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The Word is Out - Small Business Resource Coming Soon

South Tyneside Council has welcomed plans to establish a dedicated support centre for the Borough's small business community in the heart of South Shields.

The Word in South Shields has been chosen by Business & IP Centre (BIPC) Newcastle to become one of six new library-based BIPC Locals to provide expert advice to companies across the North East.

The new centre will provide local organisations - and anyone looking to set up their own enterprise - in and around South Tyneside, with free access to on-site business databases as well as the latest marketing research information and resources, provided by the British Library.

Through the local 'hub', they will also have access to BIPC North East's regional advice and support services and be able to find out more about other business support opportunities in the Borough.

Councillor Joan Atkinson, Deputy Leader of South Tyneside Council, said: "This is going to be an invaluable resource for our business community, particularly residents looking to start-up their own company and entrepreneurs wanting to develop their business idea.

"Experts in residence will be on hand to offer specialist advice in areas including intellectual property, legal, financial, innovation and digital guidance.

"Businesses will also be able to access databases providing information about company statistics, market trends and consumer behaviours as well as finding funding opportunities to help develop or explore new markets.

"It's fantastic news that we will have this free service with trained staff within the Borough. It will make a key contribution in supporting businesses to emerge from the challenging coronavirus pandemic."

The BIPC Local at The Word is an expansion of the highly successful BIPC Newcastle, which was set up in 2011 and became the country's first regional Business and IP Centre outside of London to provide a service for the north east business community.

Over that time, it has supported more than 14,000 start ups and growing businesses and attracted more than 7,600 attendees to over 300 events. More recently, it her helped more than 300 small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to safeguard around 600 jobs during the pandemic.

Recently rebranded as 'BIPC North East', it will remain the regional centre and will co-ordinate and support the activities of the six new local centres being set up in library venues, including the BIPC Local within The Word.

Activities will include events, workshops and one-to-ones with businesses.

Sincero, a South Shields-based company specialising in business growth and funding solutions, is among the firms to have benefitted from the BIPC service.

Director Julie Skevington said: "I recently received help from BIPC Newcastle via the Citylife Business Support Programme. This was fully funded and gave me access to Ann English, who created a fantastic Visual Doodle as a marketing tool.

"This will help me with my online promotion and is an effective and engaging way of explaining what we offer to our customers and assisting them to secure the very best finance available.

"I found out about the programme as I'm one of the Experts in Residence at the BIPC. I volunteer monthly and support anyone needing help with business finance.

"It's wonderful to see the BIPC extending to local areas. It's a great resources for local businesses."

Final touches are being made to the dedicated suite within The Word before it officially opens its doors to businesses later in the summer.

The roll out of an extended BIPC network is being delivered thanks to DCMS funding secured by the British Library.

The move also supports the Council's key priorities, set out earlier this year, to create the conditions for recovery and investment.

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