British Library gives cash to help South Yorkshire businesses

South Yorkshire start-ups and small businesses will get extra help thanks to funding from the British Library.

Tuesday, 8th December 2020, 4:45 pm

The historic London library is giving more than £700,000 to Sheffield Council so it can expand its Business and Intellectual Property Centre.

The centre helps fledgling businesses and small and medium-sized enterprises by offering business advice, one to ones and seminars.

It specialises in helping people with market research and to access intellectual property databases.

Sign up to our Business newsletter

Sign up to our Business newsletter

Business and Intellectual Property Centre, at Sheffield's Central Library

The centre is based at Sheffield Central Library but the funding will create four further spokes in Rotherham, Barnsley, Doncaster and Crystal Peaks.

Nick Partridge, head of libraries, said it was a boost for businesses struggling during the pandemic.

“The centre contributes to Sheffield’s economy. Between 2016 and 2018 it helped to create 391 new businesses and 321 additional jobs. That translates into £2.8 million added to our economy,” he said.

“We will subscribe to more databases, allowing our customers to research their markets in even more depth, whether they need local street level data or are planning to expand into emerging markets. The funding will be used to employ three full time staff.

“The service helps support alternative employment options to those who may have lost their jobs during this pandemic.

“People who access the centre have much improved chances of surviving the first few critical years of starting up a business.

“The service is free to library members, giving access to research and advice that is ordinarily expensive. Again, expanding will bring more benefits to people who could not generally afford to access such services.”

Sheffield Libraries run the centre as part of a national network led by the British Library, which successfully secured funds from the Department for Culture Media and Sport.

Of the people using the centre, 57 per cent are women, 25 per cent BME, 20 per cent disabled and 41 per cent are from the most deprived areas.

In these confusing and worrying times, local journalism is more vital than ever. Thanks to everyone who helps us ask the questions that matter by taking out a digital subscription or buying a paper. We stand together. Nancy Fielder, editor.