and one-to-ones, delivered in collaboration with local business leaders, role model entrepreneurs and community partners.

Liz Jolly, Chief Librarian at The British Library said: “As we embark on a major expansion of our small business support offer, working with over 100 public libraries up and down the country, I am personally delighted to see a new Business & IP Centre opening at Stockton Central Library. Before joining the British Library, I spent a decade living in Darlington and working in Middlesbrough at Teesside University, where I am proud to still be an Honorary Professor. I know first-hand the innovation and creativity that defines the people of this region, and I look forward to seeing how the new Centres will spark new businesses and job opportunities in the Tees Valley over the coming years.”

Councillor Jim Beall, Cabinet Member for Health, Leisure and Culture at the BIPC’s host authority Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council, said: “We are delighted to be officially opening the BIPC Tees Valley today here at Stockton Central Library. We know that libraries are at the heart of our communities and we are proud to be working with the British Library to deliver this project and support entrepreneurs, businesses and residents across the borough and the wider Tees Valley.”

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Paul Swalwell .

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