Tuesday, 25 November 2008

The Jobseeker's Advice Service

The Jobseeker's Advice Service



we offer help and information on
· Finding Vacancies
· CVs and Interviews
· Company and Industry Information
· Education and Training
· One-to-One Help and Advice by appointment

Leeds Library and Information Service is a partner in an organisation called nextstep

We offer one-to-one sessions, by appointment, with one of our advisors, Colette Bonafos , Bernadette Azari or Rimpu Bains, who are qualified to NVQ Level 4 in Advice and Guidance.
The advisors currently hold sessions at the Central Library, Compton Road, Chapeltown, Chapel Allerton, Morley, Beeston and Armley.

To book a session please telephone the Information Centre in Central on 0113 24 78282.


Potential employers value the skills and knowledge that can be gained through voluntary work. Voluntary Action-Leeds hold a volunteer bureau on a drop-in basis in the Central Library on a Thursday afternoon 12 noon till 5pm, in the room in the corner of the Local Studies Library on the 2nd Floor.They use a website called http://www.do-it.org.uk/ and their own local knowledge to try to match the prospective volunteer’s skills, interests and time available to voluntary opportunities.


We subscribe to an online database called NARIC whereby we can attempt to check for the UK equivalent of qualifications gained overseas. This is done by appointment with Keith Holdich on 0113 247 8269.

Wednesday, 16 July 2008

Business Mailing Lists

Would you like to target new customers?
Do you need to source suppliers of specialist products and services?

Mailing Lists are useful for any business wanting to :
§ Commence a direct marketing campaign
§ Promote and sell your product or service
§ Conduct analysis by region or industry
§ Size up the competition
§ Locate potential suppliers
§ Compile a directory of useful addresses and contact names.
§ Contact key personnel

Business and Patent Information Services has access to a range of national and European company databases. These can be searched across a large range of criteria including location, type of business, turnover and directors names.

The top 500 and top 100 North/South/West/East Yorkshire Companies by Employee size are now available to order from Business & Patent Information Services. Directories of Top Leeds Companies the Top 100 Leeds Companies & Top 700 Leeds Companies are also available.

Employment Agencies in Leeds ,Directory of Call Centres in Leeds and Yorkshire, Directory of IT Services in Leeds and Database of Voluntary and Community Organisations in Leeds http://www.directories.leedslearning.org/

For further information tel 0113 2478266 or email piu@leeds.gov.uk

Wednesday, 9 July 2008

Our Guide to Electronic Resources for Businesses

Business Advice & Start Up Information:

COBRA - Complete Business Reference Adviser. An essential reference tool for both start ups and established businesses, Cobra provides access to fact sheets covering more than 700 start up businesses, fact sheets providing guidance on running and managing a small business, market research and local area profiles.

Accessible from home or library via a library card number - go to www.leeds.gov.uk/24hourlibrary

Directors Briefings and Start up Briefings
Wide range of guides for both business start ups and established businesses. Topics include finance, marketing, premises and business law.

Full set of fact sheets available via http://www.businessandpatents.org/

CCH Business Focus
Provides 100 highly detailed profiles, providing information on all areas relevant to business start up. Areas covered include details of start up costs, trade specific legislation, licensing requirements and much more.

Company Information Mailing Lists:

MINT – published by Bureau Van Dijk

Mint gives information on 2.6 million companies throughout the UK, including all active companies plus 600,000 unincorporated businesses. MINT can be easily tailored to your research needs, providing access to lists compiled from a range of search criteria such as post codes, financial data, incorporation date, trading address and industry.

FAME – published by Bureau Van Dijk
Fame supplies in-depth financial information on 1.3 million companies plus summaries for a further 1 million companies. Reports include credit checks, directors details, mergers and acquisitions, stock data and company overviews.

Key British Enterprises – published by Dun and Bradstreet
Key British Enterprises provides access to around 500,000 companies. It is particularly useful for customers requiring a large number of companies with telephone/ fax numbers.

Kompass Worldwide
Kompass provides details of 2.4 million industrial and manufacturing companies globally. This database has the most comprehensive product listings of all of our databases, enabling businesses to source suppliers of specific and obscure products. Detailed product and service information, heads of departments and some e-mail addresses are provided for most companies.

Market Research:

Key Note Reports
Access to 700+ reports in more than 30 industry sectors. Key Note reports provide invaluable information on consumer behaviour, competitor analysis, and market forecasts.

Mintel Reports
Mintel reports provide in-depth market analysis covering an extensive range of consumer and lifestyle markets. The following collections are available to view only within the Information Centre:
Market Intelligence, Leisure Intelligence, Retail Intelligence and Financial Standard plus.

Marketline - published by Datamonitor
Includes detailed company information for 10,000 companies in the UK and overseas, 2,000 industry profiles, 50 plus country profiles and news reports. Covers automotive & logistics, consumer markets, energy & utilities, financial services, health care and technology sectors.

Business News & Journals:

Business and Company ASAP
Provides access to a wide range of business, management, trade and industry journals.
Ability to search within individual titles and across many titles simultaneously. company profiles available for UK and US companies with links to relevant articles.

Infotrac Custom Journals
journals from a wide range of subject areas including a collection of business and industry titles for instance Caterer and Hotel keeper, Computer Weekly and Marketing.

NewsUK - accessible via Know UK
Instant access to both current and historic news from both national newspapers and an extensive range of local newspapers. Accessible from home with a library card number - go to www.leeds.gov.uk/24hourlibrary

British Standards

Full text British Standards available for consultation. Accessible from home & library with a library card number - go to www.leeds.gov.uk/24hourlibrary

For further information and help contact:
Business and Patent Information Services 0113 2478266 email: piu@leeds.gov.uk

UK Trade & Investment

We met up with Daniel Askwith from UK Trade & Investment to discuss services, resources and information they can provide to Yorkshire businesses when dealing with international trade. UK Trade & Investment can offer advice, support, information and opportunities to maximise your chances of success overseas.

Resources for exporters
Support Organisations
Access to funding
Business Opportunities
Country Profiles

Contact them Tel: 01226 735440 www.tradeyorkshire.co.uk www.uktradeinvest.gov.uk

Wednesday, 2 July 2008

Who are we?

We are part of Leeds City Council's Library & Information Services and we are based in the central library in Leeds city centre. We provide a wide range of information to support business and intellectual property needs. Please see our website http://www.businessandpatents.org/ for the full range of services and information we can provide.

So whether you need to compile a business mailing list, find out the about the market for your product/service or to check out your inventions and designs Business and Patent Information Services can help.

Monday, 30 June 2008

Inventors Group Helping Make Dreams a Reality - Press Release from 10/1/2006

A Group offering free advice to guide local inventors on the path of success has been praised by Leeds City Council.
The Leeds Inventors Group, which was launched in July 2005, has already built up a significant following with monthly meetings now being attended by over 30 people.
Run by Leeds City Council's business and patent information services department, with meetings held at the Central Library, the group discusses all aspects of putting a new product on the market as well as hearing from guest speakers, idea-sharing and networking.
Leeds City Council Executive Member for Leisure, Coun John Procter, said: "We are absolutely delighted with the success of the Leeds Inventors Group.
"It has only been meeting for six months and yet it is already attracting a large crowd every month. That is down to the quality of the organisers and the enthusiasm of everyone involved so it is great to see the impact it has made." He continued: "We are keen for the group to continue to grow in 2006 so I would encourage anyone interested in any aspect of inventing to go along to discuss their ideas.
Companies "The meetings are free and are a great way of picking up information, advice and useful contacts. Anyone wanting to turn their idea into reality should go and see what the group has to offer." The council's business and patent information services department offers what it describes as a comprehensive guide to business needs, with start-up information, how to target new customers effectively through mailing lists, information on companies and suppliers, and market research.
Information on current legislation, standards and health and safety is also available, as well as how to protect inventions, trademarks and designs.
It also offers electronic access to thousands of business and industry journals, free booklets, delivers documents and runs free clinics for expert advice from a registered patent agent.
The Leeds Inventors Group meets on the third Wednesday of every month.
To book a place, or for further information, call (0113) 247 8266, e-mail piu@leeds.gov.uk or visit the website at www.businessandpatents.org

Leeds Inventors Group Archive 2005 -2006

First Leeds Inventors Group meeting with the speaker being Laurence Smith-Higgins from the Patent Office (now UKIPO)

In September the guest speakers were Brian Corbett and Bob Middleton. Brian and Bob run the Genica programme, based at Bolton University, which is aimed at assessing and sometimes helping to get new products on to the market. As they pointed out, if a product is not already on the market it is often because nobody wants it, rather than nobody has thought of it.

Anyone hoping to make a success of their product should have a clear idea of what they want and how they are going to get there - but if you want to be a millionaire, buy a lottery ticket - you'll have more chance of success! Have realistic targets. Brian and Bob also said that it is important that if you are working with a company, you should give them an incentive to sell / manufacture your product - don't be to greedy when working out your percentages.

The October meeting saw an interesting presentation by NESTA assessor Peter Bissell, who also wrote the books "A Better Mousetrap" and "The Business of Invention", two of the best-known reference works in the field. Peter explained how he goes about judging inventions which are brought to him. He pointed out that inventors need to carry out a patent search at an early stage, but also need to determine not just that the idea is new but that it is better than what has been done before.
It is important to consider who the competition is and realistically look at market prospects. Costing of the product is vital - how much do you need to sell it at to make a profit? Very often products don't sell because the price is too high - sometimes once the price is cut they take off. Peter pointed out that anyone approaching a company to manufacture or licence an invention needs to convince the company that they are not taking a huge risk if they invest in the product. A good presentation is essential. Many inventors tend to consider only market leaders when they are looking for someone to take on their product, but as Peter explained, big companies are often only interested in products with a huge potential turnover. They may well turn down a product with good prospects because it will "only" sell half a million units per year.

Further hints relating to getting your invention up and running can be found here.

Terry Singleton and Clayton Roudette, winners of the Universiy of Manchester Incubator Company Invention Competition, addressed the group in November. Terry described his long battles to get his products noticed before achieving recognition for his recycling bin. He warned that it's one thing to get interest in an invention, but another thing to get money out of those who are interested. He pointed out that "This is my ninth patent and I'm still a poor man!" A patent can be a strong negotiating tool but does not guarantee success. His advice to other inventors was to keep at it but be prepared to have to spend money before breaking even and eventually making a profit.

Clayton's invention was aimed initially at the domestic leisure market - a quick-assembly structure which could take the place of a temporary marquee or conservatory. His patent has been granted and he is currently talking to interested groups who may wish to produce the product. He is also developing other versions for the commercial sector. He stressed the importance of working with people who genuinely understand the product and have something to gain by promoting it

January's meeting was a "brainstorming" session where a large audience discussed issues relating to their inventions in front of a panel consisting of barrister John Lambert, patent agent Clare Adcocks, and Ged Doonan of Business and Patent Information Services. A wide range of topics were discussed and a number of suggestions made as to where further assistance might be obtained.


Dai Davies of law firm Nabarro Nathanson spoke at the February meeting. He emphasised the importance of determining the commercial value of a new product at an early stage. This is particularly important as inventors often don't consider the significant costs involved in protecting what they have. Any company whch takes on a product is taking a risk in trying to get it on the market and therefore an inventor must be able to convince the company that they themselves are gaining benefit from it. He did point out, however, that even if a patent application fails, the inventor may still have confidential information which is useful (as it is important to disclose only what is necessary in order to try to gain the patent).

Dr Barry Stoddart of Procter & Gamble told the group that inventors need to understand the differences between the technical advantages of their invention (important if they are thinking of patenting) and the commercial benefits which are important if they are to get the product onto the market. A company will be attracted by a new product which can be shown to be faster / better / cheaper. Different companies may have different views on which of these is the most important and an inventor approaching a company must take this into account.

Barry also pointed out that often confidentiality agreements are not particularly well written. They should always be tailored to the particular invention they are supposed to be protecting and the company which is being approached. An inventor must also be prepared to give a company sufficient reason to be interested in the product before expecting any agreement to be signed.
Steve Waud talked to the group about the work of the Business Enterprise Fund. The fund was set up by the government to help people who have been unable to obtain funding from more traditional sources such as banks. The experienced team who run the fund will assess the value of your business idea rather than your assets - as long as they think the business idea is good, they will support it.

As Steve pointed out, few people are good at dealing with all three of the main aspects of business - production and sales and finance. The Business Enterprise Fund can offer mentoring support to help with all three.

John Lambert, founder member of the Leeds Inventors Group, gave advice from the perspective of a barrister. He explained his six golden rules for inventors, which included thorough planning and sound research. He emphasised the importance of being realistic and in particular, not being misled by the flattery of friends, relatives or companies hoping to make money out of the inventor.

Money is always a crucial factor for an inventor and John pointed out that much can be done for little or no cost in the early stages of development - he suggested using the services of patent libraries such as Business & Patent Information Services, patent clinics, inventors groups and organisations such as NESTA (see above). In all cases when using commercial services, compare charges. And as always, consider whether protecting your invention with a patent is worthwhile, and make sure any confidentiality agreements are correctly drawn up.

Eric Redfern shared with the group his experiences of 30 years of inventing, discussing what he has learned from his own inventions which succeeded and those which failed. He stressed the importance of having good legal advisors to support you and advocated the use of commercial solicitors who are experienced in this type of work. As well as approaching companies directly with his inventions, he has also gone through commercial solicitors to find someone interested in his products.

Russ Perkins informed the group of the New Product Award which is being sponsored at next year's Venturefest event - a £20,000 award for help with such things as prototyping and product development, and expressed the hope that some of Leeds' inventors would enter the competition.

The main part of the meeting was led by Wei Huang of VTZ International and Dr Ron Jones of Ipcom (both of whom have long experience of businesses dealing with and working within China) who talked about manufacturing and licensing in China. The fast-growing Chinese economy is now the world's second-largest behind that of the US and both speakers talked of how China now offers great opportunities for those with the drive to see their products succeed. Wei Huang described the new "privelege zones" opened for foreign investors and the attractive rates that companies can find for some of the basic overheads. Many from the West are now surprised at finding a highly skilled workforce in the country.
She did point out the importance of having good legal advice and preferably someone with business experience who can deal with legal and technical matters equally well in English and Chinese.

Ron Jones gave a very informative history of intellectual property rights in China, and the country's desire to compete in the global market which has resulted in new - and often severe - laws aimed at stamping out counterfeiting. Cultural and political difficulties have made this a long process but Intellectual Property laws are strengthening and many Chinese companies now have their own patents and trade marks to protect.
Ron pointed out that working with China, particularly if you intend to set up production there, is not the easiest of things to do. However, anyone who is fully committed - and particularly if wiling to spend a significant amount of time in the country - is likely to find significant rewards.

Like Wei he pointed out that the way to succed is to gain the right contacts at an early stage.

For further information tel 0113 2478266 or email piu@leeds.gov.uk

Friday, 27 June 2008

Leeds Inventors Group 18-6-08 “Sharing the Success” : Support advice & guidance available through LEGI

“Sharing the Success” : Support advice & guidance available through the Local Enterprise Growth Initiative

A team from Leeds Chamber of Commerce spoke to the group about the “Sharing the Success” project and how it might be of benefit to those trying to get a new product on to the market. Kate Rigley began by explaining the project, which is predominantly (but not exclusively) aimed at helping people to set up in business.
Gary Sullivan then went into more detail: along with other “Community Motivators” Gary’s job is to find people who think that they might want to go into business but in many cases are unsure as to whether they can do it. Gary and the team help these potential entrepreneurs to understand what they need to do and basically build their confidence and knowledge. He gave an example of someone who had struggled to continue his existing job because of an injury but with support from the team had been able to start a gardening business.

Owen Jackson talked about the aims of LEGI in the Leeds area which includes a target of 500 new businesses by 2011, particularly in disadvantaged areas. This is to be achieved with the help of a group of over 20 partners. His role is to give help and advice on funding – explaining the full range of finance available to new enterprises. He works with the Business Enterprise Fund, the banks, the Prince’s Trust and Leeds Credit Union among others. Although it’s not always possible to fund a new project, he emphasised that he’s happy to talk to anyone and particularly to discuss the details and implications of any funding – as he said, he’s happy to give out loans but he’s not happy to give out debts.

Alistair MacFarlane then covered his role in “Intensive Assistance”. One of the features of the project is that the team spend a great deal of time with the person developing their business, and as Alistair said, he will see the client as often as is necessary. The ground that he will typically cover includes business plans, finding out if there is a market for the product, and identifying the skills which will be needed to make it work. There is a lot of free training available to assist in this.

Finding premises can be critical to anyone starting off. As part of the project, there will be a number of “Catalyst Centres” set up around Leeds offering office space and “hot desking” for just this purpose.

The team emphasised that they are happy to speak to anyone – whether it is someone thinking of starting a business, or an inventor looking for an investor or manufacturer. And using their services does not cost anything – though obviously when referring a client on to another professional, that professional may have their own charges.

Contact 0113 220 6350 http://www.enterpriseleeds.co.uk/

Thursday, 12 June 2008

Leeds Inventors Group 21-5-08 - Barry Haigh & Gregory Peck

This month’s meeting was a double-act by two experienced inventors – Barry Haigh, inventor of the “Baby Dream Machine” and Gregory Peck, inventor of security etching for car windows.

Barry began by describing his experiences with the “Baby Dream Machine” the baby-rocking device which found fame on “Dragons Den” and was previously discussed by Barry’s partner Graham Whitby at January’s Inventors Group meeting.

Trying to get an investor or manufacturer interested in a new product is always difficult. Barry initially followed the route which many inventors try – contacting all the major manufacturers. Mothercare were the first company Barry showed the “Baby Dream Machine” to and indicated that they were very interested. Naturally he got very excited and began dreaming of success. Mothercare kept it for a couple of months but then dropped it.

videoBarry demonstrates the Baby Dream Machine (press play to view)
Some companies were quite honest and said that if they don’t think of an idea themselves they’re not interested - they don’t take new ideas from outside the company. Some are simply not interested unless they’ve dealt with you before. It’s a vicious circle.

Having a “good idea” for a product is one thing, but it is only the start of the process. You have to be able to prove that it works, and of course with any products for children safety is critical. In this particular case it was important to ensure that the movement of the invention was sufficient to rock the child to sleep, and not vigorous enough to throw the child on the floor.

Having a good working prototype to demonstrate the invention can take time and money to develop. Barry’s view was that the prototype has to look good as well as working efficiently. Through Business Link he was able to get a grant and a connection with Hull University who worked on developing it.

Through meeting Graham Whitby and Gregory Peck and his appearance on “Dragons’ Den” (he pointed out that the grilling by the Dragons is actually very much longer than the few minutes you see in the actual programme) Barry eventually got his invention on the market.

Barry pointed out that patent protection can be very expensive – he himself has spent thousands of pounds on patents. Yet in spite of the costs and the frustrations, he still enjoys inventing.

Gregory came up with his first invention 40 years ago, and like Barry had interest from Mothercare who then decided not to follow it through. He later moved to Australia and it was there that he came up with the idea of security etching for car windows.

Commonly, stolen cars were painted a different colour to avoid detection and his invention was an attempt to overcome this. He applied for a patent himself as he couldn’t afford a patent agent. When he showed the product to others, the reaction was that it was too expensive.

He began selling it in petrol stations before trying his luck in the US on someone’s recommendation. It was several years before he made a breakthrough when a number of car dealers included window etching in the sale of their cars – adding the cost to the price of the car loan. Approval from the police and insurance companies followed and one Boston company stated that they would refuse to insure any vehicle which had not been etched.

This was followed up with a number of other successful vehicle security products. Gregory saw Barry and the “Baby Dream Machine” on “Dragons’ Den” and subsequently made contact with him. By this stage he had his own manufacturing contacts in China. He re-emphasised Barry’s point that most companies like dealing with people they know which is why many inventors fail when it comes to approaching companies. He himself has also occasionally been able to use his name (which a number of people have confused with the Hollywood star of the same name) to open doors!

In his opinion two of the most important things which he has learned are: Getting the price of the product right at an early stage is vital – if someone else can undercut you, you could be out of business. The second thing is that it’s a good idea to get two manufacturers – then if something goes wrong with one, you’ve still got the other to keep you going.

Gregory felt that it’s particularly difficult to get potential manufacturers in the UK interested in a new product – he had much more success elsewhere.

MyBiz Leeds

Staff from Business & Patent Information Services attended the launch of a new programme aimed at encouraging people to start their own businesses. This particular scheme is aimed at people from Beeston, Harehills, Gipton and Seacroft.

Les Jones, Director of “Winning Moves” (the organisation which is leading the programme along with Leeds Chamber and the “Sharing the Success” team) explained the aims behind it. He stated that 20% of people surveyed have said that they have thought of starting a business but very few actually carry it out. Of those who do, 50% fail in their new enterprise in the first two years.

MyBiz offers a series of workshops for those thinking of starting a business. Those who participate will then be introduced to a mentor who will help develop the business idea. The idea is to provide practical support to get the business up and running.

Les stated that anyone over the age of 16 could get involved and can involve social enterprises. The first workshop is due to take place in July.

Wanting to start a business? MyBiz Leeds is for people living in the Beeston, Harehills, Gipton and Seacroft area. My Biz can help people start their own venture. Contact MyBiz on 08451 300072 http://www.mybizleeds.com/

Monday, 21 April 2008

Leeds Inventors Group 16/4/08 - Jane Lambert

“So You Think You Want a Patent?” Jane Lambert, Patent Barrister
Leeds Inventors Group 16 – 4 – 08

Jane began her talk with a story which should serve as a warning to anyone who thinks that gaining a patent is an end in itself. She told of a couple who had saved up for many years in order to travel the world, only for the husband to spend most of the money obtaining patents. Their dreams of travelling were gone and though the patents had been granted, the product they protected never reached the market.

The opposite of that, of course, are those people with good ideas and marketable products who don’t protect them with a patent. But it’s always important to remember that a patent is essentially a tool to enable the owner to take legal action against an infringer. Such legal action is very expensive – particularly in the UK. Jane gave some examples of enforcement costs, ranging from £150,000 to over £1 million.

Jane gave a detailed description of the application process and the procedure in the case of an infringement.

One of the things which came out of the meeting was that some people don’t realise that once a patent is granted it can still be revoked at any time. To have a patent granted the invention must be new – something which has not been disclosed anywhere in the world ever before. Obviously there is no database or search system which could determine this with absolute certainty so the grant of a patent means that the invention is regarded as being new as far as the examiners are aware at that point in time. This can always be challenged at any point during the life of the patent. 50% of patent cases which go to trial result in a judgement that the patent should not have been granted in the first place.

It is because of this that patent insurance can be important (this was a subject discussed in more detail by Mark Philmore of MFL Insurance Brokers in February’s Inventors Group meeting). It is also possible now to get an opinion from an examiner at the UK Intellectual Property Office (the Patent Office) on validity before going ahead with an action. Insurance can also cover confidentiality agreements.

Jane pointed out that the process of getting a new product from the idea stage to actual production is likely to involve a lot of people – searchers, legal advisors, product developers etc. All are specialists in their own area and inventors should always be wary of anyone who claims to be able to offer a service which does everything. One of the big advantages which multinationals have is that they have large teams of all these specialists in-house. Jane stated that intellectual property protects businesses rather than individuals – it is regarded as a big part of a company’s assets.

And inventors always need to take a realistic view of how they protect their invention – it is often not practical or financially viable to gain patents in all countries. This is one reason why the vast majority of patents are held by companies. Jane pointed out that even Microsoft can’t afford to protect all of their Intellectual Property rights.

Tuesday, 4 March 2008

Leeds Inventors Group 20-02-08 - Mark Philmore

Leeds Inventors Group 20-02-08 “Insuring Your Invention” Mark Philmore of MFL Ltd

Mark is a Chartered Insurance Broker and through the services of MFL Science & Technology Insurance Brokers attempts to, as he put it, “level the playing field”.

Mark pointed out that the presence of Intellectual Property (IP) – patents, trade marks, designs and copyright – significantly increases the value of a business. However, exploiting an idea will always involve risk. If a patent is infringed and it goes to court, costs can be substantial – from
tens of thousands to, in some cases, a million. Having IP insurance can help put off infringers – it lets them know that you intend to assert your rights. And if the case does go to court it means that the individual or small company has a better chance of fighting off a larger company with substantial resources.

Mark went through the various options for cover from self-insuring to the most expensive “After the event” cover. He also explained that any claim would be carefully assessed by the insurer. There will always be a clause which states that costs will be covered if there is a chance of winning the case. If it looks like there’s no chance they won’t do it. It’s normal in these situations to get opinions from IP lawyers.

IP insurance plays a significant part in the process of protecting a new product or service but it is one that is frequently overlooked.

Monday, 3 March 2008

Venturefest Yorkshire 2008 York Racecourse 6th Feb 2008

Venturefest Yorkshire 2008 York Racecourse 6th Feb 2008

Venturefest is a free annual one-day event sponsored by some of the region’s largest organisations including Yorkshire Forward. Taking up three floors of the main building at York Racecourse it’s an opportunity to gain support and advice and make contacts – whether you’re an individual, a start-up or established business. It’s now in it’s fifth year and has been hailed by Doug Richards of “Dragons’ Den” as the “best in the country”.

At the 2008 event, service providers including solicitors and patent agents, product development and marketing experts, investors and universities manned the numerous stands on the various floors. Researchers from BBC’s “Dragons’ Den” were there to find participants for the next series. Throughout the day speakers gave presentations on a variety of topics including marketing, how to prevent someone stealing your secrets and the best ways to try to secure investment.

There were competitions for young entrepreneurs and an Innovation Showcase of over 40 small businesses which also offered a prize to what was judged to be the business showing the best future growth potential in the innovation, science and technology sectors.

Staff from Business & Patent Information Services joined staff from the UK Intellectual Property Office (formerly the Patent Office) on their stand on the ground floor. We spoke to a large number of people and provided information on protecting inventions, brands and creative works, as well as business information resources.

With such a wide variety of companies attending the event, Venturefest is certainly worth a visit.

Tuesday, 29 January 2008

Graham Whitby - Leeds Inventors Group 16/1/08

Out of the Dragons’ Den
Yorkshire entrepreneur Graham Whitby shot to fame when he appeared on BBC2’s popular Dragons’ Den. In January he was guest speaker at the Inventors Group and entertained a large audience with descriptions of his experiences.

Graham told how he had worked in product manufacturing for 20 years before he met inventor Barry Haigh who had developed a device for rocking babies to sleep. The device comprised a base plate with an oscillating roller onto which could be placed the wheels of a pram or pushchair. The gentle motion produced by the “Baby Dream Machine” lulls the child to sleep. Graham could see the potential of the product and the two of them began working together.

Having applied for a patent they began publicising the “Baby Dream Machine”, attending such events as “Venturefest” and getting onto the local “Calendar “ news programme. As a result of this they got a call from the BBC in London asking if they would be interested in being involved in a new television show (which would become Dragons’ Den).

Graham described the numerous trips to London and the hours spent waiting around before finally getting to present their product to the Dragons. Their presentation didn’t go well and he said it was a perfect example of how not to do a pitch. However, because they messed it up it has been shown repeatedly on TV and therefore generated a great deal of publicity for the product! Each time the show is repeated sales of the product shoot up.

Although the Dragons liked the product Graham and Barry decided to go it alone, and have built an international business selling the Baby Dream Machine.

Graham is now developing further products, including an electric temperature control unit for a bath which maintains water temperature at a comfortable level for as long as required.

He admitted that when he began developing new products he had no clear idea of where he was going with them and had no detailed plans in place. This is a common problem with inventors – they often don’t know where their product fits in to the market or whether anyone will be interested in them. And yet they are so confident that they have a worthwhile idea that they spend a lot of money on it – sometimes tens of thousands – and keep on spending.

Graham cited a number of challenges to any inventor, such as the high cost of international patents, development costs and the importance of patent insurance to help cope with the possibility of infringement cases. But he believes that selling the product and finding a route to market is always the hardest part.


Friday, 18 January 2008

Current Journals & Newspapaers

Find out which journals and newspapapers the central library subscribes to:

New online version of Current Journals and Newspapers at the Central Library

Browse our list of over 200 journals and newspapers from areas such as architecture, management, textiles, media/marketing plus many more and national/local newspapers all available in the Central Library.

For more information phone: 0113 2478266 Email: piu@leeds.gov.uk

Monday, 14 January 2008

Top Leeds & Yorkshire Companies

The top 500 and top 100 North/South/West/East Yorkshire Companies by Employee size are now available to order from Business & Patent Information Services.

Directories of Top Leeds Companies
Top 100 Leeds Companies
Top 700 Leeds Companies
Also available:
Employment Agencies in Leeds ,Directory of Call Centres in Leeds and Yorkshire, Directory of IT Services in Leeds andDatabase of Voluntary and Community Organisations in Leeds: http://www.directories.leedslearning.org/

Available as excel spreadsheets with name,address,phone,website,activity,basic financial and director information.

Other mailing lists are available. Contact the Business & Patent Information Service for further information regarding specific search strategies and quotes for downloads or printouts.
Please contact us at 0113 2478266 or email: piu@leeds.gov.uk