Access to market research, reports and databases can cost tens of thousands of pounds, meaning that this valuable information is often inaccessible to many small businesses and start-ups. The Business & IP Centre (BIPC) Cambridgeshire & Peterborough secured government funding to make these resources free or low-cost, and all you need to access their £5m worth of resources, is a library card. Their evidence shows that businesses that access support from the BIPC are four times more likely to succeed than those that do not.
The members of Marshall Centre’s business clinic welcomed Katrina and Conrad from the BIPC last week to walk us through the free support and resources that are available to businesses in Cambridgeshire. They are based at the libraries and have experts on hand to signpost you to the resources and support you need to grow your business and help protect your intellectual property (IP) like designs, reports, ideas and secrets. Businesses can access a free 30 min consultation with an expert IP lawyer who can provide advice regardless of what stage your business is at. This support is helpful for people who do not understand exactly what IP is and how to navigate trademarks. Conversations with the IP centre can help businesses identify areas for growth, which can then be workshopped at Marshall Centre’s free business clinics.
There are several databases available to people with an up-to-date library card including:
This database contains accurate and current company and contact information for businesses worldwide, which can be segmented by a wide range of criteria. It also allows you to send out email blasts, to help support marketing and sales efforts.
This is Europe’s largest database of grants and policies bringing together funding opportunities and policies related to the UK market.
Providing critical business facts, compliance and trading details. You can also access sector guides, local area profiles and business events through this platform.
They have 25 years experience of in collating and sharing hard-to-find emerging market intelligence.
They provide easy-to-read and digest industry analysis for more than 400 industries to help businesses understand the market they are operating in.
Mintel are experts in consumer behaviour who provide market intelligence and analysis of customers, new products, markets and competitive landscapes of both local and global economies. Due to the cost of this platform, it is only available on-site through Cambridge Central Library and Peterborough Central Library to access insights, reports and trends. Information can be filtered by sector and the reports are easy to navigate so you can skip to the information you need.
Conrad then demonstrated how to search for trademark information on the government website. This is great for people looking to set up a business to ensure that their trademark is appropriate, not like another brand and they provide a service to register trademarks so you can protect your IP. You can upload logos, words and phrases, the system then uses artificial intelligence to search the internet to see if you can register it as a trademark and the cost of doing so. It will also provide guidance on what you can and cannot legally register as a protected trademark.
The team at the library can also signpost people to other resources and websites that are not on their set of databases, so it is well worth registering with your local library and having a discussion with them to see what support they have available. They offer a valuable service to people at all stages of business including people who have an idea but have not yet invested in it financially.