Sheffield Library BIPC

A quick explanation of the services offered for startups by Sheffield Library’s Business and Intellectual Property Centre

The Library has been in the local news a fair bit recently, as the council investigates leasing the central library building to be converted into a hotel, and moving library services to a new bespoke building in the city centre. I’m not going to write about the relative merits of such a plan – certainly not until the feasibility study has been published in a year or so’s time anyway – but if you are interested, please keep up with the public consultation on the matter.

However, I would like to draw attention to some of the work the library does for entrepreneurs that many people in the tech community might not be aware of.

For the last six years or so, Sheffield Central Library has hosted a Business and Intellectual Property Centre, as part of network set up by the British Library. It is now one of 11 city libraries across the country to have such a centre.

This means that part of the library is dedicated to helping people start new businesses, with the support and expertise of the parent British Library BIPC behind it.

As part of this the library provides wifi, meeting pods and background material on starting a business, but in addition it offers the following services:

  • Workshops on setting up a business, tax, payroll, marketing etc. These are often produced in conjunction with Business Sheffield.
  • One-on-one sessions with a library business advisor, or the current ‘entrepreneur in residence’.
  • Access to support and advice on protecting your intellectual property.
  • Access to a range of databases to perform more thorough market research.

We’ve started listing the Library Business & IP Centre’s events & workshops on the Sheffield Digital calendar, so you can see what’s coming up there. And if you’d like to talk to someone at the library directly about setting up a business, get in touch with them at this email address: information.library@sheffield.gov.uk

However, it’s the databases I thought I’d go into in a bit more detail as their offer isn’t very widely known, and much of the data is ordinarily behind paywalls so you can’t access it any other way.

Here’s what’s on offer as of December 2016:

Advice & Funding Sources

COBRA

An encyclopaedia of practical information for starting, running and managing a small business. Includes over 4,000 fact sheets and local area profiles.

Access in the library or from home with a library card.

Grant net

Accessible from outside the Centre, gives brief information on 4,000 grants, loans and awards.

Market Research

Mintel

Consumer market reports that are built on exclusive primary research that enables you to identify the key trends – for today and tomorrow – in the way people choose, spend, think and react in the key segments of every industry covered. The subscription covers UK reports form the following sectors; Brands, Drink, Food, Food Service, Leisure, Lifestyles, Retail: Clothing and Footwear, Retail: E-commerce, Retail: Overview, Technology

Only accessible within the Centre.

Key Note

Full text access to more than 1,000 reports covering 30 industry sectors including everything from IT and computing to food and drink.

Only accessible within the Centre.

Marketline (Industry reports)

Market research reports available from the Avention and Mint UK company database. Includes reports on: Oil and Gas; Basic Materials; Industrials; Consumer Goods; Health Care; Consumer Services; Telecommunications; Utilities; Financials; Technology.

Only accessible within the Centre.

Ibis World (UK Industry reports)

These reports are available on the MyWork Search database, a database for jobseekers that is available in the library. Register to use and then you are able to log in from home. Each report consists of 30 to 40 pages of key statistics and analysis on market characteristics, operating conditions, current and forecast performance, major industry participants and more.

Company Data

MINT UK

Comprehensive database of company information and unincorporated businesses throughout the UK, with access to financial information, industry research, director and key contact details, peer groups and comparisons.

Only accessible within the Centre.

Avention (formerly OneSource)

Comprehensive database of company information and unincorporated businesses throughout the world, with access to financial information, industry research, director and key contact details, peer groups and comparisons.

Only accessible within the Centre.

 

For more info on these service and the work they do at the centre, check out Sheffield BIPC on the web and on Twitter.

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