Tag Archives: BiP

3D Printing, Break Dancing, Beast Wagon and more

Westminster BiPs logoDid you know that half of young people in the UK aged 16 to 24 want to start their own business? Well, Westminster Councillors certainly do and when they decided to launch Westminster’s first Enterprise Week , to coincide with Global Entrepreneurship Week 11-22 November 2015, the focus was firmly on young people and access to enterprise.

With this in mind, we hosted an Enterprise Fair at Westminster Reference Library, one of many events held across the council and in BIP libraries for Enterprise Week, showcasing the range of business support and assistance for enterprise and self-employment, creative courses, programmes, apprenticeships, funding and more, offered by organisations from a cross section of industries including fashion, music, dance, food, graphic novels and more.

We were delighted to have with us as stall holders on the day the London College of Beauty TherapyIndustry in the StreetsFashion Retail AcademyNatWest Enterprise,  Westminster Enterprise CentrePortobello Business CentrePaddington Development Trust, Maida Hill PlaceBusiness Launchpad,  Orbital ComicsRain Crew, Young Enterprise and Producer/Presenter N. N. D. who featured sound bites from participants for her programme on The Workplace on ResonanceFM.

Julie Bundy & Simon Aslaaf from Maida Hill Place, at Westminster Reference Library's Enterprise Fair, November 2015

Julie Bundy & Simon Assaf from Maida Hill Place

The day’s highlights also featured guest speakers who shared business journeys and industry insights. We heard from Julie Bundy & Simon Assaf from Maida Hill Place , a social enterprise offering tailored support for food industry start-ups, who spoke about food enterprise and the Pop-Up economy, and why food remains their passion – for Julie, it’s the power of food to bring people together under even the most challenging circumstances; for Simon, it was the food industry’s capacity to stay afloat despite the advent of the internet, where, as he reminded us, you still can’t fry an egg!

Clint Sinclair and Sharifa M Momad breakdance at Westminster Reference Library's Enterprise Fair, November 2015

Clint Sinclair and Sharifa M Momad breakdance

We were also delighted to have Westminster’s very own Clint Sinclair, in his guise as managing director of Rain Crew London Dance, a non-­profit company working to bring people together through dance, delivering classes, events, performances and community based projects. From Clint and guests we learned about the world of the break dancers or b-boys, and the dance ‘battles’ or competitions that take them all over the world. With fellow dancer Sharifa Tonkmor, Clint gave a brilliant live breakdance performance and then introduced guest Spin (aka Juan David Gaviria), a successful B-Boy dancer who spoke eloquently about how looking to his future, he successfully combined his dancing with enterprise by training to become a barber.

Beast Wagon, created by Owen Michael JohnsonThis was followed by Chris Thomson, Event manager at Orbital Comics who chaired a fascinating discussion with Owen Michael Johnson, twice British Comic Award-nominated writer & artist and creator of Beast Wagon, a black comedy comic book series set in a zoo, and Jason Atomic, artist and all round cross cultural creative & performer.

All talked about how drawing as youngsters shaped their future careers and the economic & creative challenges of working in the comics/graphic novel industry. The panel discussion was recorded and is scheduled to be featured on Orbital as a podcast early next year.

We had 3D Printer demonstrations taking place throughout the day, engaging and entertaining visitors, who also had fun with the 3D goggles.

The 3D Printer - guest star at Westminster Reference Library's Enterprise Fair, November 2015

The 3D Printer – guest star!

We enjoyed the day and especially the opportunity to promote Westminster Libraries Business Information Point services and our special collections in fashion, art & design and performing arts here at Westminster Reference Library. We would like to thank everyone who took part and supported the Enterprise Fair.

[Eveleen]

Volunteer story

One of our volunteers at Westminster Reference Library‘s Business Information Point tells us about how and why he is volunteering and what he has gained from the experience:

Naseem, the latest BIP volunteer at Westminster Reference Library“Hello, my name is Naseem and I’m 18 years old. I attended a business breakfast at Westminster City Hall where I met Eveleen (who works at Westminster Reference Library) who told me about the Business Information Points.

At present I am studying a BTEC Business Level 3 qualification at City of Westminster College and am planning to go to university in September to do Business Management. I have an aspiration of one day becoming a project manager.

“I was interested in doing volunteer work at the library and am now working at Westminster Reference Library every Friday. I began last November and so far I am familiarising myself with various aspects of the library and the Business Information Point. I joined the library and have already borrowed some of the business books from the lending collection and learnt about the way the books are classified using Dewey Decimal Classification.

My duties begin each week with shelf tidying which includes putting the books in order and tidying the business magazines. I then use and explore the various online business databases available from the library. This is a good way of getting to know the BIP and collections. I will be using the business databases for my college assignments now and in future when I am in university.

Through my volunteer work I have already learnt new things and have developed my initiative & skills through carrying out a range of different tasks within the library. While I will soon go on work placement organised by my college, I hope to be able to continue my volunteer work at the library.”

[Naseem]

Westminster BiPs logoYou can find out more about volunteering in Westminster Libraries and about the Business Information Points.

The BIPs run a full programme of events – visit Eventbrite for details.

Doing the business at Westminster Reference Library

Ever wanted to borrow business books from Westminster Reference Library? Well, now you can!

Launch of the business ending collection at Westminster Reference Library, September 2013Another milestone in the history of Westminster’s Business Information Point (BIP) project: We started with a single BIP in 2008 at Westminster Reference Library, which later grew and expanded to include three more libraries, the so-called ‘MiniBIPs’, located at Paddington, Pimlico and Church Street libraries. All four sites offer excellent support for established businesses and would-be entrepreneurs, including business books and journals, online business databases and events with networking opportunities.

The idea for the Business Lending Collection was sparked by our customers who regularly requested to borrow our excellent business books. As a long-established reference library this was not our normal practice, but we thought “Why not?” The ongoing BIP project gave us an opportunity to establish a small business lending collection. Since this was a new terrain for us, we took inspiration from the excellent lending collections held at the other BIP libraries.

The launch party was well attended and everyone was delighted with the new service which was thought to be long-awaited and necessary.

Launch of the business ending collection at Westminster Reference Library, September 2013We celebrated the launch of this new Business Lending Collection with guest author Barbara Anderson who signed copies of her book ‘Manage On Nil Every Year: How to make sure every pound you spend makes sense!‘ – one of the books now available for loan.

[Zsuzsanna]

M.O.N.E.Y.

Paddington Library hosts monthly talks for the local business community, who wish to see their business grow and to network with other budding entrepreneurs – exchanging tips, advice and generally supporting each other. This is part of the library’s role as one of Westminster’s Business Information Points.

Manage On Nil Every Year, by Barbara AndersonThe most recent event was led by author Barbara Anderson, who gave an inspiring and spirited presentation about her new book ‘Manage On Nil Every Year – how to make sure every pound you spend makes sense’. Across six chapters, the book covers:savings, investments, protection, borrowings, debt solutions, and ‘the watchmen’.

The presentation was made jointly with Barbara’s publisher and the two of them did a question and answer session – there were questions about her career and background and how she came to set up her own company. Barbara talked about networking to build up a client base, and how it’s not an easy task to set up a business if you do not have much collateral or money to support you  – but with a positive, can-do approach it IS worth it!

Barbara Anderson at Paddington Library, August 2013Barbara has a loyal ‘fan club’ and many attendees were from across London and had never been to Paddington Library before. It was great to welcome so many new faces.

If you missed this talk and it appeals to you, come along to Pimlico Library – another of our Business Information Points – on 19 September when Barbara will be speaking again.

[Laurence]

An ExCel-lent opportunity to show off our wares

Eveleen and I visited The ExCel Business Show last month to promote Westminster Business Information Points (BIPs). This event is organized every year  to create stimulus for budding entrepreneurs and business people.

BIP staff at the ExCel Business Show 2013

After a brisk tour of the many exhibits and saying hello to colleagues from The City Business Library, we set about promoting the BIPs and telling people the business benefits of a Westminster Libraries membership card – chiefly the opportunity to access fantastic online resources, free.

Zsuzsanna and the lizard at the ExCel Business Show 2013While this lovely Bearded Dragon lizard was unable to join, we signed up more than 50 professionals and enthusiasts. They included Blondell, who is keen to set up a business in the motor industry, and Guru, who knows he wants his own business but is not sure which path to pursue.

We were able to advise Blondell that she would be able to research the motor industry market using MINTEL, Keynote and Marketline reports, and Guru that he may find it easier to narrow down his business idea by first reading “20 tips to help you choose a business idea” from COBRA and then exploring the Business Opportunity Profiles which are available for pretty much every start-up you can think of – and many you probably can’t.

At the ExCel Business show 2013Whilst inside, one was overwhelmed by the sheer number of stands – there were more than 150 exhibitors, including business giants like Lloyds TSB Bank, PC World, IKEA etc., as well as small startups run by one or two people. The whole place was buzzing with deals being made, products and services being explained, people being enticed into buying, understanding, selling and networking. It was a frantic adrenaline rush for anyone entering the arena, with very inspiring and motivating lectures and seminars from famous speakers like James Caan.

At the end of day with tired feet and dry throats we came out, leaving behind the exciting world of the Business Show. We met many people at the event who were delighted – and astonished – to discover that there is a free service out there, with no hidden costs for their business research. Most found it hard to believe that thousands of pounds worth of invaluable market reports and more are available to use, free, from Westminster Libraries. We’re proud to host one of the best and most comprehensive ranges of online business databases in the country.

[Zsuzsanna]