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Book:The Hobbit, an unexpected journey : a visual companion:2012
Author: Fisher, Jude
Year 2012
Language: English
Media class: Book
Publisher: HarperCollins
Resource type: Physical
Note: Film tie-in
80p ; 27.8x22.3cm
Book:Becoming, Michelle Obama:2018
Author: Obama, Michelle, 1964-
Author: Obama, Michelle, 1964-
Year 2018
Language: English
Media class: Book
Publisher: Viking
Resource type: Physical
Note: Illustrations on lining papers
xiii, 426 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates, illustrations (black and white, and colour) ; 24 cm (hbk)
Book:The reason I jump, one boy's voice from the silence of autism, introduced by David Mitchell, translated by K. A. Yoshida and David Mitchell:2014
Author: Higashida, Naoki, 1992-
Author: Higashida, Naoki, 1992-
Author: Mitchell, David, David Stephen
Year 2014
Language: English
Media class: Book
Publisher: Sceptre Books
Resource type: Physical
Note: Translated from the Japanese Originally published: 2013
178p ; 20cm
Book:Eleanor Oliphant is completely fine, Gail Honeyman:2018
Author: Honeyman, Gail
Year 2018
Media class: Book
Publisher: HarperCollinsPublishers
Resource type: Physical
Note: Originally published: 2017
Book:Where the crawdads sing, Delia Owens:2019
Author: Owens, Delia, 1949-
Year 2019
Media class: Book
Publisher: Corsair
Resource type: Physical
Note: Originally published: New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 2018

Asset Publisher Asset Publisher


BIPC Glasgow Blog

Shh, don’t tell anyone about this blog post

4 Septmeber 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 business@glasgowlife.org.uk 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 business@glasgowlife.org.uk

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? business@glasgowlife.org.uk


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 business@glasgowlife.org.uk.

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 business@glasgowlife.org.uk 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 business@glasgowlife.org.uk

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 business@glasgowlife.org.uk.


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 business@glasgowlife.org.uk

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 business@glasgowlife.org.uk

Tony Lyon is Librarian at BIPC Glasgow

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