New British Library report confirms Business & IP Centre Greater Manchester is an engine of economic recovery and growth

  • Friday 14 July 2023

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Business and IP Centre Greater Manchester logo.

The Business and IP Centre Greater Manchester has been found to act as an engine for growth across the city region.

Between April 2020 and March 2023, the Business & IP Centre Greater Manchester:

  • Helped to create 2,170 new businesses and 357 additional jobs
  • Generated £17,944,181 Gross Value Added (GVA)
  • Supported a range of entrepreneurs, of which 62% were women, 42% identified themselves as from a minority ethnic community, 15% were disabled, 24% were aged 35 and under and 36% were from the most deprived areas
  • The Business & IP Centre (BIPC) based in Manchester Central Library is an engine of economic recovery and growth according to a new British Library report out today.

The Democratising Entrepreneurship 2.0 report reveals the national impact that the Business and IP Centre Network has had over the last three years and how the BIPC Greater Manchester based in Manchester Central Library continues to support entrepreneurship and economic recovery at a local level and contributing to a payback of £6.63 for every £1 of public money spent across the BIPC Network. 96% of existing businesses supported are still trading.

The BIPC in Manchester Central Library and its network of BIPC Locals in Blackpool, Bolton, Bury, Lancaster, Oldham, Salford, Stockport, Tameside (Ashton) and Trafford (Altrincham) are physical hubs where people can learn, network and access free and low-cost information and support in protecting and commercialising a business idea. The service comprises:

Free access to high-quality UK and global market intelligence, customer insights and company data (worth over £5m), combined with intellectual property advice and guidance
Free and low cost workshops, one-to-one support and mentoring delivered by library staff and public/private sector business experts and partners
Topical and inspirational networking events, featuring role model entrepreneurs
Accessible and welcoming spaces with access to PCs, desks and Wi-Fi
A comprehensive package of online support; including webinars, one-to-one business and IP advice sessions and screenings of our programme of inspirational panel discussions

One business supported by the BIPC Greater Manchester is Ardea Upholstery. Founder Anna Hill makes limited edition chairs in conjunction with local Manchester-based artists and designers at her studio in Ancoats.

Anna said: "From day one when I got in touch to find out more about the workshops available at BIPC Greater Manchester I immediately felt like I was part of a business community right on my doorstep.

I was able to access a lot of industry market research which informed my business plan and that enabled me to get initial funding for my’s been absolutely invaluable...and everything was free including one to one support.”


Councillor John Hacking, Manchester City Council's Executive Member for Skills, Employment and Leisure said: "Manchester has made a significant contribution to the Business and IP centre and has helped to shape the national network which has been recognised by the British Library.

"I would like to congratulate the service for not just leading the way regionally, but ensuring that a wide range of diverse communities have the access to the free business support and expert advice to help their businesses thrive and succeed. This work that the library, and partner hubs, have done has made a real and lasting difference to the lives of people in Manchester and beyond and supported fledgling businesses grow, contributing to the Manchester economy." 

Isabel Oswell, Head of Business Audiences at the British Library, said: "This month marks 50 years since the British Library first began operations and helping businesses to innovate and grow continues to be one of the Library’s core purposes.

"This report reiterates the unique power of libraries as engines of innovation, economic growth and social mobility in the heart of diverse communities. Whether you consider yourself an entrepreneur, freelancer or just have an idea, the Business & IP Centre Network provides accessible, free and impartial support, delivered by dedicated informed professionals and trusted business experts, both online and in person across the UK."


Arts and Heritage Minister Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay said: "I am delighted that the £13 million of public investment from the Government has enabled the British Library’s Business & IP Centre network to equip thousands of people across the country with the knowledge, skills and support they need to start and grow their own business.

"Helping people turn ideas into thriving businesses is part of our ambitious plan to maximise the potential of the creative industries and create jobs, opportunities and economic growth across the county."


The first BIPC opened at the British Library in St Pancras, London in 2006 and the nationwide BIPC Network was established in 2012, with support from the Intellectual Property Office. Following a £13 million investment from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport in 2020, the BIPC Network expanded to over 100 locations, reaching people who are under-represented in business in more urban, rural and coastal locations than ever before.

The full Democratising Entrepreneurship 2.0 report, including a range of case studies, can be downloaded from the British Library’s website

Business & IP Centre Greater Manchester

Manchester Libraries has a long history of supporting enterprise and innovation. In 1919 the Commercial Library opened in Manchester’s Royal Exchange, providing free access to the region’s businesses and residents to information about trade and industry. The Commercial Library operated in Central Library until the re-opening of the building in 2014, when it became the Business & IP Centre Manchester.

The £13m investment in the BIPC National Network has enabled the services in Manchester Central Library to be taken out across the region via a hub and spoke model encompassing seven neighbouring authorities, plus Lancaster and Blackpool.

There are new branded spoke BIPC’s in specific spaces within Altrincham, Ashton, Blackpool, Bolton, Bury, Lancaster, Oldham, Eccles and Stockport Libraries offering access to high quality business databases including market research, funding and start up advice. A programme of events and workshops run at each location, providing a one stop shop for entrepreneurs, start ups and local businesses.

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 aim to collect 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 are 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.

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