COVID-19 Updates to Business & IP Centre Services

BIPC North East remains open for business.

Newcastle City Library has reopened for services. Our IP Surgery one-to-one advice meetings are delivered remotely by video call and we deal with most of our enquiries by email or via the contact forms on this website. Access to business databases is available via the business PCs in the BIPC on level 3 of Newcastle City Library – booking is recommended if you wish to access the databases. The BIPC enquiry desk is usually staffed Monday to Friday between 10.00am and 5.00pm, but we cannot guarantee there will be a member of the BIPC team available during all library opening hours. We would always recommend contacting us by email first if you have an enquiry.

BIPC North East has expanded and some services are now available from BIPC Local libraries. We will continue to update this page with news while the pandemic is still ongoing.

Experts in Residence

IP Surgeries – We run regular one-to-one video call IP Surgery advice meetings delivered by members of the BIPC team – these must be booked in advance and take place on a number of weekdays at various times.

We use a video call platform called Jitsi Meet and, for some of them, Microsoft Teams. The session can last up to one hour. Please request to book these appointments by completing a contact form on this page, and we will get back to you with the next available time slots.

Partner delivered advice meetings – The rest of the Experts in Residence advice meetings, delivered by our partners, continue to take place – they are available for anyone to book: existing businesses or those at the pre-start stage. You will be offered a free, short, one-off advice meeting. We have a much expanded range of experts and subjects covered.

Please click the link below and select the link for the expert you are interested in seeing – if you would like to meet them fill in the contact form at the bottom of their page. We will refer you to the chosen expert and they will then contact you to arrange a suitable appointment time (this is could be a remote appointment).

Make a booking

Citylife Business Support

We are delivering a funded project called Citylife Business Support to provide businesses with 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. Click here to view our Citylife Business Support page for more details.

Business resources

We subscribe to a range of market research and company information databases.

We can only provide you with remote access for:

  •  Kompass EasyBusiness: contains company information. You can access this database from any location in the UK with a Newcastle Libraries membership: Click this link and then click “Discover | Newcastle Libraries”, login to your account, then click “RESEARCH & BUSINESS TOOLS” in the menu, scroll down to Business Support in the Resources by Category list, look for KOMPASS and click the link, and finally, on the page that follows, click “Open Resource”. If you are not already a member click this link and then select  “JOIN ONLINE” from the menu.
  • COBRA (Complete Online Business Reference Advisor): Provides detailed business information guides and business opportunity profiles (BOPs). This is an extremely useful tool if you are looking to start a business – a relevant BOP can provide you with a template of all the issues you need to know about for the type of business you are looking to start. You can access COBRA remotely by following the steps above for Kompass EasyBusiness, but selecting COBRA instead of KOMPASS in the Business Support section. You can also click this link to access COBRA. You will need to enter your library membership number (see above for how to join if you are not already a member).

If you wish to use any of the market research and company databases in our dedicated IT suite in the BIPC on Level 3 of Newcastle City Library we would recommend booking (see link  below), so that this coincides with a time that the BIPC enquiry desk is likely to be staffed. Market research sessions last up to 2 hours and can be booked up to a month in advance.

Book a market research session

In addition to database access at Newcastle City Library, BIPC North East now has a number of BIPC Local libraries where you can also get access to some of the databases. Booking in advance would also be recommended if you wish to visit one of the BIPC Locals for database access – please complete a contact form here.


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.

Grants and support – Newcastle upon Tyne

Details of any support available for existing businesses in Newcastle upon Tyne 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.

Grants and support – North East

The North East Growth Hub website has a wealth of information and a searchable interface – just search for “COVID” or “coronavirus” for information on any financial support available for businesses and official guidance for employees, employers and businesses.

Free business and IP webinars

British Library Business & IP Centre webinars: The British Library BIPC is currently running a wide range 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 try to list details for some of the free webinars they offer on our Events page.

Citylife webinars: As part of the Citylife Business Support scheme NewcastleGateshead Initiative (NGI) and GX Project delivered a series of free webinars in, 2020 and 2021, to support businesses through the challenges surrounding COVID-19. These have now ended, but you can still get a link to watch back any of the previous webinars here.

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 provide business advice one-to-one meetings via our Experts in Residence. They often run free webinars on different business topics and regular free start-up business courses.

View upcoming webinars

If you are not sure how we can help just contact us by email at

Get in touch with BIPC North East

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.

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The North of Tyne Combined Authority is a partnership of three local authorities: Newcastle City Council, North Tyneside Council, and Northumberland County Council and the North of Tyne Elected Mayor. The UK Shared Prosperity Fund is a central pillar of the UK government’s Levelling Up agenda and provides £2.6 billion of funding for local investment by March 2025. The Fund aims to improve pride in place and increase life chances across the UK investing in communities and place, supporting local business, and people and skills. For more information, visit
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