24 May 2013

Newcastle launches unique service to help businesses grow

A new business service which will unlock the growth potential of businesses across the region has been launched in the city.

Newcastle created the first Business & IP Centre outside London as a pilot in 2011 and has now secured over £1.3m to provide a full-scale operational service to businesses.

The first of a nationwide network developed with the British Library, the Centre will help businesses and entrepreneurs to grow their businesses, protect their ideas, and become commercially successful.

The Centre follows the success of the Business & IP Centre which opened in the British Library in London in 2006, with services adapted to meet the needs of local businesses, start-ups and entrepreneurs in the North East.

The official launch of the Centre’s new services took place on Thursday 23 May at the City Library, attended by VIP speakers including Chi Onwurah, MP for Newcastle Central, and Pat Ritchie, Chief Executive of Newcastle City Council.

The service, based in the flagship Newcastle City Library, offers free access to business and intellectual property (IP) databases and publications, support on commercialising IP, advice on start-up funding, market research, company data and information on patents, trademarks, design and copyright.

Through a series of events, workshops and one-to-one coaching sessions, experts will share their knowledge and experience in business development and intellectual property complemented by world class resources and staff support.

Working in partnership with Newcastle City Council, Newcastle Science City and Northumbria University, the new service follows a successful pilot phase, where over 2,500 entrepreneurs and businesses attended a wide range of events.

The Centre has secured funding of around £614,000 from the Competitiveness and Employment European Regional Development Fund Programme 2007 to 2013, alongside resources provided by partner organisations and private funding.

Business & IP Centre Newcastle builds upon Newcastle Science City’s proven track record in delivering high growth, specialist business support, and Newcastle City Council’s and Northumbria University’s commitment to enhancing services to the business community.

Isabel Oswell, Head of Business & Research Audiences at the British Library, says “Our vision is to create an established network of Business & IP Centres across the UK by 2020, with the first wave of Centres in Birmingham, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle and Sheffield complete by 2014 and working together to share services and spearhead business growth in their local areas.

“We’re thrilled to celebrate the Business & IP Centre Newcastle’s transformation into a fully fledged Centre as the first major step towards achieving this goal and unlocking the potential of British entrepreneurs.”

Pat Ritchie, Chief Executive of Newcastle City Council, said: “Creating the right conditions for business growth is one of the critical roles of the council. This unique new service will help businesses and entrepreneurs grow and become commercially successful producing much needed new jobs and strengthening the regional economy.”

Simon Green, Newcastle Science City’s Head of Business Support said, “We’re keen to encourage the region’s entrepreneurs and innovative businesses to get involved with the Centre, to find out how we can help them exploit and develop their ideas, and fundamentally grow their business. We understand the challenges faced by high growth companies, and can provide the specialist support needed to overcome these challenges.”

Professor Andrew Wathey, Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive of Northumbria University, said: “Business innovation and knowledge creation are strong elements of Northumbria’s civic mission as a research engaged, business-focussed, professional university.

Through the Business & IP Centre, Newcastle, Northumbria University will work with its partners to support businesses and entrepreneurs to realise their commercial potential, forging links and developing individuals to drive forward innovation and growth in Newcastle and the North East region.”

Editor’s notes:

Grumpy Sheep Music create fun, educational musicals and songbooks for primary and pre-school children and teachers. Based in Newcastle, Grumpy Sheep Music began publishing children’s music in 2000. The company was created by Caroline Hoile (pictured), a well known children’s songwriter in the UK. From small beginnings, they now supply musicals, Christmas nativities and songbooks to thousands of primary schools and nurseries throughout the UK and abroad, as well as music to book shops, theatre and church groups, as well as individual customers.

Caroline told us “We’ve recently been introduced to the Business & IP Centre in Newcastle, and have been very impressed with the service. Staff are very helpful, with a wide range of hugely practical sessions on offer - many of them without charge - and appointments can be booked with ease. The central location is an added bonus. Now that we’ve discovered the Business & IP Centre Newcastle, we intend to use it well - it’s a hidden gem of resources and advice for North East companies of all shapes and sizes.

Other users of the Business & IP Centre Newcastle include C2M (UK) Ltd, who have used the Centre on several occasions to examine current portfolio of IP around inventions. Meerkat Films also used the Centre where they received invaluable advice and support on the patenting process.

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