COVID-19 Updates to Business & IP Centre Services

BIPC Newcastle is doing its best to remain open for business during these difficult times

Although the City Library has reopened for limited services, we won’t be able to run normal BIPC services from the library for some time yet. BIPC staff are still working from home to answer your enquiries and deliver one-to-one meetings by video call. We will continue to update this page with any changes to what we can currently offer, until services are back to normal again.

Experts in Residence

IP Surgeries – We are now running a limited number of IP Surgeries, currently weekly as follows:

  • Tuesdays at 9.00am
  • Wednesdays, at 9.00am
  • Fridays, at 10.00am

We are using a video call platform called Jitsi Meet and the session can last up to one hour. Please request to book these appointments as normal and we will get back to you with the next available time slots.

If you are not available at the time of these sessions members of the team who normally deliver IP Surgeries are still on hand to answer enquiries, so if you have any questions regarding IP please do get in touch. We will do our best to answer your questions by email, but please bear in mind that in this unusual time it may take longer to respond than normal.

Partner delivered sessions – The rest of the Experts in Residence sessions delivered by our partners are now running again and we also have some new experts. These sessions are free for anyone to book. The only exception is Gavin Knights (Digital Video Expert) – he is only available for support through the Citylife Business Support project.

Please click the link for the expert you are interested in seeing and fill in the contact form at the bottom of the page. We will refer you to the chosen expert and they will then contact you to arrange a suitable appointment time (this is likely to be a remote appointment).

Make a booking

Citylife Business Support

We now have a funded project called Citylife Business Support to provide up to eight hours of enhanced support from one of our experts (or divided between two experts). This support is for existing SMEs in Newcastle, North Tyneside or Northumberland. Click here to view our Citylife Business Support page for more details.

Business resources

Staff have access to a selection of the business databases normally available from the computers in the Business & IP Centre. We are not able to provide remote access for customers, but we can use them to carry out a limited amount of research for you. We now have access to the following:

  • COBRA (Complete Online Business Reference Advisor): Provides detailed business information guides and business opportunity profiles (BOPs). We can send you a limited number of guides from COBRA. If you are looking to start a business a relevant BOP can provide you with a template for the type of business you are looking to start.
  • IBIS World: Database of UK market research reports. We can send you a limited number of reports from IBIS World who have generously allowed us to download reports during lockdown.
  • Mintel: Another database of UK market research reports. Sadly the restrictions on the Mintel database mean we are not able to send you reports – we can only verify if we have access to a report that you will be able to view once the library is open again.
  • D&B: Company information database. If you are looking for information on a specific company, or if you are looking to generate a company list, we may be able to help.

Contact us if you would like to know more.


BEST is a funded project which aims to reduce energy use and costs for SMEs in Newcastle, Gateshead, North Tyneside, Northumberland and Sunderland. The Business Energy Saving Team (BEST) can provide your business with a fully-funded energy efficiency audit, to identify ways that you can save energy, thereby saving you money and helping to reduce your carbon-footprint.

This service is now running as normal. Please visit the BEST website for more details.

Newcastle City Council – grants and support for businesses

Details of support for existing businesses can be found on the Newcastle City Council website. Here you will find:

  • Details of grants that are available,
  • Links to further government schemes and initiatives
  • Guidance on what support is available

And as businesses look to reopen, welcome back more staff, or change how they operate there are a number of areas you may need to consider ensuring both staff and customers remain safe. Click here for more advice.

COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Toolkit

The North East Growth Hub website has a COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Toolkit, which provides businesses with the latest advice, guidance and support available from government including:

  • Financial support available for businesses
  • Official guidance for employees, employers and businesses
  • Advice on effective home working
  • How to care for staff/suppliers/customers and prevent the spread of COVID-19

Free business and IP webinars

British Library Business & IP Centre webinars: The British Library BIPC is currently increasing the frequency and number of business and IP webinars on offer. There is a charge for some of these and some are only suitable for those located in London. But many are free and suitable for anyone and we will try to list details for all the free webinars they offer on our Events page.

GX Project webinars: As part of the GX Project, NewcastleGateshead Initiative (NGI), in partnership with Innovation SuperNetwork, is running a series of free webinars on adapting and innovating in tourism, to support businesses through the current challenges surrounding COVID-19. You can also get a link to watch back any of the previous webinars.

NEPO Business Club webinars: For those companies looking to bid for major public sector contracts or looking for supply-chain opportunities, NEPO (North East Procurement Organisation) have taken their ever-popular NEPO Business Club events online. These free webinars will help you to identify new contract opportunities and to develop your bid-writing skills.

PNE Enterprise webinars: PNE Enterprise are a long-time partner of BIPC Newcastle and normally run the weekly Business Advice: Pre-Start And Beyond advice session for us. They are currently running free webinars on different business topics. They also run a regular free one day start-up business course called Start-up Smart . This is also currently running as a webinar.

View upcoming webinars

If you are not sure how we can help just contact us by email at Please bear in mind that in this unusual time it may take longer to respond to enquiries than normal.

Get in touch with BIPC Newcastle

Contact us today if you’re interested in receiving business support. We'll help give you the skills, confidence and knowledge to grow and protect your business.

Get in touch