British Library Business and IP Centre

British Library Business and IP CentreMaybe your first thought as an entrepreneur would not be the British Library. Surely that’s just full of old books? Well there’s a lot more to the modern British Library than that.

Inside the covers of the BL there’s a specialist group that offers practical help, advice and expertise to inventors, business start-ups and small growing businesses.

It’s known as the British Library Business & IP Centre and it’s there to support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and entrepreneurs from that first spark of inspiration to successfully launching and developing a business.

As you might expect from its heritage, the Centre offers free access to the UK's most comprehensive collection of business and intellectual property information; which includes:

  • around 50 million patent specifications,
  • unique databases on trade marks and registered designs
  • thousands of market research reports,
  • company reports,
  • trade journals,
  • business directories
  • guides to legal information and government publications.

If it sounds a bit overwhelming, fear not, British Library information experts are on hand to guide you to the resources. Having visited there recently, I can tell you that it is friendly and helpful, a far cry from the glaring looks you used to get from your local librarians.

There is also a hidden gem. A programme of workshops and events run by British Library experts and partners. These cover a wide range of subjects, let me give you a flavour:

  • Introducing Trade Marks
  • Web 2.0 made easy
  • How to make sure your invention or idea will sell
  • The perfect business plan
  • Knowing your market

The best bit is that many of them are either completely free, or a small cover charge.

Since opening in March 2006 they have welcomed over 35,000 people through the doors and, together with partners, have delivered more than 2,000 business advice sessions.

More information:

The Centre is free to use - all you need is a Reader Pass and they can advise you on how to obtain that.