In the lead up to International Women’s Day (Sunday 8 March), twin sisters and entrepreneurs Abigail and Chloe Baldwin are urging women who want to start their own business to access free support available through Leeds City Council.
In 2016 Abigail and Chloe, now 25, noticed a gap in Leeds for a holistic and personal approach to graphic design, but like many early entrepreneurs, they weren’t sure how to make it happen.
They were signposted to the Business & IP Centre (BIPC) in Leeds Central Library and were provided with free one-to-one practical help in applying for a trademark and registering their business. The twins were able to attend business start-up workshops and networking events and were even offered use of space at the library for initial client appointments.
Thanks to Abigail and Chloe’s hard work and support from the BIPC, their dream of owning a business, Buttercrumble, a creative communications studio in Leeds, soon became a reality.
Buttercrumble is now a growing full-time business and has secured clients such as John Lewis, Chester Zoo and the Royal Armouries. The twins were also nominated as Young Entrepreneur of the Year at the FSB Awards finals. They have moved into their own commercial studio space in the city and have now hired their first team member.
Figures show that only 22% of businesses in the UK are owned by women, and that our economy would be boosted by an estimated £250 billion if women started and scaled businesses at the same rate as men.
Between 2016 and 2019, BIPC Leeds has worked with 3,063 people, helping to create 1,127 new businesses and 434 additional jobs.
The BIPC is eager for all budding entrepreneurs, especially women, to reach out and access the free support available to them.
Find out more information about the Business & IP Centre Leeds at www.leeds.gov.uk/bipcleeds.
Abigail and Chloe Baldwin, Buttercrumble owners, said:
“When first establishing our business, we utilised the Business & IP Centre at Leeds Central Library to access free information and support. One of the most important actions we took was safeguarding our intellectual property by registering a trademark. This was made possible with the help of the BIPC. We're grateful for the relationship we have built with Leeds Libraries and urge other women who want to build or expand a business but need a helping hand to use the service.
“We love embracing the power of femininity within the business. We're a sensitive studio with a nurturing vibe. These are values we celebrate during International Women's Day as it makes a more socially-engaged studio.”
Cllr Debra Coupar, Leeds City Council’s executive board member for communities, said:
“International Women’s Day is the perfect time to raise awareness of the Business & IP Centre here in Leeds. Figures continue to show that women are far less represented in business than men and that there would be a huge benefits to the economy if this were to change.
“It’s fantastic to see what Abigail and Chloe have done to develop Buttercrumble. We’d like to encourage people who are interested in becoming their own boss, particularly women, to see what support is available at the BIPC.”
Notes to editors:
BIPC Leeds is one of 14 centres located in city or central libraries throughout the country.
Of BIPC Leeds users who went on to start a new business between January 2016 – December 2018, 58% were women, 33% were from a black and Asian minority ethnic background, 44% were from the most deprived communities and 10% had a disability.
According to the latest figures published by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy only 22% of businesses are owned by women and only 5% are owned by individuals of black, Asian and minority ethnic origin (source: BEIS Small Business Survey 2017).
The potential impact of this imbalance is significant – for example, the UK economy would be boosted by an estimated £250 billion if women started and scaled businesses at the same rate as men (source: The Alison Rose Review of female entrepreneurship).
Customers can use specialist databases to research trends in a particular market, target new customers, or increase their knowledge of their competitors. Also on offer are free workshops and 1:1 advice sessions delivered by staff and business experts on a range of topics including starting up, business planning and marketing, as well as protecting the intellectual property of products, brands and designs.
Over a 3 year period BIPC Leeds has worked with 3,063 unique users, helping to create 1,127 new businesses and 434 additional jobs (source: Democratising Entrepreneurship, a three-year economic impact analysis, July 2019).
The top sectors supported in this period were: Creative, media and publishing (18%), Retail and wholesale (11%) and Leisure (9%). In addition, 61% of businesses indicated they had social or environmental objectives.
For media enquiries:
Becky Stubbs, Leeds City Council press office