Libraries aren’t just full of books. They’re full of ideas. Bright ideas that change the world. Bright ideas imagined by inspiring people. 

The British Library is leading a revolution by inspiring a thriving community of new and existing business owners. It’s free to join and open to everyone. And it’s transforming the way ideas grow into successful businesses. 

Whether your business is just starting out, needs advice on protecting your intellectual property, or you’re ready to take the next step in your journey, check out this free business support.

Access invaluable business support today

To access the Reading Room in the British Library, you have to register for a free Reader Pass. This will unlock access to over £5m worth of online resources through the Business & IP Centre (BIPC), which includes company research, market intelligence, available grants and more. The friendly staff are present to help you navigate everything on offer and point you in the right direction.

They also offer free or low-cost workshops and events at their St. Pancras site. For those who are South West based, if you can’t access this in person, they have digital resources which can help you and your business – including Industry Guides, blogs, articles as well as a huge selection of webinars.  

There is also a National Network of Business & IP Centres around the country, where you can access business resources in regional and local libraries. Find a Centre near you now!

There are two flagship programmes to get involved in – Get Ready for Business Growth and Reset. Restart. Please note the former programme is now closed for applications for the January cohort, but will be accepting a new group in March which you can register your interest for today.

Get Ready for Business Growth

Get Ready for Business Growth is an Arts Council England-funded programme designed to help creative businesses that are looking to grow. It is bespoke to each business’ needs and is entirely free.

The BIPC’s advisers and external consultants help to continue building businesses, whether that means adjusting to the new normal or finding new opportunities to pursue as well as finding ways to be more resilient and adaptable in the face of a changing future. 

Since 2012 the scaleup programme has supported over 650 businesses with turnovers from £100,000  to £30 million, with the average being £500,000. 

BPIC selects 25 high-growth businesses in the creative sector every three months from across England and Scotland to give specialist support and tailored one-to-one advice. The programme will be digitally run and the one-to-one meetings with the consultants are via video conference. It has  nine modules, including: 

  • Getting the growth mindset 
  • Good governance & building purpose into your organisation 
  • Refining your business model & growth strategy 
  • Product & service innovation 
  • Maximising your intellectual property (IP) 
  • Building your brand 
  • Creating a marketing strategy 
  • Financial planning for growth 
  • Business and IP research  

Businesses that apply might be looking to become more financially resilient, entrepreneurial, or implement a new business model. Through one-to-one sessions and workshops, they’ll work with each business to help them fulfill their growth potential. They will also get automatic membership to our Growth Club where they will have the opportunity to network with other high-growth, scaleup business owners and keep in touch with their Relationship Manager. Other benefits of the Growth Club include: 

  • Quarterly peer-to-peer networking events 
  • Press and PR opportunities 
  • Opportunities to speak at their series of Startup Stars events 
  • Group mentoring 
  • Meet the Buyer events
  •  Complimentary tickets for their series of Inspiring Entrepreneur events

Businesses must be based in England or Scotland with a turnover of £100,000 or more and can commit to a minimum of 20 hours over three months. Eligible businesses must be in the creative sector and fall under one of these categories:

  •  Advertising and marketing
  • Architecture
  • Crafts
  • Design
  • Fashion
  • Film, TV, video, radio and photography
  • IT, software and computer services
  • Publishing
  • Museums, galleries and libraries
  • Music, performing and visual arts

Reset. Restart

This programme of free webinars and support sessions is designed to help small businesses overcome obstacles and thrive in the current climate. Open to all business owners, Reset.  Restart offers practical, jargon-free training and advice through a free, tailored programme. Attendees also get to meet and network with other like-minded small business owners at similar stages in their entrepreneurial journey.

Reset. Restart began during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic with the aim of supporting small businesses to adapt and weather the storm. Even though the set of challenges business owners are facing today has changed, help is just as necessary now as it was then. Now in its second year, the Reset. Restart programme has been updated so that business owners can continue to benefit from trusted advice and support, wherever they are.

Business owners can choose to join one or more of the series of webinars for practical, jargon-free training and advice from marketing to sales, tech to funding. The webinars run monthly, they are free and scheduled for convenient times so that attendees can fit them easily into their busy lives. The topics are listed below: 

  • New marketing ideas that work
  • Running a successful high street business
  • Renew your business purpose
  • Tech 101: build a website or app for your business
  • Streamline your business with digital tech
  • The steps to sell with confidence
  • How to raise the money you need, now
  • Making your social media marketing pay
  • Business Model Canvas coaching
  • How to attract investment in challenging times

Reset. Restart is open to all UK business owners and completely free and online. You can find out more about the free business support here.

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Shona Wright

Shona covers all things editorial at TechSPARK. She publishes news articles, interviews and features about our fantastic tech and digital ecosystem, working with startups and scaleups to spread the word about the cool things they're up to. She also oversees TechSPARK's social media, sharing the latest updates on everything from investment news to green tech meetups and inspirational stories.