Business Blog Archive

Business Blog Archive

Going Round in Circles

5th November 2021


The phrase ‘good things come to those who wait’ is, apparently, a synonym for the proverbial saying ‘patience is a virtue’. When it comes to global warming, however, neither is particularly apt so it’s perhaps a good thing that, after a year’s delay, COP26 has arrived, aiming (amongst other things) to bring countries from across the world together to agree on ways to deal with the challenges of the climate crisis. 

Businesses and entrepreneurs sometimes have their detractors when it comes to their environmental credentials, but one thing’s for sure – they’ve also been at the forefront of trying to make the world a cleaner place to inhabit.

Whether it’s everyday items such as ecological shopping bags, reusable coffee cups, ballpoint pens made from recycled water bottles or the slightly more impressively titled ‘Omniprocessor’ (a machine that converts organic waste into drinking water, whilst producing energy and ashes as fertiliser) businesses and entrepreneurs (and inventors) have been coming up with creative ways to make use of the resources we already have.

That’s where the circular economy comes in. As an alternative to a traditional linear economy (make, use, dispose), in a circular economy resources are kept in use for as long as possible. They’re not discarded, they’re recovered and used in a more sustainable, long-lasting way. 

Whilst a circular economy is worldwide in impact, leading the way locally is Circular Glasgow (an initiative of Glasgow Chamber of Commerce, along with key partners Zero Waste Scotland and Glasgow City Council). Circular Glasgow support businesses wanting to adopt circular economy strategies. Doing so has multiple benefits for the business, as well as helping to save the planet.

Sometimes, solutions can eventually become problems, which is the case with the first-generation of onshore wind farms’ wind turbines in Scotland. Many of the turbines are reaching the end of their operational lives and are (startlingly) destined for landfill unless an alternative can be found. That’s where businesses, entrepreneurs and inventors come in. We need their creative drive and energy to come up with solutions. A huge task, but we’re here to support them. 

Here at BIPC Glasgow, we’ve had the pleasure of helping support a newly-launched business called ReBlade Limited. Wind turbines are made of materials that are complicated to recycle or break-down and thousands of blades and GRP nacelles will be decommissioned before the end of the decade. ReBlade delivered the UK’s first non-landfill interventions for decommissioned blades. 

Fiona Lindsay, Director at ReBlade Limited has also recently recorded a panel event at BIPC Glasgow with three other inspiring entrepreneurs whose businesses are making a social or environmental impact. 

Screening of ‘Making a difference – starting and running a business with environmental impact’ will take place on Thursday 11 November on as part of BIPC Start Up Day 2021. This year’s theme is Sustainability. 

Also, did you know the Intellectual Property Office has a fast-track patent application channel in place for inventions which have a positive environmental impact? Find out more about the Green Channel here.

Subscribe to our eNewsletter to keep-up-to date with all of our news and events. If you want to find out more about how BIPC Glasgow can help support you start or grow your business, email us at 

Tony Lyon, BIPC Glasgow


Lights, Camera, Action!

27th October 2021


It’s been an exciting time at BIPC Glasgow as we have just recorded our first panel event for broadcast on for National Start-Up Day 2021!  

The event was filmed at The Mitchell Library and the BIPC Glasgow staff team arrived early to prepare for the arrival of our guests and to check that everything was in place that needed to be. 

Support for the event came about through discussion with our Network colleagues at BIPC London, with financial assistance from Santander. Everyone was keen to support us to deliver an event to link in with Glasgow’s position as host city for COP26 as the conference coincides with the network’s annual Start-Up Day. Luckily for us Glasgow has a vibrant community of ‘businesses with impact’ and we were able to secure the services of four inspirational local businesswomen.

Rachael Brown was an excellent compere. She expertly presented and managed the discussion giving the panellists the confidence and space they needed to talk about their different business journeys. It was a real treat for us to see her in action and to hear first hand the panellists’ inspiring stories of why they had decided to start businesses with impact. 

Trudi Donahue used her creative skills in printing and embroidery to found Wild & Kind CIC. The CIC runs an ethical printing shop to fund support for women and those outwith the gender binary by offering safe spaces to work from and access to specialist making equipment.  

Lynne Haddow took the radical step of leaving her career in oil and gas to co-found Extincts CIC. This Social Enterprise donates 70% of its profits to animal conservation charities. Profits are generated through sales of their branded ethical clothing range and a digital game which educates players on the plight of endangered animals.

Fiona Lindsay used her knowledge and expertise from working in the renewables sector to found ReBlade in partnership with her husband Steven. ReBlade implements creative and innovative solutions to reuse, recycle and repurpose materials from commercial-scale wind turbines which are at the end of their life cycle.

To watch this inspiring event ‘Making a difference – starting and running a business with environmental impact’ register for a free ticket for Start-Up Day 2021 on 11th November. As well as BIPC Glasgow’s event, the day will be jam-packed with a range of online talks and practical advice sessions from across the network designed to get your business idea off to a flying start.

In or around Glasgow on 11th November? We are holding an in-person business networking coffee morning at The Mitchell Library which will feature the screening of our panel event. Click here to book your ticket. 

Interested in starting a business or social enterprise with social or environmental impact? BIPC Glasgow can help you get your idea off the ground. Take the first step and contact us at or visit our website 

Ruth Hunter is Librarian at BIPC Glasgow


Everyday Science Fiction

30th July 2021


Let’s start things off with a phrase that sounds more like a science fiction novel than a BIPC Glasgow blog - artificial intelligence, or AI for short. Doesn’t it sound futuristic? Maybe not. AI is all around us and has crept into our daily lives.


You get up in the morning, you do is open your phone… facial recognition software.

You scroll through your social media… advertising algorithms.

You ask your smart speaker what the time is… voice recognition software.​

​​​​​​You get into your car, set the sat nav… smart traffic monitoring.​

​​​​​​You get back home and put Netflix on… recommendation algorithm.


Artificial Intelligence at BIPC Glasgow?

You’ll even find AI at BIPC Glasgow. We want to show you how businesses can use AI technology by looking at new tool that’s available at the Intellectual Property Office (IPO). The trade mark application process is often undertaken without an attorney representative, and the IPO identified this is an area that benefits from automated checks to help people avoid common pitfalls.


AI in Action - IPO Trade Mark Pre-Check Tool

How does this all work? You’ll be glad to hear it’s very simple. To access the tool go to You’ll be asked to choose the type of mark you want to check – text, image, or composite. If you choose image or composite mark you’ll be prompted to upload an image file. This is where the AI does its magic…


The algorithms in the tool first checks to see if it can help you assign a Vienna classification to describe your image. It will also check if your image cannot be described and will be classified as abstract. The next stage will check your Nice classification. You will be asked to describe your goods or services, and the tool will use an algorithm to match these to a class number. After selecting all relevant classes you’ll be also able to see the estimated fee. Very handy!

The final check gives you information about other things to consider in your application. It will check for any offensive words, protected items (e.g. Arbroath smokie), protected symbols, flags and crests. It will also tell you what the tool won’t check for (AI isn’t perfect after all). Now you’re ready for your results.


Getting (Artificially) Intelligent Results

The results will appear as the top 5 similar marks, although this can be expanded to a top 500. Any mark in the results can be selected individually, and you can download your results as a pdf.


Using AI, the pre-check tool quickly identifies registered marks that might be similar to yours, giving you a better idea if your mark might be opposed, and who might oppose it. Not only that, it’s giving you information about the different types of marks you can register and helping you understand classification systems without any prior knowledge. All this is giving you a better chance of success with your application.


The Future of Business

What this example shows us is that AI can be used to have a positive impact on your business planning, but also on how your business might work, and for your potential customers. We’ve identified free online learning that you can use to stay ahead using our Power Up Directory. Hopefully you’ll see now AI is more science fact than science fiction, and that it really can help you succeed.


Alistair McCafferty Bain is Information Officer at BIPC Glasgow

Alistair McCafferty Bain

Working From Home (in the Mitchell Library)

23rd April 2021


Unusually, for many, Monday morning can’t come quickly enough. It’s when we can finally emerge, bleary-eyed, from our homes, taking our first few faltering steps back into a world illuminated by ‘non-essential’ businesses reopening throughout Scotland.

As many of us prepare to return to our workplace, small business owners who work from home might not have that option. That’s where BIPC Glasgow can help.

From Tuesday 27th April we’ll be re-opening our doors and are delighted to be in a position to offer space to those of you seeking solace from your home office. Or guest room. Or dining room. Or kitchen. Or bedroom. Or sofa. Or, let’s be honest, your family or flatmates!

As before, there will be a few changes in terms of access to the Mitchell Library and how we move around the building so I recommend having a look at our FAQ page to see how we’ll be operating for now. Our opening hours will be 11am-3pm, Tuesday - Saturday.

You’ll be given a desk with free access to our Wi-Fi, and a separate networked PC that allows you to access our full range of online business resources and printing facilities.

Unlike at home, you’ll be left in peace. If you’re familiar with the business resources we’ll leave you to it. If not, we can arrange for an information officer or librarian to give you some 1-2-1 guidance. Just let us know what suits you best when you book to make sure the right support is available.


So, whether you’re looking to start or grow your business, research a market or find out more about your business’s most valuable assets (in particular, how to identify and protect your intellectual property), get in touch and we can help you do that all under one roof (ours, rather than yours – although, we can do it under yours too if you prefer with our free webinars and online resources).

In addition to helping support you run your business from our home, we can also offer help to those looking to carry out general business and intellectual property research, academic or otherwise, as well as providing access to information for anyone looking to start or change their career.

Hand sanitising stations are positioned at the entrance/exit at Granville Street. In line with government legislation, we’ll also ask you to wear a facemask for the duration of your stay, unless you’re exempt.

To book a workplace and research station call us on 0141 287 2999 (from Tuesday 27th April) or email


Tony Lyon is Librarian at BIPC Glasgow

How Does Your Business Grow?

9th April 2021


For gardeners, March is an exciting month. Despite the probability of wind, rain, snow and sun (often on the same day) spring will reliably… err… spring, bringing with it blooming bulbs and a breeze carrying floral scents and birdsong. It’s also the month most gardeners start to sow their seeds, which is precisely what I did a couple of weeks ago.

Growing vegetables and flowers from seed can be a fun and rewarding thing to do but, as you can see from the picture below, as we move further into April, it’s not an exact science. All these seeds were sown on the same day, yet one burst onto the scene first, another germinated slower but is now starting to catch up, and the third still hasn’t got out the ground yet.


The more green-fingered amongst you will shout, but those are two different species of seedlings I can see, Tony! They’ll germinate at different speeds! And, of course, you’re right! Head straight to the top of the gardening class. The two black pots have tomato seeds planted in them, can you tell what’s growing in the red pot?

Despite the tomato seeds coming from the same pack, only one germinated (Sungold, for those who are interested. I find they’re perfect for salads and make a mouth-wateringly sweet tomato sauce… I digress..). I made sure I used good quality compost and placed the trays on a sunny windowsill inside a propagator and yet one of the two tomato seeds still failed to get going.

Whether it’s gardening or starting (or growing) a business, research is key. There’s many things you can do to try and get your business off the ground.

BIPC Glasgow can help. Whilst, as with growing seeds, we can’t guarantee success, we can help you access information through our online resources that will improve your chances of germination. COBRA helps take the spark of an idea and turn it into a seed. We can help you access market research data that will help you decide whether the soil is fertile enough in which to sprout your idea. And we can also help you access information that could help your business grow using the FAME database to create targeted sales and marketing lists.

We have lots more besides (plant food, if you like). Our expert in residence sessions will help your business bloom. We can also help you to identify and protect your intellectual property (often your garden’s most vibrant flowers). And, like my poly tunnel, we can help you to do this all ‘under one roof’.

We’re a one-stop-shop for business and intellectual property support, so drop us a line at to find out more and we’ll help you plant some seeds that will hopefully grow into something tasty come summer.



Tony Lyon is Librarian at BIPC Glasgow

Endings and Legacies

26th March 2021

Our Information Officer, Kavan, takes a look at the success of the Digital Skills sessions which were part of our Power Up project.

It’s been a year since Scotland went into lockdown. Across the country we all packed up our desks and then went to work from home for what we thought would be a few weeks. When I look back at my own emails from the time, it is evident that I thought this situation would be over in short order; I talk a lot about what we are going to do “when we get back in May”. Of course, we were not back in May but now, a year later, we are finally starting to see the light at the end of the proverbial tunnel as the vaccination programme continues and the First Minister outlines how she plans to reopen the country.

As I write this, lockdown isn’t the only thing that is coming to an end. BIPC Glasgow’s flagship project, Power Up is also approaching its end date.

In the almost two years since it began, Power Up has helped hundreds of small business owners across Glasgow improve their digital skills, increase customer engagement, get their businesses online, and digitise their back office functions.



Central to the success of Power Up was a series of Digital Skills Network sessions delivered by Sooz Young from Technology Coaching UK. I helped support many of the workshops, which covered almost every aspect of getting your business online; from social media use, to digital advertising, and search engine optimisation. Due to the pandemic the workshops were delivered through Zoom and, despite the reservations about online video conferencing technology I expressed in a previous blog, Sooz and her team were impressive at making a success of the medium and reached many more people than they might have even if the library were open.

Here is just some of the feedback we received for Sooz and her workshops:

Tutor was excellent. Loved the break up rooms. Increased my knowledge and my confidence to move things on.”

I really like the structure and I find it very informative. You manage to condense a lot of information in just 2 hours and not only this, but there is always a chance for networking. Thanks!

Absolutely brilliant! I learned loads and although I'm new to this felt included, supported and inspired

Although the Power Up project is ending soon, its influence won’t. It is going to have a legacy embedded into the BIPC service and will help small business owners for years to come. The Digital Technology and Skills Support Directory (a list of where you can access free training on almost any digital business subject you can imagine) is going to remain and will soon be expanded. The Power Up Guides, which can help you with cloud computing, selling online and more will also remain and our ever popular Digital Marketing Expert in Residence sessions will continue.

And finally, we have a brand new Power Up inspired workshop coming soon, ‘Resources for Moving Your Business Online’. This session will look at the steps and activities required to get your business online and how to make the most of the BIPC Glasgow, and Power Up, resources. 

But don’t forget that we do more than workshops. You can contact us for support at or via Twitter @bipcglasgow. Lockdown and our Power Up project might be ending but you’ll always be able to Power Up your business by turning to BIPC Glasgow for help!


Kavan Stafford is Information Officer at BIPC Glasgow

Who Watches the Copyright?

12th March 2021

Welcome back to our blog and this time our Information Officer, Iain, looks at copyright and comics.


Watchmen is a DC Comics property that started life as a limited series monthly comic book from 1986. It was created by writer Alan Moore and artist Dave Gibbons. The graphic novel was published in 1987 and has never been out of print since. Over the last decade it has proven to be one of DC Comics’ most valuable properties with a blockbuster movie and an award-winning TV series having been licensed. But Watchmen is more than just a valuable property. It is also a copyright lesson writ large.

In 1983 DC Comics acquired the intellectual property rights to Charlton Comics’ line of superhero characters when the failing company was on its way out of the business. Writer Alan Moore, who had written other titles for DC, submitted a proposal based on these characters which DC were keen on. Realising that his story would likely render some of these characters unusable in the future, DC asked him to change them to new creations, and so he did. He created completely new characters based on the old properties. And there in lay the issue. Who owned the copyright?

Moore had created these characters under American copyright law, specifically under a work for hire deal, which ultimately meant that he was hired to create these characters and therefore his employers at DC owned the rights. Moore and Gibbons (who came up with the way the characters looked) were offered 8% of issue and book sales. As part of the deal they were told that if the book ever went out of print then a year later the rights to the characters would revert to them. Eventually, Moore realised how meaningless this caveat was. DC never let the property go out of print. The relationship between the author and the company soured and he hasn’t worked for them since.

DC Comics has continued to profit from the work over the years and Moore has asked for his name to be removed from those film and TV adaptations I mentioned earlier.

Happily, although the big two comics companies, Marvel and DC, continue to own the copyright on any new characters created by the writers that work for them, the experience of Moore and other creators has led to the creation of Image Comics, a company that ensures the creators of the properties they promote and sell retain full ownership of the works. A modern success story.

Why am I telling you this? Well, it’s important to remember the kind of deal you are working under whether you are commissioning some work or creating it; whether it’s an artwork, logo or website for a company. It’s important to pay attention to who, ultimately, will own the copyright, who will have the legal right to reproduce or licence the creation for other usage, because you never know how successful something may end up being. Make sure these thoughts are part of your creative process whenever you produce something for another party. And when you commission work, make sure it’s clear in the contract if you intend to own the copyright, especially if you want to reproduce the work in other formats. Learn from Watchmen.

And don’t even get me started on Superman…


Iain Reilly is Information Officer at BIPC Glasgow


A Look Back at 2020 

23rd December 2020

Well, that was a strange year. Who saw that coming?

Seems a bit ironic. Irony, however, is not a word we’d choose to associate with events that have unfolded over the past 12 months. The pandemic, and resulting lockdown (‘pandemic’ and ‘lockdown’ making the Collins word of 2020 top 10 list), changed everyone’s lives profoundly and, like everyone else, we had to adapt quickly. For us, it was about changing the way we delivered our service to ensure we continued to provide support to people when they needed it the most.

Despite the Mitchell Library closing on March 13th, our BIPC enquiry service continued and from the 14th March we were answering questions from business owners trying to find support that could help them navigate a period of huge uncertainty.

As an information service, our role is to help people access information that will allow them to make an informed decision. Following lockdown, and regular announcements from the UK and Scottish governments, we recognised the importance of pulling together a myriad of information into one place. By the end of week 1 in lockdown, we created a Coronavirus Business Support page to do just that.

Despite the bleak outlook, lockdown offered an opportunity for some. We were contacted by many people considering taking the plunge and starting their own business. Our eResources came into their own. There’s no quick route to starting a business. Research is key and, thankfully, resources are something we’re not short of. We subscribe to them so you don’t have to. If you’d like to know more, drop us a line.

Although we had to cancel all the workshops we delivered onsite, our full program will be delivered online from January 2021. In addition to our existing (revamped) workshops, we’re excited to announce a new series of online digital skills workshops. From developing an effective web presence, to getting noticed on social media, our Digital Skills Network series, as part of our Power Up project,  is sure to offer something to anyone looking to improve their digital skills and take advantage of the opportunities online trading provides. Find out more and book your place.

And we didn’t stop there. Our ever-popular ‘Expert in Residence’ sessions expanded during 2020 as well. Creation IP continue to provide free half-hour intellectual property legal advice sessions and, in addition, we’ve welcomed on board Chartered Accountant in Residence sessions from Parris & McNally, Legal Adviser in Residence sessions from Gilson Gray LLP and Digital Marketing Expert in Residence sessions with Jamie McCoy.

If any of this is news to you then I suspect you’re unfamiliar with our Twitter account. 2020 saw an increase in our Twitter output culminating in a massive 150 tweets in one action-packed ‘Start-Up Day’ in November by our information officer Kavan. Why not give us a follow? It’s the best place to keep up-to-date with our offer and learn when we’ll be reopening our doors in 2021.

Whilst none of us can be sure what 2021 holds, rest-assured we’ll be here to help whether you’re looking to take the first steps in starting your business, expand an existing business, or learn how to identify and protect your intellectual property. We look forward to welcoming you back into the Mitchell soon, but in the meantime, on behalf of the whole BIPC Glasgow team, I wish you a happy, safe and recharging Christmas.


Tony Lyon is Librarian at BIPC Glasgow

The Love of Reading & Mindset

11 December 2020

This week we don’t have a blog we have a podcast! Our Partnership and Digital Engagement Manager, Ruth Hunter, is the guest on’s podcast to discuss how reading has helped her to develop a positive mindset. From The Jaguar to Harry Potter. Listen to her story


Ruth Hunter is Partnership & Digital Engagement Manager at BIPC Glasgow

‘Blended Normal’: Reflections on #BIPCStartUpDay 2020

26 November 2020

Last week saw our annual BIPC Start Up Day held a little differently from previous years and Kavan, our information officer, reflects here on the changes.

BIPC Start Up Day 2020 was a week ago now and it felt like it was time for a little bit of reflection. I think it’s fair to say that it wasn’t the SUD that we at BIPC Glasgow, or you, expected. Instead of the events being inside the historic Mitchell Library they were on our computer screens and instead of spending my day in the Mitchell with the rest of the BIPC Glasgow team trying to keep a very complicated (but rewarding) day on track I was at home in my spare room, staring at my laptop screen in the slowly dimming November light..

But then, as far as life in general goes, almost nothing has happened as it was supposed to this year. 2020 has been the year of COVID-19, yes, but it has also been the year of cancellations. In the past nine months I, like others, have had to cancel foreign trips, nights out, birthdays, concerts, trips to the theatre or the cinema and more. So while experiencing SUD 2020 through my laptop screen was not ideal, it’s also fair to say that it was more than I expected. With so much cancelled this year I had thought that, surely, SUD 2020 would be another casualty, especially as we began to move into new waves of government restrictions.


SUD 2020 begins on my laptop screen compared to 2019 with Business Librarian Tony presenting his Trademark Starter Pack session

Thankfully, thanks to the efforts of BIPC staff all around the UK, the day was able to go ahead with a mix of live and pre-recorded elements on the new BIPC tv platform. And what a day it was. There were some fantastic talks from BIPC staff, entrepreneurs, and even representatives from the companies that make the online resources so well used by all our staff and users.

The elephant in the room was that the networking aspect that so many BIPC users find so useful was absent but I would suggest that, despite this loss, we gained something else. Never before have attendees in Glasgow been able to view all the best events in London, Manchester, Hull and beyond. More than ever we became the BIPC network and we all benefited from that. I certainly attended events, and learned things, that I wouldn’t have otherwise and I hope you did too.

So, as far away as it seems right now, when SUD 2021 comes I hope we can have a big shindig in the Mitchell Library again but I also hope we don’t forget what we learned this year about the value that remote webinars can give to us all. We all want to go back to normal after COVID but let’s hope it’s a normal with all the best parts of the past nine months included into it. A blended normal, if you like.

In the meantime we are just going to have to do our best with remote working and learning and get as much out of this unsettling time as we can. Luckily, BIPC Glasgow is here to help with that from our Business Information Resources, our #PowerUp project and, of course, our enquiry service

Recordings from SUD 2020 will be made available soon so remember to check our Twitter @BIPCGlasgow for updates, information about events and to read our live tweets of various #BIPCStartUpDay 2020 events if you missed them. See you next year (fingers crossed)!


Kavan Stafford is Information Officer at BIPC Glasgow

Kavan Stafford

Shh, don’t tell anyone about this blog post

4 September 2020

This week, our information officer, Alistair, lifts the lid on a little known type of intellectual property protection that all businesses can benefit from but most are not aware of.

As a youngster, one of the things you’re told not to do by grown-ups is keep secrets, so imagine my surprise when (as an adult) I discovered it’s something being actively encouraged by experts. All the team at BIPC Glasgow have made the pilgrimage down to Newport to visit the home of intellectual property (IP) in the UK, the Intellectual Property Office (IPO). It’s there we learnt how to protect your creative assets from the experts, including keeping secrets, or to give them their full name, trade secrets. But how can not telling people about your business benefit it?


A brand built on secrets

Let’s put this in context with something you’re more familiar with, IRN-BRU. This brand is synonymous with the best of Scottish creativity. The name itself has changed through the years, launching as Iron Brew in 1901, stopping production during WW2, and re-launching as IRN-BRU in 1947 due to new regulations which meant food labelling must be ‘literally true’. This wasn’t because the drink doesn’t contain iron (made from girders if you believe the famous slogan), but because it wasn’t brewed.

AG Barr have used this unique spelling to create registered trade marks still in use today, but what about the recipe that forced this change of name? Well that’s a trade secret that only three people in the world know. This strategy of keeping the recipe secret has been part of their success in becoming Scotland’s number one soft drink, not allowing their idea to be copied by competitors.

Do I own trade secrets?

You might be saying “that’s all very well I’m not making a soft drink”, but secret recipes are just one form of trade secret. They also cover customer lists, pricing strategies, manufacturing processes, software algorithms and more. So how do you define what can be considered a trade secret? The World Intellectual Property Organisation gives three considerations:

• They must contain confidential, commercially valuable information

• Must only be known to a small group of people

• Reasonable steps must be in place to keep them confidential

Trade secrets are unregistered and can last indefinitely if not publicly disclosed. This is something that could be difficult to manage outside your business, but non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) can be drafted fairly simply to keep information confidential when dealing with third parties. The IPO have a great range of templates to help you with this. Trade secrets can also be bought and sold in the same way as other IP assets and add commercial value to your company as well as giving you a competitive edge.

Tips to keep things confidential

So if you run a business, or even if you’re planning to, there’s a good chance you own trade secrets. Here are some simple steps you can take to start integrating them into your business planning:

• Identify any confidential information that has commercial value

• Manage who has access

• Put protection in place such as passwords

• Make sure contracts contain confidentiality clauses

• Use NDAs when dealing with third parties

Keeping a secret was so much easier when you were young! If you need more tips or support then we’re here to help, along with our partners at Creation IP who offer free 30 minute appointments (currently online) to discuss your IP in a confidential environment. Just email us at for more information, or join our Ask Me Anything About IP Twitter live session on 16th September 2020.


Alistair McCafferty Bain is Information Officer at BIPC Glasgow

Alistair McCafferty Bain

Sound and vision

28 August 2020

We’re not quite there yet, but hopefully we’ll see you at BIPC Glasgow again soon. In the meantime our Information Officer, Kavan, looks back at the joy of online meetings.

“I can’t see you,”

“What about now?”

“No, I can hear you but I can’t see you,”

“What about now?”

“What? I can’t hear you!”

This is a (slightly edited) transcript from a meeting I was in last month but I suspect it may remind you of some of your own experiences. Ever since the country largely shut down at the end of March the way we worked changed. Suddenly the idea of a group of people sitting round a table having a meeting was a thing of the past. Business plans for the summer and beyond had to change.

But the changes to how we interacted with people didn’t stop at work. We were no longer able to see our families, our friends, to go to concerts or conferences. Even Glasgow Libraries’ own Aye Write Festival had to be largely cancelled.

All of these events and interactions were replaced with video conferencing. Suddenly the names of apps and companies we had never heard of before, Zoom and Teams and Webex, were on everybody’s lips. Our computers were full of new programmes and we all had to get used to a whole new method of communication and a whole new way of doing business.

Video calling existed before the pandemic of course but never quite took on the ubiquity suggested by a thousand futuristic films and television shows until now and I have to say, after five months of conversations like the one at the start of this blog, I can understand why.

Video calls


The problem is ultimately one of technology. In the best of conditions, with a stable internet connection and an excellent camera and microphone, video calling can be an excellent substitute for face-to-face communication.

The problem is, as we’ve all discovered, that the best of conditions are hard to come by. Most of us are working from home with iffy internet connections more designed for updating our Facebook pages than for making business deals or chairing planning meetings. This means that, especially when we are sharing those connections with our partners, children or flatmates, the conditions are often far from ideal. The result is plenty of blurry pictures, spotty audio or even calls being dropped entirely.

This was especially tough for me and the team in the BIPC. One of the most rewarding parts of our work with small businesses and entrepreneurs in Glasgow is our one-to-one meetings and workshops. The unreliable nature of video calls made continuing these during lock-down impossible though we continue to offer our enquiry service as well as full access to all of our amazing online resources.

We know, however, that none of this is an adequate substitute for seeing our lovely faces in the flesh. That’s why we’re very pleased to say that our plans for reopening the Mitchell and beginning to resume our service (in an appropriately physically-distanced manner) are well underway and news on that front will be coming very soon. We can’t wait to see you and hear you without those pesky computer screens in the way.

Until that day comes keep checking our Twitter, keep reading our blog and never ever hesitate to email us with any questions. We’ll see you soon.


Kavan Stafford is Information Officer at BIPC Glasgow

Kavan Stafford

From swimming costumes to caulking tools

14 August 2020

Our Partnership and Digital Engagement Manager, Ruth Hunter, returns this week to share her thoughts on the importance of making use of online marketplaces. You’ll also get a little insight into some of her recent shopping habits!

As a wee girl growing up in Lanark in the 70s and 80s I would never have believed that I would now be spending my time shopping on a mobile phone – and I love it! Online shopping has been one of the greatest innovations during my lifetime, offering an explosion in the range of products available, quick payment and delivery options and most importantly the facility to buy 24/7 – the world is indeed, my shopping oyster!

Amazon is my go-to platform for everything. During lockdown I have used their services to purchase:

• Bluetooth ear buds –urgently required to satisfy my need for having a hands free music listening option whilst doing the dishes

• A handheld clothes steamer – just like many others I have spent hours organising and re-organising wardrobes, my clothes are now in pristine condition and steamed to perfection

• A slightly larger swimming costume for a (fingers-crossed) mini break in Scotland to celebrate a looming big birthday

• Sewing machine oil – required by my mother to support her endeavour to make the perfect face mask. I am now the proud owner of a Joan Rankin original, made from material featuring kiwi fruit. I have been compared to a ninja turtle.

I have also spent hours comparing the pros and cons of various caulking tools. This purchase is still under consideration – small shower room, big job – more research required!

Online shopping

If online shopping has been a game changer for me it has also been a game changer for many businesses, changing the way they trade and engage with their customers. For retailers to thrive, having an online presence and understanding how to maximise the e-commerce cycle is a must if they want to sell to consumers like me.

Using the services of an online marketplace is one strategy a business can adopt to sell online. Online marketplaces like Amazon, Ebay, Ratuken and ASOS offer retailers an opportunity to reach a wider audience at a relatively low cost and can be a great way to test product demand. If this is a route you are considering it is important to select the right platform for your product, assess the level of competition in your category and review the marketplace’s terms and conditions.

To find out more about online marketplaces take a look at Tamebay for the latest marketplace news, Trading via Amazon and eBay Trader factsheets from COBRA (Glasgow Library card number required) and our Power Up Selling Online guide.

For more information on how Power Up can help you develop digital skills for business please visit our webpages or email us at

Power Up is an initiative by Good Things Foundation with the financial support of J.P. Morgan.


Ruth Hunter is Partnership & Digital Engagement Manager - Power Up project

Ruth Hunter

In a nutshell - A day in the lockdown life of a virtual nutrition coach

7 August 2020

In this week’s blog, Dec McLaughlin of Dec McLaughlin Nutrition describes what an average day during lockdown has been like for him, working 9-5 whilst running his own business as a nutrition coach. Find out more about how BIPC Glasgow supported his business development in Our Stories

6.20am - Alarm bells

My alarm fires off sometime between 6.20 and 6.50 depending on how early I’ve made it to bed(!) and time for my morning coffee and vitamins.

6.50am - Morning routine

To live up to the wellness hype of being a nutrition coach, I’ve somewhat stuck to a fairly consistent routine. This involves:

● 15 press-ups, squats and a couple sun salutations to wake me up
● A few pages of two self help books (The Chimp Paradox & David Goggins my current indulgences)
● 5 minutes of journaling (set intentions, 3 things I’m grateful for, 3 things to make today a success)

7.20am - Vitamin D

This is a precious hour for me. I live in central Edinburgh by the Meadows which is a stunning location for a morning stroll. During this time I like to stick on a Headspace meditation and then an audiobook. On a rare sunny day, this is bliss!

8.20am - Morning workout

Depending on the day, this could be a whole host of different workouts. My flatmate is a personal trainer and has managed to ‘borrow’ some large dumbbells and 25kg plates, I suspect he may start charging membership fees!

9.00am - WFH part 1

I should point out that being a nutrition coach is my after-hours side ‘hustle’ to use the technical term. During the day, I work in Business Development for a local tech startup (BackHug). Our purpose is to make sore backs a thing of the past by helping sufferers with our innovative back therapy devices! This encompasses my 9-5 hours and is an enthralling ride from start to finish. No two days are alike I can assure you.

Nutritional lunch

12.50am - Lunch!

Once I’m ready to eat, I typically join the team for a Zoom lunch. We’re a lively bunch and giggles are guaranteed.

2pm - WFH part 2

A repeat of the morning and I aim to wrap up my (first) working day for 5pm. Plenty of stretching and BackHug sessions in between! Having also invested in a gym-ball as my office ‘chair’ it’s served me well.

5pm - Stretching the legs

A full day at my desk calls for more fresh air. I’ll tend to be musical in my audio choice here - Kygo’s latest album a consistent favourite of mine.

6pm Miscellaneous

After a short break and getting back into the zone, it’s now time for what I call the ‘other work’. It would be misleading to claim that this is a set structure, and here’s a few activities I do:
● Nutrition: often working on the business to level-up my content, update the website and most importantly take care of my clients.
● Startup Grind Scotland: We host virtual meet-ups for tech entrepreneurs in Scotland and this includes plenty of event management, marketing and emails!
● Kickboxing: On Tuesdays and most Saturdays I enjoy a 1hr kickboxing class. Perfect for releasing any stress and for learning a new skill.

9pm Chill time

I’ve been a sucker for YouTube in lockdown and the same goes for Zoom quizzes. More recently, I’ve caught up with friends for a socially distanced drink!

10.20pm Wind-down

I try to switch off my phone’s notifications here, stick a candle on and relax for 1hr pre-bed. Time to prepare for tomorrow and another day in lockdown!


Dec McLaughlin is a virtual nutrition coach at Dec McLaughlin Nutrition

Dec McLaughlin

Viral Dances Mean Viral Businesses

17 July 2020

This week our information officer, Kavan, explains why he thinks the clock is ticking for businesses who still haven’t woken up to the potential of engaging with their customers (young and old) on various social media platforms. He may (or may not) have agreed to post a TikTok dance video on our Twitter feed if enough of you read his blog. The more who do, the better the chance I have to convince him.

I'm going to start this blog post with a confession and a suggestion.

Confession: I am twenty-six years old and I have a Tik Tok account.

Suggestion: If you run a business you may want to get one too.

I first heard of Tik Tok last October when I was in Newport for the IPO's IP Masterclass. I was eating a hotel fry up breakfast and listening to a news round-up podcast through my earphones while trying to avoid eye contact with anyone who would want me to speak before I had properly woken up. The podcast briefly spoke about Tik Tok, explaining that it was a new social media app aimed at teenagers. Not for me then.

Over the following months I saw more and more of Tik Tok. It began to appear in television adverts and I was forced to view my niece's various attempts at the viral dance videos. Despite this, I didn't consider joining myself until the coronavirus lock-down. While I was working from home throughout to deliver the BIPC Glasgow enquiry service, not being allowed to leave the house in my spare time meant I rapidly exhausted all that Netflix and Amazon Prime had to offer. I even grew tired of the endless scrolling of Twitter. It was then that I decided to try Tik Tok, expecting to delete it almost immediately when I inevitably found I was the oldest person there.

To my surprise I found that Tik Tok was not only the host to videos made by people of all ages, including many celebrities, but companies were starting to find their feet in using it as an advertising platform. By making use of the site's niche - easy to replicate viral dances and songs - many companies were taking the opportunity to advertise to the 800 million monthly users. Tik Tok is also starting to reach out to companies to help with advertising, in particular through its creator marketplace.

People using multiple social media accounts

But why should you use Tik Tok when it has similar benefits (cheap advertising, the opportunity to reach a huge number of users, an algorithm that rewards views) to, for example, Facebook when Facebook has 1.62 billion daily users worldwide? The answer lies in the demographics mentioned in that podcast I heard all those months ago. While Facebook's fastest growing group is individuals aged 65 or older, less and less young people are using it. In 2015, 71% of teens had an account. This has dropped to 51% today. And where have they gone? To Tik Tok where two thirds of users are teenagers or in their early twenties. So if you want to advertise to young people, or you want to raise brand awareness across the board, Tik Tok is fast becoming as important as Facebook or Twitter.

Of course this doesn't mean that you should abandon Facebook and move all your advertising to Tik Tok but, in 2020, it is vital that you have a social media presence across as many channels as possible in order to segment your audience and ensure your brand has a broad appeal.

I can already hear some of you groan about the difficulties of getting to know yet another social media platform but help is at hand. Our Power Up project can provide plenty of support in that regard from free online courses to one-to-one sessions with our Digital Marketing Expert in Residence.

So as well as tweeting, Facebooking and Instagramming (is that a word? It is now...), start getting limbered up for those Tik Tok dances. It's never too late.


Kavan Stafford is Information Officer at BIPC Glasgow

Kavan Stafford

Waiting for a train

10 July 2020

As restrictions continue to ease our Principal Librarian, Rosemary, takes time to reflect on some of the things she missed during lockdown and others she embraced.

I never thought I'd say this but I miss my commute to work. Adapting to working from home came as a shock for most of us but I was surprised that I missed the daily train journey. The usual hassles aside, being able to forget about everything for a short time every day to read a book - diving into another world or another person's idea of this one - is therapeutic. The doorway effect notwithstanding, travelling along the hall to the kitchen every day instead, not so much.

An upside of working from home however has been being able to listen to the radio during the day. Playing along with a certain daily pop quiz has increased my knowledge of random pop facts such as ‘What song did Flash and the Pan have a hit with?’ I’m sure it will come in handy. Also, the weekly screen time report, usually a reminder to 'go-and-do-something-less-boring-instead' is now, thanks to video meetings, evidence of time spent working (Your Honour).

BIPC Glasgow Homepage

The suddenness of lockdown made making everything still accessible a challenge to start with. My immediate task was to ensure as much of our offer was available from home as possible and that our online resources were still available to our customers. Many of our Business Resources were already available remotely but for those that weren’t I looked to our suppliers to see if we could accommodate access during lockdown. Thankfully the result is that our customers can still access resources such as FAME by contacting us directly for details. These resources have also been adapting by regularly updating material to reflect the situation such as COBRA’s Sector update on Arts, Culture and Theatre (Coronavirus Update) or like British Standards, remind us of more general organisational resilience.

With our buildings closed we have been unable to deliver our regular workshops and 1:1s so we looked to see what more could be added to our webpages to assist our customers during this time. We created a specific Coronavirus Business Support page with key information and links to support agencies as well as signposting to useful webinars and of course our Enquiry service is still available via email.

Our Business Information Resources page was created to include, not just the business databases, but additionally guides - adapted from BIPC to reflect the resources we offer - and further sources of IP information, something we would normally signpost people to during our workshops. The Power Up directory also went online - Power Up is our project to support development of digital business skills - highlighting online courses and support to help you run and grow your business. Take the survey at the start and measure your progress. We have also added Our Stories to highlight the local entrepreneurs who have benefitted from using BIPC Glasgow, so you don’t just need to take our word for what we do.

With the news that there will be a phased reopening of Glasgow Libraries I know I’ll have to wait a bit longer before I return to my daily commute and while online activity doesn’t replace the normal interaction with our customers and partners it is a lifeline in times like these to keep us informed and connected until we can see everyone again in real life.


Rosemary O'Hare is Principal Librarian at The Mitchell Library

Rosemary O'Hare


Every day is a school day

3 July 2020

This week…well…this week’s blog speaks for itself! Our Information Officer, Iain, shares his experience of balancing home-life with work-life during lockdown. I’m sure many of you will have experienced a similar journey.

Thank goodness that’s all over, eh? No, not the virus, or the lockdown measures, or the social distancing, or the staying at home so much, no, I mean the schoolwork! The school holidays are finally upon us and that hard juggle of the kids’ work with my own work has come to an end with minimal tantrums from either side. No longer do I need to think about examples of figurative literary techniques or whether the calculation inside the bracket comes before the one outside it, now I can concentrate more on my own work here at BIPC Glasgow and the wider library. But looking back, how did I survive it at all?

Like most of us I suppose I’ve learned how adaptable I have to be to work well through this. I wasn’t prepared for it at all. This situation was new to all of us. Having spent my adulthood working in libraries, travelling to work and delivering the vast majority of services face-to-face, only to have that suddenly and dramatically change took a bit of getting used to. I quickly realised that the nature of my role had changed quite significantly and I had to focus on delivering what I could from a distance. It was a real challenge and one we’ll all no doubt continue to face as the months of 2020 roll on. But that’s something we’ve been used to here at the BIPC. You never know what an enquiry may throw at you. You have to be flexible and adaptable. With our enquiry service remaining open throughout we’ve had to field our fair share of interesting questions.


Working from home

Alongside learning new methods to do maths – as my old methods, regardless of whether they reached the correct answer or not, were always dismissed out of hand – I had to learn how to use Zoom and WebEx. And have the patience to smile and mute my microphone in order to deliver parental wrath to my new work colleagues whenever the kids realised they had an audience and decided that would be the best time to perform – the least they could do was give me half an hour of uninterrupted screen-time in return for all the wonderful lunches I was making them. Giving up my office PC for my rickety old steam-powered laptop that had to be given an hour’s notice to power up was a poor trade indeed. No doubt tech issues were the thing that plagued us all the most. Something we’re hoping to help people address with our Power Up directory, helping businesses with vital digital learning.

What happens when we return? Personally, I’ll have some tough, philosophical questions to ask myself – do I stop making my work colleagues lunch? Do I start? If they don’t get work tasks done on time do I send them to their rooms? Do I stop asking my colleagues if they’ve brushed their teeth or made their bed?

Whatever happens, it’s clear that another learning curve is just around the corner. The landscape will have changed. The demands of the general public and our customer bases may be quite different to what we’ve been used to, what we’ve dealt with in the past and what we’ve been prepared for previously. We’ll need to adapt to new customers and new customer needs. We may need to think about this pandemic resulting in a new audience for our businesses. BIPC Glasgow will be here to support local businesses in finding those new audiences, retaining and reminding our old ones we’re still here and to kick start those new ideas and how to protect them.

Turns out every day is indeed a school day.


Iain Riley is Information Officer at BIPC Glasgow

Ian Riley




26 June 2020

We can sometimes find ourselves using our skills and knowledge at the most unexpected times. Take this week, for example. Following the announcement by the Scottish Government that we can form an ‘extended household group’ I found myself watching (the original) Ghostbusters with my 11 year old niece. I’d forgotten what an entertaining popcorn movie it is, with snappy dialogue, fun special effects, and great soundtrack. By the end of it we were singing that song and agreeing that it would be cool to be a ghost-buster.

Despite being in ‘Uncle’ mode, I found myself slipping effortlessly into ‘Work’ mode and (possibly because I often try to convince her my job is ‘cool’) fired up the laptop and logged onto one of our free online business resources called COBRA.

Although (somewhat sadly) COBRA doesn’t have a Business Opportunity Profile for ‘Ghost-Busting’ specifically it does have lots of others and I knew we’d find something suitable. I wanted to use COBRA to show my niece how we could start turning her idea of being a ghost-buster into something real. It would be fun, I assured her. It would also count towards her home schooling. That sealed the deal.

MBP323 – Paranormal Investigator’ had lots of useful information. Okay, it didn’t say where we could source proton packs or an Ectomobile but it did give an outline of what you can expect to face as a Paranormal Investigator. It provided links to paranormal societies, and ways income can be generated beyond hunting ghosts.


Image for trade mark number UK00001367199


The opportunity profile gave links to the Association for the Scientific Study of Anomalous Phenomena (ASSAP). They’re a paranormal society who provide training, news and events for paranormal investigators. It also had a link to the British UFO Research Association (BUFORA – my niece didn’t find that acronym as funny for some reason). They provide an online course in UFO investigation as well as publishing guides and advice for UFO hunters. There was also lots of market research information, amongst other things, in the paranormal field (presumably haunted), key to creating a successful business plan.

That led us neatly into the factsheets (beneficial to any business) that COBRA is also stuffed full of. I showed her how we could use it to write a business plan and formulate a marketing strategy. I stopped short of opening the COBRA factsheets on VAT registration and intellectual property (is ‘Ghostbusters’ trade marked? Yes! Although, perhaps ironically, The Real Ghostbusters logo – registered under Class 29 {mainly foodstuff} is now dead). I didn’t want to overwhelm her.

We were writing down notes and making plans… or at least I was. My page was full of considered thoughts, ideas and mind-maps - hers was full of drawings of Slimer and the ‘No Ghost’ logo.

She looked at me admiring her drawings and said she didn’t really believe in ghosts, but hoped I’d had a nice afternoon. She asked if we could go for a cycle the next time I was free.

At BIPC Glasgow we don’t have a Slimer, an Ectomobile, or catchy soundtrack (suggestions welcome) - but if lockdown has given you time to think about the possibility of turning a business idea into something more real… who ya gonna call?


Tony Lyon is Librarian at BIPC Glasgow

Tony Lyon

Social Enterprise: Finding the meaning behind your business

19 June 2020

I’m still on a blog sabbatical so this week, our Information Officer Alistair takes the reins and tells you why Social Enterprises are vitally important to the local community - particularly during troubled times.

One word you may have heard more recently in the business community is resilience. This is something everyone should consider when starting up. One business model has resilience built into its core, the social enterprise.

Learning from the community

Although I knew about the term it wasn’t until last year that I began to understand what it really meant. This journey started with the Social Enterprise Academy Growing Enterprising Communities course. I learnt that social enterprises share a lot in common with private companies; they must be trading, they are often registered, and are distinct from the public sector. Where they differ is the asset lock, with all profits reinvested back into supporting a social or environmental cause or growing the enterprise. This is all brilliantly explained in the Code. What really made an impression was meeting Glasgow-based social entrepreneur Nadine Gorency, or Blanche as she’s better known, from the Govanhill Baths Trust.

Opportunity through adversity

When I met Blanche it wasn’t where I expected, in an converted snooker hall. This was a temporary home having moved from the Govanhill Baths for its refurbishment to provide a wellbeing centre for the community. This is the culmination of 19 years hard work, refusing to accept plans for closure and fighting for their social cause. This is resilience. Hearing Blanche talk about her experiences showed her passion and tenacity to motivate and empower people.

MP Alison Thewliss visits Rags to Riches Project

Blanche manages the Rags to Riches project which upcycles furniture and creates sustainable fashion. There are other facets to the Trust such as running pottery workshops and even leasing out a hairdressing space. The range of enterprises they have created shows how you can build a value-based business that offers opportunities for the community it serves.

Supporting social innovation

All this began to make me think. Working in Glasgow Libraries for the past five years I’ve met my fair share of characters who do wonderful work in the community. It’s that spirit that we want to support in the BIPC, and now I could see how our resources would be perfect for a social entrepreneur. Cobra can be used to brainstorm your business ideas, IBIS World and Fame to research the market, and Funding Online to find potential funds. Read our Social Enterprise Industry Guide and see how to get the most from our resources.

Navigating the social enterprise eco-system

New social enterprises rely on financial support and many are currently facing their own challenges brought on by the Coronavirus crisis. With so many organisations out there, it can be a little confusing at times, but we can help guide you through the social enterprise eco-system.

The Social Entperprise Eco-system Map

To get started, GSEN have a useful members directory and support agencies page that can help you connect with others. GCVS are experts at capacity building and funding applications. We can also refer you to advisors at Jobs & Business Glasgow who can offer help advice online.

If you do one thing, ask yourself… why?

A quote from Simon Sinek I heard from the course leader stuck with me from his Golden Circle: “People don't buy what you do; they buy why you do it” So whether you want better social equality, or to make this ‘Dear Green Place’ a little greener through sustainable practices, tell people why. Connect with your customers and spread your message and let us help you along the way. Email any enquiries to

Alistair McCafferty-Bain is Information Officer at BIPC Glasgow

Alistair McCafferty-Bain

A week in the life of… Rachel Jones, founder of SnapDragon Monitoring

16 June 2020

Our very first BIPC Glasgow Expert in Residence and now Ambassador, Rachel Jones of SnapDragon Monitoring has written an insightful blog over at BIPC at the British Library. She discusses the very relatable issues around a work life balance during the pandemic – definitely worth a read!


Rachel Jones is founder of SnapDragon Monitoring

Rachel Jones, founder of SnapDragon Monitoring

Patents: Protecting your inventions

12 June 2020

Another week, another guest blogger! Our Information Officer Kavan Stafford takes a light-hearted look at how you can protect your inventions.

Gloves, umbrella and a horse-propelled automobile

As you may have seen in the news recently, lock-down has inspired many a budding inventor to blow the dust off of their plans to revolutionise their chosen market. If you think you have an idea that could change the world then one of the first things you will want to do is ensure that it is as protected as possible.

The primary way to protect your inventions is through a patent application. A successful application will give you exclusive rights to your invention for a period of twenty years, providing you pay the annual renewal fees from the fifth year onwards.

However, while patents provide excellent protection for your invention, they can be an expensive route to take. With this in mind, you should consider whether your invention will make a large enough financial return to justify the outlay on the patent itself. Not everybody is so prudent and the UK patent registers are filled with weird and wonderful inventions like these:



A Horse-Propelled Automobile

Patent #GB1405575 (1975) – A Horse-Propelled Automobile

What if your car was powered by a horse? In 1975, inventor A. P. Pedrick asked himself just that question and this patent was the result. The horse is harnessed to the car and pushes it from behind. How do you get a horse to push a car, you ask? Simple. Attach a trailer full of food to the back of the car. The result? A frustrated horse but a carbon-free journey. Perhaps this idea was just ahead of its time…


A Wearable Umbrella

Patent #GB2172200 (1986) – A Wearable Umbrella

This is a patent which seems to have been made with the dreich weather of Scotland firmly in mind. Instead of wasting all that energy carrying your umbrella you can attach this one directly to your head, leaving your hands free for texting and social media. This is another idea which now seems to have been ahead of its time. If there is a better way to enforce social distancing than a gigantic umbrella on your head I haven’t seen it.



Two-Person Gloves

Patent #GB2221607 (1990) – Two-Person Gloves

It’s a problem as old as time itself. Picture the scene: a frosty Scottish winter morning and you’re out for a walk with your beau. You want to stroll hand-in-hand but those pesky gloves keep getting in the way. Well no more! With this patent , you can still touch while wearing gloves. The gloves have space for ten fingers and a cut out hole in the middle so your palms can touch like it’s still summer.


The patent process can be complicated and expensive, but we’re here to help. It’s worth doing your homework because not every invention turns into a million dollar idea. Sometimes an inventor would be well advised to take the advice of Jurassic Park’s Dr Ian Malcolm and be wary that they don’t become “so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they [...don’t] stop to think if they should.

If you’ve been using your time in lockdown to turn inspiration into reality and want to learn how to protect your ideas, email us at and we would be happy to help you on your journey.


Kavan Stafford is Information Officer at BIPC Glasgow

Kavan Stafford

Power Up - Connecting you with digital skills for business

5 June 2020

This blog isn’t all about me! There will be other regular contributors as well. We recently launched our Power-Up project, helping businesses develop their digital skills. This week, the project’s manager Ruth Hunter explains more.

Zoom or not to Zoom?

Just like millions of people across the country I have had to learn how to use new digital tools to maintain contact with family, friends and work colleagues. For me this has been a challenging and frustrating experience – “I can see you but I can’t hear you”, “I can hear you but I can’t see you”, “I can’t see you and I can’t hear you” have all been common utterances. Sound familiar?

Adopting digital solutions to keep trading has been a key focus for many businesses during the COVID 19 lockdown period with an upsurge in the number of businesses launching business websites, selling online and using contactless payment solutions to have safer transactions with their customers.

With digital for business now firmly in the spotlight, which digital skills do businesses need to develop and why? The government (DCMS 2017) has identified four core digital skills needed for sole traders and micro-businesses to flourish:

Maintaining a web presence

Having a website or social media presence can help you to build your business brand, reach a wider audience and be more responsive to your customers.

Selling online

Adopting eCommerce solutions can help you to boost sales and enter new markets. With 25 million people in the UK (LLoyds 2018 ) preferring to shop through their mobile phone, trading online needs to be considered to remain competitive.

Using the Cloud

Using cloud based software and storage solutions can help your business to reduce IT costs, protect your data and gives you the flexibility to run your business anytime, anywhere.

Digitisation of back office functions

Save time and money by using digital technology to streamline business practices including accounts, payroll, HR and customer records.


Power Up

Our Power Up aims to help you develop these skills by connecting you with appropriate digital skills and technology learning and support opportunities. To help you we have

If your are thinking about moving your business online the Getting your business online and e-Commerce sections of our Digital technology and skills support directory - by topic is a great place to start.

For more information on how Power Up can help you develop digital skills for business please visit our webpages or email us at

Power Up is an initiative by Good Things Foundation with the financial support of J.P. Morgan.


Ruth Hunter is Partnership & Digital Engagement Manager at BIPC Glasgow

Ruth Hunter

Preparing for Post-Lockdown

29 May 2020

Like many, I’m looking forward to the easing of lockdown restrictions in Scotland. It’s clear, however, that we won’t be returning to life as ‘normal’ anytime soon.

The Scottish Government this week issued guidelines for retail businesses and customers which offer a glimpse into what the world will look like post-lockdown for business owners, their employees and customers.

The guidelines are clear, if you employ staff, you shouldn’t open your business without talking to them first. Any risk assessment should be done in consultation with them, either directly or through a health and safety representative chosen by them or selected by a trade union.

The guidelines also include an operations checklist. It isn’t a ‘one-size-fits-all’ set of instructions, but is a good starting point to ensure the health and safety of you, your staff and customers are protected.

Whilst the onus is on business owners to install new safety measures to provide a safe environment to shop in we all, as customers, have a duty of care to take into account the health and safety of those around us. Many of us have experienced a change in the way we shop when visiting supermarkets, but as smaller shops begin to open during Phase 2 of the route map out of lockdown the need for greater awareness (and patience) will arise.

No matter how much we read about what to expect, the reality can often be quite different. Some reports suggest shoppers ‘may be reluctant’ to return to busier locations after remaining local for so many weeks. I can understand their concerns.

Guidance on travel from Transport Scotland

I’ve been working from home but there have been some occasions when I’ve had to travel to the Mitchell Library to carry out tasks that simply cannot be done remotely. It’s been very surreal. Despite exercising outdoors daily and visiting a supermarket weekly, it was odd being faced with a stationary train and a flashing, beeping green button for the first time. It was like hearing my alarm clock in a dream. I was aware of it and what it meant, but seemed incapable (for a moment) of putting the thought into action and pressing the button to open the door. Simple tasks I did without thought just a few weeks ago felt alien. Thankfully, there wasn’t anyone waiting, becoming impatient with my lack of action. 

Glasgow Central has had the majority of its seats removed, replaced by barriers and signs marking how people should move through the station (‘Keep Left’). This too is a strange experience and one people should prepare themselves for before their first trip into any busy station.

Transport Secretary Michael Matheson set out fresh guidance for passengers in a statement in Holyrood this week advising people how to travel safely, which included urging passengers to use face coverings. This applies to bus, rail or tram.

Whilst these guidelines don’t signal an immediate change to Scotland’s lockdown policy, it’s important for business owners to familiarise themselves with them as soon as possible so potential problems can be identified now and dealt with in advance of opening. If you have any questions, or have difficulty finding the information you need, please get in touch at


Tony Lyon is Librarian at BIPC Glasgow

Quick Guide: Webinars

22 May 2020

If your to-do list is exhausted and Netflix run its course – why not use this time to develop new skills that will help launch or grow the business you’ve always dreamed of?

We recently launched a directory that connects you with free learning and support opportunities to help develop the digital skills you need to run and grow your business. In addition to the huge number of free tutorials and online courses our directory offers, webinars are also a very effective distance learning tool that offer the chance for you to learn knowledge and skills from professionals.

A webinar is a video presentation, lecture or workshop you can participate in from the comfort of your own home. They are hosted online so you will need an internet connection and a device to watch it on. An audio headset can also be useful but most devices now have built in speakers and microphone. When you sign up for a webinar, the host will email you confirmation, normally with a link that will allow you to download the relevant platform to view it on.

I’ve attended a number during lockdown, some have been more useful than others but I have learned something from each. As with anything, it’s always worth doing your homework before signing up. It might sound obvious, but decide what you want to learn and start from there. The choice of online learning opportunities might become overwhelming otherwise.

So, you’ve launched your business, but are looking to grow and don’t have a huge marketing budget (if any). Why not learn how to take advantage of social media? If you’re not already, you’re missing out on an inexpensive way to reach millions of people. It’s more than simply posting something on Instagram and hoping for the best. Successful businesses deploy proven techniques that can be learned. Discover ways to increase brand awareness, increase your customer base, and drive traffic to your website. Perhaps you’ve decided your website could do with a revamp? Again, this is something you can learn for free by attending a webinar.


Whilst there are many ‘how-to’ videos on platforms such as YouTube, it might prove difficult to verify the quality of the information being provided. As with any form of learning, you will want to ensure the source can be trusted.

The British Library run a number of webinars delivered by experts in their field. They have also adapted their offer to include webinars specific to a post COVID-19 reality. They will show you, for example, how to use the Business Model Canvas to challenge your existing business plan or create a new one that’s more suitable to these turbulent times.

In addition to live webinars, Business Gateway have a selection of recorded online tutorials that you can watch at a time that suits you. They include tutorials on how to structure your business finance through COVID-19, and how to communicate with your customers throughout the pandemic.

We’ll be posting a blog discussing our Power Up project in more detail soon but if you have any questions in the meantime, please get in touch

Tony Lyon is Librarian at BIPC Glasgow


Latest on Business Lockdown

15 May 2020


As more businesses begin to open in England this week, the advice from the Scottish Government has remained the same – ‘stay at home'.

With restrictions on usual business practise set to continue in Scotland to 28th May, I thought I'd pull together some key aspects of the support available to help your business survive and adapt to these uncertain times.

The furlough scheme has been extended until October, with some flexibility built in from August to support the transition back to work.

The Self Employed Income Support Scheme is designed to offer support to the self-employed and freelance workers that mirror support given to furloughed employees. You can claim if you're self-employed or a member of a partnership and have been adversely affected by COVID-19. Several criteria must be met.

HMRC have said most of the people affected should already have been contacted and invited to check their eligibility. Applications opened on the 13th May and payments should be made to successful applicants six days after applying.

If you haven't been contacted, but think you might be eligible, go to the Government's website and use the checker tool. Claims can then be submitted from the 17th May.

If you became self-employed on/after 6th April 2019 and are not eligible for the Self Employed Income Support Scheme you could apply for a grant of up to £2,000 through the Newly Self-Employed Hardship Fund. The purpose of the fund is to provide relief to newly self-employed individuals who have not been able to access support through other schemes. The fund is open to people in Scotland, and applications made through your local authority.

There are also some loan schemes that you might not yet have investigated. The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme helps small and medium-sized businesses to access loans and offer other kinds of finance up to £5 million. If you receive an offer our partners at Gilson Gray will provide free legal advice on the loan, security and guarantee documents that your bank will require. The only costs you will pay will be for third party and registration costs.

The Bounce Back Loan Scheme enables small and medium-sized businesses to borrow between £2,000 and up to 25% of their turnover (the maximum loan available is £50,000). The Government guarantees 100% of the loan, and you won’t pay any fees or interest for the first 12 months.

The rapidly changing nature of the COVID-19 situation makes it imperative to keep up-to-date with changes to advice and guidelines. Please visit the Scottish Government website for the latest updates to information and advice.


Our Business and IP enquiry service can be contacted via

Tony Lyon is Librarian at BIPC Glasgow

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