JOIN US AT 6PM ON THURSDAY 12TH OCTOBER FOR A PANEL DISCUSSION ON THE TOPIC OF WOMEN IN BUSINESS AND LEADERSHIP. COME AND HEAR OUR PANEL OF FEMALE BUSINESS LEADERS TALK ABOUT THEIR OWN EXPERIENCES, INCLUDING THE CHALLENGES AND INSPIRATIONS THAT HAVE BEEN PART OF THEIR CAREERS SO FAR.
THE PANEL DISCUSSION WILL BE AT THE BIPC, IN THE COUNTY LIBRARY BUILDING IN OXFORD – IF YOU’RE INTERESTED IN ATTENDING PLEASE E-MAIL MARKETING@APLAN.CO.UK
For many would-be entrepreneurs, taking that first step and starting a business can feel like a huge step into the unknown. How will you turn your ideas into a plan for a successful business? How will you fund it? And how will you protect your idea from copycats?
Thankfully, entrepreneurs in Oxfordshire have a considerable source of help – and it’s all free. The Business and Intellectual Property Centre (BIPC), which is part of Oxfordshire County Council and located in the heart of Oxford, is aimed at inspiring a thriving community of new and existing business owners.
One of a network of over 20 centres across the UK, and funded by the British Library, Oxford’s BIPC is a busy hub offering workshops, webinars, one-to-one advice sessions and panel talks with inspiring speakers which cover the fundamentals of starting and running a business.
We at A-Plan are proud to work in partnership with the centre, through our Oxford Branch on the high street, which is just a short walk from the BIPC. The centre’s aims align with our philosophy of nurturing and protecting a full range of businesses as they launch and grow.
Inspiring business owners
Ryan Johnson is Business Engagement & Marketing Manager at the Oxfordshire centre, which is located in Oxfordshire County Library. He says: “My role is about engaging local businesses and attracting them into the space to make use of the all the resources and assets we have available.
“Centre users range from people knowing they want to start a business, but needing initial guidance, through to those who have sold their businesses but are enjoying being in the entrepreneurial ecosystem and helping others.”
He adds: “We’ve built a really supportive community, a diverse audience who feel comfortable coming to our space.”
One big part of that audience are young people. The BIPC works closely with universities, schools and teachers to offer youth enterprise opportunities and activities. For example, last summer it held bootcamps introducing young people to drone technology, virtual reality and website creation.
From AI to coffee
So far, the centre has helped some 1,500 individuals with their businesses, which operate in sectors ranging from food and drink and fashion, through to AI and other tech industries.
One great example of a venture that has benefited from BIPC’s help is social enterprise Get Fed Coffee. It was started by Tim Parkhouse, who wanted to help young people who are missing out on education to develop entrepreneurial skills. The venture helps them learn barista skills and how to project manage their own event using the Get Fed coffee van – a 3-wheeler tuk tuk – all while earning a 50% share of the profit.
Tim explains how BIPC has supported him: “I first went to BIPC and had a day of free training on how to set up an enterprise. That was a pivotal day – I felt very energised and kept going back. There were meetings with fellow entrepreneurs – you get a lot of support, but you also see there are people struggling with similar issues, so there is camaraderie. The resources there are amazing – £5 million worth of data you can access for free.
“Almost every time you pop in, you’re introduced to exciting people that I just wouldn’t meet otherwise.”
A local partnership to support entrepreneurs
Just five minutes’ walk from BIPC’s busy hub is the A-Plan Oxford branch. Marvin Hatchwell is commercial manager at the branch. He says: “The BIPC offers unrivalled support and resources to existing and prospective entrepreneurs that absolutely aligns with the A-Plan philosophy of nurturing and protecting a full range of businesses as they launch and grow, as well as engaging with local educational establishments.
“No where does this mix of business innovation, cutting edge technology and world class further education better align than in Oxford and the wider Thames Valley area, and within the Oxford branch we have excellent access to insurance markets to cover the types of entrepreneurs BIPC will be supporting. We look forward to working together and helping each other achieve our objectives.”
To find out more about BIPC pop into the centre located County Library, 2nd floor, Westgate and speak to a member of the team or visit their website www.oxfordshire.gov.uk/bipc
To contact the A-Plan Oxford Commercial Team, visit their branch (107 High Street, Oxford OX1 4DA) or call Marvin Hatchwell on 01865 253 870.