New centre in West Norfolk to provide expert guidance for businesses and start-ups

Budding businesses and entrepreneurial individuals in West Norfolk this week celebrated the launch of a new centre which will help protect, research and commercialise their ideas.

The new Business and Intellectual Property (IP) Centre at King’s Lynn Library launched on Wednesday 17 July and joins a network of thirteen centres across the UK, following Norfolk’s first centre at the Millennium Library in Norwich, which launched in October 2017.

The new centre will be one of three hubs connected to the main centre in Norwich. The other two are planned for Thetford and Great Yarmouth by the end of January 2020.

Councillor Graham Plant, Deputy Leader and Cabinet member for Growing the Economy, said at the launch: “Encouraging entrepreneurship and business growth is key to sustaining a strong economy and driving economic growth in the county.

“Our libraries are ideally placed to help new and growing businesses to flourish, with expert staff that can help support businesses to carry out market research and business planning.”

Local entrepreneur Evie-May Ellis spoke about setting up her vegan food pop-up Heart Street, and there were expert business advisors from Menta, the Norfolk and Waveney Enterprise Services (NWES), and other partners on hand, offering advice and support to guests.

The Centre holds a comprehensive collection of online databases and publications, printed resources, and will host practical workshops and inspiring talks, and be a space for entrepreneurs to come together to network.

Hazel Russell, co-founder of the of The Wood Life Project, is just one of the many people and businesses who have gained valuable guidance.

Her company designs and sells eco-friendly wooden products as alternatives to plastic. Hazel first heard about Business & IP Centres via a podcast, and decided to go along to her nearest one at the Forum in Norwich.

She said: “The centre is supportive and informative, and helped us move our business forward in a sustainable way.” 

Through 1-to-1 sessions with advisors she learnt about trademark and patent options and how to register designs. She started registering her designs, and the Centre helped and encouraged her to move forward with the business. She has since been back to learn more about finance, strategy, and raising funds, and feels that the support really helped build her confidence and get her business off the ground.

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