BUDDING entrepreneurs in Leeds are being encouraged to sign up for a free support programme to take their business idea to the next level.

Launching on October 5, Start-up Leeds will be run at local libraries across the city and will offer support to anyone with a business idea or a fledgling business in any sector.

The programme will kick off at Horsforth Library, before rolling out to selected libraries over the next two years.

The hands-on practical support is being delivered in partnership with AD:VENTURE and the Business & IP Centre Leeds, run through the Leeds Libraries Service.

Cllr Mary Harland, executive member for communities at Leeds City Council, said: “It doesn’t matter whether you are in crafts or digital, or whether you want to sell to the public or other businesses, as long as you have a business idea, Start-up Leeds is here to help you.

“You may still be at the ideas stage, or you may have already started your business journey and be in the early stages and need some advice; whichever it is, we are here to help. We want to make the support easy to access for everyone, which is why our workshops will be run in local libraries across Leeds.”

The aim of the interactive workshops, which are all run by expert industry professionals, is to empower people to gain the skills and confidence to start and grow their own businesses. The workshops will start with an introduction to the support on offer and information about resources available. Further sessions will cover what makes a successful business, how to choose a business model, pricing of products, cashflow forecasting, tax, bookkeeping, and marketing.

Anyone taking part in the programme will also be able to access the full range of resources offered by BIPC Leeds, such as business information, databases, one-to-one support, and other workshops.

BIPC Leeds is part of the British Library’s national network of Business & IP Centres, which aims to place start-up and small business support in public libraries across the UK. Following a major government investment of £13million to expand the network in March 2020, the British Library has worked closely with BIPC Leeds to open new Centres in libraries across West Yorkshire, including in Bradford, Calderdale, Kirklees and Wakefield.

Tracey Purcell, founder of Beautiful Ethical and user of the Business & IP Centre Leeds, said: “The Business & IP Centre have an amazing range of free resources and support available for small businesses and start-ups, which I have found invaluable in helping me get my business off the ground.

“When starting Beautiful Ethical, I attended a range of the BIPC’s webinars and one-to-one sessions which really helped give me the skills I needed to grow and market my business through tailored support.

“As well as accessing expert advice, the BIPC webinars also gave me the opportunity to meet with other entrepreneurs and learn more about their experiences, it’s reassuring to know that you’re not alone in facing challenges or needing to learn new skills.

“I’d recommend anyone with a business idea to sign-up to the programme to see how they can start and grow their own business too.”

Tracy Brabin, Mayor of West Yorkshire, said: “The people of Leeds and West Yorkshire have so much to offer, with a wealth of talent and fantastic ideas. I hope that this initiative will inspire budding entrepreneurs and give them help, support and a practical helping hand.

“Not only do schemes like this allow businesses to develop and grow, but in the longer term they also contribute to a stronger regional economy with the creation of jobs.

“The Leeds Start Up scheme is free and open to everyone, so if you have an idea, get in touch to access help. With the right support, there is no limit to what we can achieve, together, for our region.”

There will also be the opportunity for eligible business owners to access further support from the wider AD:VENTURE programme, which helps ambitious new businesses in North and West Yorkshire.

AD:VENTURE is part funded by the European Regional Development Fund, and has delivery partners across the Leeds City Region, including Leeds City Council; the Business Enterprise Fund; the Prince’s Trust; Leeds Beckett University; West and North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce, and the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership.

For more information about Start-Up Leeds go to https://ad-venture.org.uk/start-up-leeds/

For more information about AD:VENTURE go to https://ad-venture.org.uk/

For more information about BIPC Leeds go to https://www.leeds.gov.uk/bipcleeds