Last week in late-April saw the formal opening of the Business & IP Centre local in Bulwell Riverside library. Additional centres at Beeston, Mansfield Central, Sutton-in-Ashfield libraries will also formally open throughout May and June. At these locations entrepreneurs and business owners can meet with BIPC Advisors to discuss their business and access online reports and resources which have a combined worth of over £5 million across the country. The expansion of new sites beyond the Nottingham City area is part of a wider expansion of the British Library’s Business & IP Centre national network, made possible due to £13 million Treasury investment.

BIPC Nottinghamshire offers insights and access to free resources, training and events – both online and in-person. With a range of specialist partners and experts-in-residence, businesses can attend specialist webinars, get bespoke one-to-one advice and connect with other founders for inspiration and practical advice in a regular Business Club. Businesses and entrepreneurs can also access free online accountancy support and advice on how to protect their intellectual property.

Bulwell Riverside’s Business & IP Centre space located on the ground floor in the library

Nottingham City Council’s Portfolio Holder for Leisure and Culture, Cllr Eunice Campbell-Clark, said: “Now, for the first time, Bulwell businesses can access a dedicated space to work or meet and connect with others. They can utilise a range of databases containing real-time, up-to-the-minute information on thousands of local, national and international companies and markets. The detailed reports that can be downloaded from the databases would usually cost a business several hundred pounds but are completely free of charge to Bulwell businesses. In this post-pandemic recovery period, we are all working extremely hard together to build confidence and boost economic regeneration and growth. It now is up to us here in Bulwell to make the most of the great resources available through our BIPC and encourage as many people as possible to take advantage of what they can offer.”

Computers in the BIPC space give access to a range of online resources including British Standards, COBRA, Statista, Grantfinder and more for businesses to use for free.

Nigel Hawkins, Head of Culture and Libraries at Nottingham City Council, reflects: “There’s no such person as a typical entrepreneur. Coming through the doors of our libraries are people from a wide variety of backgrounds. Expectant mothers, young people, elderly people, those who are out of work, people with disabilities – graduates – those with no qualifications at all. Anyone with a business idea – irrespective of their circumstance or background – is welcome to use our services and get help to get started or grow. It is exciting and positive that the libraries can now play a new role in terms of harnessing the potential of businesses and make such an important contribution to economic regeneration.”

Local small business founders, Laura and Natalee who are based in Bulwell

In attendance at the launch were two local Bulwell-based businesses, Laura Hardwicks, founder of Hardwicks Canine Grooming and Natalee Onyeche, founder of Skin Solace.

Natalee has recently rebranded Skin Solace into a sophisticated, luxury brand to reflect the high-quality ingredients and make her customers feel pampered. Her products are often displayed in the John Lewis pop-up area and also found in Nottingham Castle Shop.

Natalee was directed to the Business & IP Centre Nottinghamshire where she was provided access to a range of business databases and intellectual property guidance which helped her upscale her business, work out her funding options and register her trademark.

“Having BIPC there and their huge amount of resources has been a Godsend to me really. If I need some information, I can go to them and get that support. Having this available for free in a local community is brilliant. I don’t need to travel to somewhere far out to get this support. It’s on my doorstep literally.”

Natalee’s best piece of advice to aspiring business owners: “My best piece of business advice would be to attend to your intellectual property.”

Laura started the business just over 2 years ago and is now looking to expand the business by opening a new premise and offering fully qualified dog grooming courses. Laura was directed to the Business & IP Centre in Bulwell, where she was provided access to a range of business databases such as COBRA, received business mentoring from Experts-in-Residence from Smorgasbord, as well as attended a range of webinars which has helped her understand her business, work out her funding options, secure a new premise and a plan for her expansion.

“In my opinion, one of the biggest challenges for early-stage small businesses is that there is so much technical jargon to try and understand. I’ve recently moved from being a sole trader to a limited company and found the process, terms and language used overly complicated things. Being able to speak with the Business & IP Centre Advisors made everything so much simpler and more digestible – I now know exactly what’s what!”

Laura’s best piece of advice to aspiring business owners: “Get in touch with the Business & IP Centre.”

The Business & IP Centre is free to join and open to everyone.

Whether located in Nottingham, Nottinghamshire or in neighbouring East Midlands areas, entrepreneurs can visit to find out more about when sites will open, or email to request more information and speak with an Advisor.

Business & IP Centre Nottinghamshire services are free for start-ups and small businesses due to funding from the British Library and Department of Culture, Media and Sport.


The British Library

We are the national library of the UK and we are here for everyone.  Our shelves hold over 170 million items – a living collection that gets bigger every day. Although our roots extend back centuries, we are committed to collecting everything published in the UK today, tomorrow and far into the future. Our trusted experts care for this collection and open it up for everyone to spark new discoveries, ideas and to help people do incredible things.

We have millions of books, and much more besides. Our London and Yorkshire sites hold collections ranging from newspapers and maps to sound recordings, patents, academic journals, as well as a copy of every UK domain website and blog. Our public spaces provide a place to research, to meet friends, to start up a new business or simply to get inspired by visiting our galleries and events. We work with partners and libraries across the UK and the world to make sure that as many people as possible have the chance to use and explore our collections, events and expertise. And we’re always open online, along with more and more of our digitised collection.