A successful entrepreneur who received £3,000 of free help from the British Library in London was at the launch of the same service in Sheffield.
Guy Jeremiah invented the collapsabottle and started his company ohyo after experts at the library’s Business and IP Centre gave the idea the stamp of approval.
Patent searches showed it was original and a report by a high-flying patent attorney helped Guy s ecure a £20,000 grant - which he matched with his own money.
Today, 700,000 collapsabottles have been sold by shops including M&S and Boots and ohyo has just produced a 1ltr version which is now on sale in the States.
Sheffield-born Guy returned to his home city to launch the Business and IP Centre at Sheffield Central Library.
It has taken a corner of the reference section on the ground floor, is open six days a week, has a full time worker, Joyce Gray, and two soundproof booths where would-be entrepreneurs can talk to IP - intellectual property - experts in private.
Guy said: “It’s a great resource. It gave me the confidence to take the risks of developing a product and setting up.
“It would have cost at least £3,000 for the advice and research on patents commercially.
“But it also opened doors and helped me obtain a grant and get on to a £10,000 Innovation for Growth programme that covered branding and financial planning.”
Collapsabottles are made by William Beckett Plastics in Sheffield.
Guy worked with the company on a dozen prototypes before they settled on the final shape - a ‘plurality of frustoconical corrugations’ - made from plastic that can be flexed 10,000 times.
The new centre offers access to market research and information on patents, trademarks, designs and copyright.
There will be patent clinics, monthly meetings of Sheffield Inventors’ Group and an innovator-in-residence, Roger Tipple. It will also refer people to organisations such as Business Sheffield - part of the council - offering further help.