Bedroom to Business – Supporting Budding Businesses
Written by JOFF ALEXANDER-FRYE
Images supplied by LIBRARIES UNLIMITED
Last month we talked to Libraries Unlimited’s Richard Love – the Head of Devon’s Business & Intellectual Property Centres (BIPC). He told us about the exciting and important business support work that they are providing to empower and equip budding entrepreneurs and business owners in Devon. And they are perfectly placed to do so, with the largest collection of business and research databases in the South-West of England, specialist Intellectual Property knowledge and a comprehensive programme of webinars, workshops and one-to-ones with leading experts from different fields within the world of business.
This month, we caught up again with Richard to see how the project is going. Richard started his role in November 2020, following Libraries Unlimited receiving funding for the BIPC from British Libraries. This funding allowed Richard and two others (a small-but-perfectly-formed team) to launch the BIPC and the funding lasts until March 2023, with an aim to extend that until 2030. The BIPC is sure to be a vital contributor to the larger effort in Devon to train up and invest in budding local entrepreneurs – the next generation of business owners in our region. And, moreover, these local aspiring business owners and entrepreneurs can access this highly-valuable and helpful support completely free of charge. That’s right. Completely free.
Richard commented, “When I first started in November of last year, we had a business support programme called ‘Reset/Restart’ which catered for businesses that had been going for less than three years. This was a great programme but we could tell that we’d only scratched the surface, so we launched our ‘Women in Business’ programme which ran from May to July 2021. This programme was designed to highlight and inspire Women founders in particular. As part of this programme, we have teamed up with NatWest to launch ‘She Started It’ – a pot of £20,000 of grant funding and coaching available to female founders for their new start-ups.”
He continued, “But still, we knew that none of our programmes up until that point had catered for people in the pre-start-up phase of launching a business – when people are experimenting and wanting to try out ideas to see if they ‘have legs’ or not .”
So, working with James White – an excellent sales trainer with a great reputation – Richard and his team devised a 13-week programme called ‘Bedroom to Business’, which is due to run from September to November 2021. This programme will consist of a weekly core lecture, complemented by a suite of webinars and workshops that will be run by a team of 30 leading business experts. Sessions will be themed around a variety of start-up topics, ranging from mindset, vision and making a business plan to forecasting and understanding a P&L (Profit & Loss). These are all tools which will literally help take an idea from a bedroom and turn it into a business reality.
Richard explained, “As an entrepreneur and business owner myself, I am very aware of the challenges and experiences that startups face. If I can pass on some of my learning and experience to others and help them avoid making some of the mistakes that I did, then I’d consider that a success!” He continued, “I’ve designed the BIPC courses with the end-user completely in mind. I asked myself ‘What would I have wanted in a business support program when I first started out?’, and went from there really!” Impressively, all of the sessions that the BIPC will be providing as part of their Bedroom to Business programme will also be filmed and uploaded onto their website, completely free of charge. I asked Richard what his vision for the future of the BIPC was. He thought for a second and replied, “My vision for BIPC is to make it the benchmark and obvious starting point for startups and entrepreneurs in the South West of England to come to for support. I want to grow an ecosystem of collaboration which fosters rewarding partnerships and builds a culture of collective problem-solving.”
Richard continued, with passion, “I want the BIPC to be a catalyst and a trusted voice for users. It would be my dream for alumni from the first few courses to go on and successfully start their own businesses and then return to coach and advise future cohorts of aspiring business owners. That would be a great legacy for the BIPC to leave in the region.” In closing, Richard stated, “I’m really pleased with what we’ve achieved so far and I can’t wait to see what fantastic projects, businesses and business-people will be birthed as a result of our Bedroom to Business programme. Don’t hesitate – get in touch and sign up!”
To find out more about the BIPC, or to register for one of their upcoming courses, visit www.bipc.librariesunlimited.org.uk
Libraries Unlimited is a registered charity (1170092) responsible for running Devon Libraries and Torbay Libraries.