Scale-up Sessions is a series of programmes and events for startups, microbusinesses and SMEs produced by Design Manchester in partnership with the Business & IP Centre at Manchester Central Library. Each session, with associated resources, will appear on this page.

SUS#1: Pandemic Stations! WTF do we do now?

The first Scale-up Session, on 12 November 2020, was the opening event of the DM20 Design Manchester festival, featuring an interview with GM Local Enterprise Partnership co-chair Lou Cordwell OBE and a panel discussion, chaired by Creative Boom editor Katy Cowan, with Jill Adam (Louder Than Words), Debra King (Brighter Sound), Ed Matthews-Gentle (Creative Lancashire), Shirley May (Young Identity) and the artist Venessa Scott.

Help available through Greater Manchester LEP

The Greater Manchester Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) working with the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) and the Growth Company have launched a new programme of targeted support to help businesses impacted by further coronavirus restrictions.

The initiatives focus on the city-region’s hospitality, leisure and tourism and night time economy sectors, which have been affected by the introduction of Tier 3 restrictions most sharply. The support builds on the One Year Living with COVID-19 Plan, which was published in September, and aligns with newly developed Sector Recovery Plans.

The support includes a dedicated landing page and contact line managed by the Business Growth Hub, where businesses can find out more about the assistance available to them.

Businesses will be able to access a series of clinics and one-to-one support to help them revise their strategies and identify opportunities to work with each other. A “checklist” will help businesses identify what government support is currently available and what guidelines need to be followed to be Covid-safe.

An Access to Finance sector specialist is available to help businesses analyse their cash flow and identify sources of finance, while the Growth Hub’s Hospitality, Leisure and Tourism Talent Hub provides skills, training and recruitment support.

Targeted mental health and wellbeing advice, providing information and guidance on how to best manage this during the pandemic, will also be offered.

Other work to promote and support the sector is already underway including a campaign to encourage Greater Manchester residents to buy locally for Christmas, and surgeries providing businesses with advice on specific challenges like licensing and retraining.

The programme complements a range of ongoing initiatives that support individuals and businesses from all sectors who have been impacted by the pandemic.

These include EmployGM, which matches individuals and businesses to vacancies through tailored jobs and skills matching support; the Kickstart programme supporting fully funded 6 month work placements for young people aged 16-24 years; and Enterprising You which provides the self-employed, freelancers or people working in the gig economy access to fully paid-for development, personal finance and health and well-being coaches and shared working space. Grants are available to support employers offering new Apprenticeships and Traineeships, and GM’s Levy Matchmaking Service can help to link employers and new apprentices.

GM Working Well (Work & Health Programme) is provided through Jobcentre Plus and offers unemployed residents a range of tailored health and employment support. This includes specialist support for those at risk of falling out of work due to a health condition through the Working Well Early Help programme as well as a wide range of skills and education courses available for people needing to retrain or up-skill from local colleges and training providers.

About BIPC Manchester

Image of The Business and Intellectual Property Centre

The Business and Intellectual Property Centre (BIPC) can help you start, run and grow your business. From that first spark of inspiration to successfully launching and developing a business, you’ll find the tools, support and advice you need:

  • Free access to business and intellectual property databases and publications, including market research, company data, business news and information on intellectual property (IP)
  • Access to business advisors and experts whether you’re starting up or growing your business, or
  • Workshops and networking events.

The Human Lending Library

The Human Lending Library matches charity and social enterprise leaders with successful entrepreneurs as mentors.  Launched by the charity Expert Impact, the initiative has seen more than 200 leaders of social enterprises and charities ‘borrow’ an Expert for advice on improving their organisation and increasing their social impact. The Manchester branch of the Human Lending Library will be run from the Business and Intellectual Property Centre (BIPC) at Manchester Central Library.
Find out more or apply online

Business Support and Advice

Start Up Advice

  • 9.30am to 12.30pm every Wednesday, just drop in. Free expert advice from the GM Business Growth Hub that have business experience and understand the challenges involved.
  • 9.30am to 12.30pm every Friday, just drop in. Free expert advice from the People Plus – part of the Start Smart programme.

You can also chat live online with qualified business advisors.

Patent Clinic

  • Monthly free confidential advice with a patent attorney (suitable for inventors and innovators). To book an appointment email

Intellectual Property Clinic

  • Monthly free confidential advice on trademarks, design & copyright with Ward Hadaway. To book an appointment email

Join the BIPC mailing list to find out about latest news and events.  Register at

The BIPC is a partnership between Manchester Central Library and the British Library, and is a member of the BIPC network, supported by the Intellectual Property Office, DCLG and Arts Council.


The Growth Company
Business Growth Hub
Business & IP Centre Manchester