COVID-19 Updates to Business & IP Centre Services

BIPC North East remains open for business during these difficult times.

Newcastle City Library has reopened for limited services, but we are not yet running normal BIPC North East services from the library and our face-to-face advice meetings are still being delivered remotely by video call. BIPC North East has expanded and some services are now available from BIPC Local libraries. Access to consult business databases is available by appointment. We will continue to update this page with news until services are back to normal again.

Experts in Residence

IP Surgeries – We are now running video call IP Surgeries, currently weekly as follows:

  • Tuesdays at 10.00am, 12.00pm and 2.30pm
  • Wednesdays at 10.00am
  • Fridays, at 10.00am and 11.15am

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 by completing a contact form on this page, 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 continue to take place remotely (we are not running face-to-face meetings within Newcastle City Library) and we also have a much expanded range of experts and subjects covered. These sessions are free for anyone to book.

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 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, North Tyneside or Northumberland. Click here to view our Citylife Business Support page for more details.

Update: Due to the successful uptake of the Citylife Business Support programme this is currently closed to new applications, but we are hoping to launch a new funded scheme soon.

In the meantime our experts will continue to be on hand to provide a single free one-to-one advice meeting through our Experts in Residence.

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. If you are not a member, join Newcastle Libraries online (it’s free) then login to your online account on the library catalogue to access Kompass EasyBusiness.
  • COBRA (Complete Online Business Reference Advisor): Provides detailed business information guides and business opportunity profiles (BOPs). 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. 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).

From 4 May 2021, you can book in advance (no walk-ins allowed) to come to the Centre at Newcastle City Library and use any of the market research and company databases in our dedicated IT suite. 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. You will also need to book in advance 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.

Newcastle City Council – grants and support for businesses

Details of support 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.

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 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 will try to list details for all 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 to support businesses through the current 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. They also run regular free start-up business courses, currently being delivered online.

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 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.

Get in touch