An innovative, new project run by libraries across Greater Manchester aiming to help budding entrepreneurs develop their business ideas.

‘Build a Business in GM Libraries’ is a new scheme that will be led by Manchester City Council and part funded by the European Union with £1.3 million from ERDF (European Regional Development Fund) funding. Manchester Central Library will also act as the hub of the network.

The exciting business-focused project will run until June 2023 and workshops will begin next week in local Manchester libraries. The workshops will be rolled out across eight Greater Manchester districts: Bolton; Bury; Oldham; Manchester; Salford; Stockport; Tameside; Trafford.

The programme will offer advice, tailored support and guidance to local business owners and their teams through a programme of workshops delivered at libraries. The project will also help entrepreneurs to plan, develop and grow their business ideas, whilst also providing the opportunity to network with like-minded people in their area. 

In tandem with the workshops and advice available, one-to-one support will be provided in each authority by local small business experts known as ‘SME Champions’. These champions are carefully selected experts who can share a wealth of knowledge to help participants expand their ideas and build their businesses.  

Participants will also have access to their local library’s Business and Intellectual Property Centre (BIPC), where users can access industry-standard business information resources, including powerful market research databases. Businesses that take part will also benefit from allocated workspaces that have Wi-fi, PCs, printing and 3D printing access.

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“I am thrilled that Manchester City Council are leading and managing such an innovative scheme that will benefit many business owners across Greater Manchester- it is a great scheme.  

 “The program offers a wide range of support for smaller businesses from one-to-one sessions to industry standard resources from the BIPC, which will prove helpful for entrepreneurs wanting to expand their reach and scale up their businesses.” 

Councillor Rabnawaz Akbar, Executive Member for Libraries

 “Build A Business has been a fantastic support to me…Learning about the free market research and other resources has saved me thousands of pounds…it’s amazing! The ongoing assistance is helping me to plan and prepare to grow and be successful” 

Redz Holyfield, a Manchester- based baker who recently featured on S4C’s “The Sweet Academy”

“Build A Business is a fantastic new project offering practical advice and tailored support, all delivered at a convenient location. Greater Manchester is full of entrepreneurial people with great ideas and it’s important we offer them support so that they can drive our recovery beyond the pandemic. 

“Whether you’re just starting out, or you’re already in business and want to grow, get in touch with Build A Business to learn more.” 

 Lou Cordwell, Chair of the Greater Manchester Local Enterprise Partnership (GM LEP)