Aspiring entrepreneurs and small business owners across the region are encouraged to visit their local library to access free support to start, run or grow their own business in West Yorkshire.
The Business & IP Centre (BIPC) Leeds City Region is open for business at libraries in Leeds, Bradford, Dewsbury, Halifax and Wakefield following last year’s announcement of BIPC Leeds’s expansion across the region.
The support available across West Yorkshire libraries builds on the popular BIPC service on offer at Leeds Central Library, which has recently re-opened its face-to-face service to budding entrepreneurs across the city.
The newly improved BIPC Leeds space provides a place for people to collaborate, work, research, attend free workshops, and get hands-on support using resources to understand their market, get to know their customers and pinpoint their competitors.
Anyone can visit their nearest BIPC to access exclusive resources to start and grow their own business, including free access to market research and business databases, the opportunity to attend workshops and network with fellow entrepreneurs, and receive one-to-one support to discuss their business ideas in confidence.
Since opening their doors last year, BIPC locals in Bradford, Halifax and Wakefield have started offering regular support sessions and networking opportunities for residents. This county-wide support will be completed with a brand-new service opening at Dewsbury Library.
The Business & IP Centre has a strong success rate of supporting entrepreneurs to start-up their own business and has a focus on those from underrepresented backgrounds. Between 2021 and 2022 over half of businesses supported by BIPC Leeds City Region were women and 30% were from Black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds. The service in West Yorkshire is part of the British Library’s expansion of its network of library-based BIPCs to over 100 regional and local libraries across England, thanks to £13million government funding.
Local business owner Elena Rubiu, who used BIPC Leeds’s Start-up Leeds programme to kick-start her ceramics business, said:
“The free workshops I attended helped me become more confident with my ideas and aware of the steps I needed to take to start-up. I was able to meet some really interesting people and do some excellent networking with other business owners.
“It’s great to be able to access such a valuable resource at the local library and I’d really recommend that anyone starting up or unsure about the next steps to go visit a BIPC to chat through their business ideas in a friendly, welcoming space.”
Councillor Mary Harland, Leeds City Council’s executive member for communities, said:
“The library service has a huge variety of resources to offer, and the Business & IP Centre is a fantastic example of this. I’d urge small businesses or anyone who wants to be their own boss to take advantage of the free support on offer.
“For those living in Leeds, the new business space at Leeds Central Library is an incredible place to connect with fellow entrepreneurs at events and workshops, and to turn your business dreams into a reality through one-to-one support and specialist guidance.”
Tracy Brabin, Mayor of West Yorkshire, said:
“The Business & IP Centre Leeds City Region will provide even more people with the opportunity to turn their great ideas into a thriving business.
“I’m incredibly excited that entrepreneurs from any background will now be able to get free business support from libraries in Bradford, Dewsbury, Halifax and Wakefield – building on the great success the BIPC has had in Leeds. I really look forward to seeing the successful businesses that the service will inspire.”