Majority of entrepreneurs believe business support is too London-centric

Study coincides with launch of Business & IP Centres in Manchester and Birmingham

Over half of entrepreneurs believe support for enterprise is too focused on London, according to a new study released to coincide with the opening of new Business & IP Centres in Manchester and Birmingham.

The ComRes poll of around 500 entrepreneurs found that 56% of respondents believed that start-up support is too heavily centred around London, whilst 57% said there was no one place in their local area to go for advice.

A majority of respondents (73%) believed that the business support currently on offer is confusing and difficult to navigate, whilst two-thirds said they didn’t know who to go to for advice in the early stages of their business.

The study was released to coincide with the opening of two new Business & IP Centres in Manchester Central Library and the Library of Birmingham, which will follow the same model as the British Library’s own Business & IP Centre in central London.

The new Centres will provide access to library collections containing market research, intellectual property information and company financials, in addition to face-to-face business support services including networking events, practical workshops, and advice and coaching sessions from business experts.

It follows the opening of the first Business & IP Centre outside London in Newcastle City Library around a year ago, as part of a wider plan to open Centres in six regions across the UK.

The Business & IP Centre in Manchester launches today, with its Birmingham counterpart set to open on Thursday. Business & IP Centres are also set to open in Sheffield and Liverpool later this year.

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The British Library, which administers the scheme, said the new Centres would go some way to addressing what polled entrepreneurs saw as a regional deficit in start-up support compared to the capital.

Doug Richard, founder of School for Startups and an ambassador for the Business & IP Centre scheme, said: “As a campaigner and supporter for entrepreneurship, I have always believed in the importance of support in the early years of starting a business.

“The opening of the two new Business and IP Centres in Manchester and Birmingham is fantastic and through the invaluable local services and support provided, I have no doubt these centres will contribute to helping start-ups nationwide thrive and continue to fuel the growth our economy.”

Isabel Oswell, head of business audience at the British Library, said: “The first Business & IP Centre outside London opened in Newcastle City Library just over a year ago, and since that time it has helped over 1,200 local businesses.

“With the volume of UK start-ups growing all the time, it’s more important than ever to offer businesses free and trusted advice, and we’re thrilled that Manchester and Birmingham will now be providing local businesses with this evidently needed support. We urge anyone with a business idea within easy reach of either of these iconic libraries to go there and get started.”


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